Dr Jacquelyn Ford Morie, Virtual Environment Pioneer
Jacki has been at the forefront of immersive-world technology since 1990, focusing her early research on affective and meaningful implementations of virtual environments. She received her PhD on this topic from SMARTLab (UEL) in 2008. She was also an early adopter of the online 3D world Second Life, and as a resident of that virtual world has been an innovative creator of content and functionality.
Jacki produced one of Second Life’s first international art showcases, ‘The New West’, in 2006. She next created the artwork ‘Remembrance and Remains in Second Life’, which features a small Iraqi village, populated by autonomous villagers, to show the more human face of that war-torn country. She is developing and adapting health applications within virtual worlds to assist with stress alleviation/innoculation.
Working with experts in Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction, she has adapted this proven technique for Second Life and is now holding classes ‘in-world’. She has also pioneered other techniques, such as deep breathing to control avatar jogging, and using narrative psychology to help victims of trauma ‘rewrite’ their life stories in a positive light. Jacki also works with AI experts to involve intelligent agents (as avatars) for many helpful purposes in the virtual world. This work can be seen at www.cominghomecenter.org.
As a SMARTlab researcher, she also investigates online-world topics such as space, embodiment, identity and play, writing papers and book chapters that have been accepted and delivered at conferences worldwide.
Dr Mae Jemison, Astronaut, Doctor, Innovator
The youngest of 3 children, Mae Jamison was born in Decatur, Alabama on October 17, 1956. Her family moved to Chicago when Mae was only three, and it was there that an uncle introduced her to the world of science. At a very early age, Mae developed interests in anthropology, archaeology, and astronomy that she pursued throughout her childhood.
Mae Jemison enrolled at Stanford University at the age of 16 and in 1977 graduated with degrees in both chemical engineering and Afro-American studies. She received a Doctor of Medicine degree from Cornell University in 1981. Dr. Jemison has practiced medicine as a volunteer in a Cambodian refugee camp and as a medical officer with the Peace Corps in West Africa. She was working as a general practitioner in Los Angeles, California when NASA selected her and 14 others for astronaut training. Dr. Jemison completed her training as a mission specialist with NASA in 1988. In September of 1992, as a mission specialist aboard the Shuttle Endeavour, Mae Jemison became the first African-American woman to enter space. In 1993, Dr. Jemison resigned from NASA and founded the Jemison Group, Inc. Among her current projects are several that focus on improving healthcare in Africa and advancing technology in developing countries.
Dr Gayil Nalls, Olfactory Experience Designer
Gayil is an interdisciplinary artist, theorist, writer, curator, filmmaker and academic working in the arenas of professional art practice, science and academia. Her research has resulted in several major publications and awards, as well as in the creation of many major sculptural and art exhibitions worldwide.
UNESCO endorsed her work on the ‘World Sensorium’ Project (distributed as a scent sculpture for peace in New York’s Times Square at the Millennium Celebrations), which led in turn to the major practice-based research for her SMARTlab PhD, focusing on the emergent field of Neuro-aesthetics, exploring the connection between botanical scents and human olfactory memory. Her unique knowledge of the botanical scent process and of the role of neuro-aesthetics in communications is of tremendous importance to the field of disability studies.
Two of her works are published on the Metropolitan Museum’s website: Many Saudi Women Live Recklessly Under Theatrical ClothesTruth Will Not Always Give You Art. See Gayil’s 8 Feb 2012 article in Psychology Today, ‘You Stink! Smell and Politics’
Professor Lizbeth Goodman, Director, SMARTLab
Lizbeth is Professor of Inclusive Design for Education and Chair of Creative Technology Innovation at University College Dublin, where she is an Executive Board member of the Innovation Academy, and has recently been put forward to the EC as the Digital Champion for Research and Digital Inclusion for Ireland. Lizbeth founded the SMARTlab in its first iteration in 1993, and has developed the award winning practice-based PhD Programme through the institute, along with the associated MAGIC Multimedia and Games Innovation Centre and Gamelab, which Lizbeth designed with industry collaborators as a prime knowledge transfer space in the London docklands.Lizbeth and her teams specialise in developing ground-up technology solutions for people of all levels of cognitive and physical ability, from mainstream learners of all ages to ‘special’ and ‘gifted’ learners and lifelong learners in the developed and developing worlds. In all her work, she applies a universal design method to practice-based innovation to transform lives through providing unlimited access to education and tools for creative expression.
Prior to joining UCD, Lizbeth was Director of Research for Futurelab Education, working with David Puttnam’s team to establish innovative platforms for the future of education in a context of global change. She is known as an expert in Digital Inclusion, including learning models for communities at risk. She is an award-winning advocate of community-based ethical learning and teaching models using interactive tools and games to inspire and engage learners of all ages. She specialises in working with people who do not have physical voices (whether due to disability, injury, illiteracy, or other social/political factors), enabling the use of new creative technologies for expression vocally, in writing, and with movement and music.
Professor Orla Feely, Vice President for Research, Innovation & Impact (VPRII), University College Dublin