Project Team


Our team is uniquely positioned to advance this project. Steve DiPaola is a renowned 3D character animator and cognitive scientist. Kate Hennessy is a leading anthropologist studying digital technology, documentary storytelling and immersive environments. Taylor Owen has produced Emmy nominated and Peabody awarded VR journalism, and written extensively on the practice, ethics and future of VR journalism.

Steve DiPaola

Steve DiPaola, active as an artist and a scientist is director of the Cognitive Science Program at Simon Fraser University, and leads the iVizLab, a research lab that strives to make computational systems bend more to the human experience by incorporating biological, cognitive and behavior knowledge models. He is most known for his AI based computational creativity and 3D facial expression systems.

Kate Hennessy
Associate Professor

Kate Hennessy is an Associate Professor specializing in Media at Simon Fraser University’s School of Interactive Arts and Technology. She is an anthropologist with a PhD in Anthropology from the University of British Columbia and an MA in the Anthropology of Media from the University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies.

As the director of the Making Culture Lab, her research explores the role of digital technology in the documentation and safeguarding of cultural heritage, and the mediation of culture, history, objects, and subjects in new forms. Her video and multimedia works investigate documentary methodologies to address Indigenous and settler histories of place and space.

Taylor Owen
Assistant Professor

Taylor Owen is Assistant Professor of Digital Media and Global Affairs at the University of British Columbia, a Senior Fellow at the Columbia Journalism School and the founder and publisher of He was previously the Research Director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University where he designed and led a program studying the impact of digital technology on the practice of journalism, and has held research positions at Yale University, The London School of Economics and The International Peace Research Institute, Oslo where his work focuses on the intersection between information technology and international affairs.

Mike Lakusiak

Mike Lakusiak is a Canadian journalist who’s worn a lot of hats. He began in newspapers, left the industry to work for an online learning company, and returned to the industry to work on long-term investigative work. He recently completed a major video and virtual reality project for VICE News as part of the International Reporting Program, and was a Carnegie-Knight News21 fellow in 2016.

Mike completed his Master’s of Journalism at the University of British Columbia.

Reese Muntean
PhD Student

Reese Muntean will soon be a PhD student at the School of Interactive Arts + Technology. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography and East Asian Studies from New York University. Her master’s research focused on the development of an interactive tangible tabletop installed in the Museum of Anthropology at UBC that was designed to communicate Musqueam’s cultural knowledge and values through interactions with ancient replicas and common contemporary items.

Aynur Kadir
Assistant Prof

Aynur Kadir (Now at UBC) is an interdisciplinary scholar, ethnographic filmmaker and doctoral researcher at the Making Culture Lab, Simon Fraser University. She works with local communities in northwest China, and in the Pacific Northwest to develop digital media that document, manage, safeguard, and represent indigenous cultural heritage. She is exploring how different new medium such as documentaries (both traditional and interactive), virtual museums, digital archive databases, interactive museum guides and video games could be designed with participatory methodology in order to preserve intangible cultural heritage.

Nilay (Ozge) Yalcin
Assistant Prof

Building from a background in Cognitive Science, Nilay’s PhD research focuses on the role of emotions and especially empathy in multi-modal human to machine communication. (Now Prof at SFU) Nilay is working to develop an Affective Intelligent Agent system which acts as an interactive assistant for language-based communication. She is investigating the social, emphatetic and affective behavior as well as the notion of personality in artificial agents and their effects on human-agent interaction. She also works on achieving computational abstraction techniques for anonymization without losing emotional content.

AI art work, concepts and programming team:

PhDs:  Graeme McCaig (lead),  Suk Kyoung Choi.

Undergraduates: Hanieh Shakeri (SFU), Marie Louka (SFU) , Tina He (UofT), Theresa Kikuchi (UBC).

Partially supported by DiPaola’s SSHRC grant in AI in Creativity.