Publisher Johns Hopkins Advanced Academic Programs

Sundance Institute announced the Future of Culture Initiative, an action plan that includes partnerships with Johns Hopkins University and Stanford University in order to implement key recommendations from a two-year global field scan that analyzed strategies for improving equity and inclusion in emerging media. The initiative puts artists in discourse with technologists, scientists, policymakers, advocates and business leaders to imagine and design for the future of culture.

Sundance Institute’s New Frontier Lab Programs has formed unique collaborations with two trailblazing university research centers and arts programs: Johns Hopkins University‘s Immersive Storytelling and Emerging Technology (ISET) concentration, and Stanford University‘s Office of the Vice President for the Arts and the new Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (Stanford HAI). Artists’ residency programs are at the core of both collaborations, with cross-disciplinary summits on arts and technology to bring together thought leaders in the field to catalyze further action.

“Connections between immersive art and science have the ability to create new ways of learning and seeing the world. Universities are uniquely positioned to forge inclusive and diverse partnerships between technology, science, and immersive filmmaking,” said Beverly Wendland, James B. Knapp Dean of the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences at Johns Hopkins University.

Diego Galafassi (2019 Talent Forum Fellow and grantee) began working in residence at Johns Hopkins University in Spring 2019. His project, Breathe (in collaboration with Jess Engel, 2016 New Frontier Story Lab Fellow and Phi-Centre), is a mixed-reality application that utilizes the Magic Leap headset to enhance understanding of climate change by inviting viewers to break free from their bodies in order to experience themselves as a cohesive part of the greater living world.

Joining Diego at Johns Hopkins this fall is Penelope Jagessar Chaffer (2019 grantee), who is working on Toxic, a documentary app based on her TED Talk that uses artificial intelligence to piece together a variety of personalized data sources in order to present an interactive non-fiction story about the effects of environmental pollution on children.

“We believe storytelling merged with emerging technologies—like VR, AR, and AI—brings new perspectives and possibilities for technology‘s role in shaping our relation to the world, to others and ourselves,” added Gabo Arora, founding director of Johns Hopkins’ ISET concentration within the MA in Film and Media degree program. “Storytellers are what will change dominant status quo narratives, values and perspectives, and show the humanizing potential for a future that is more equitable and just.”

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