John Desnoyers-Stewart, MFA

Sessional Lecturer

Creative Studies, Media Studies

Research Summary

Mixed reality, interactive art, social connection, embodiment and tactility, pseudo-haptics, research in-the-wild.

Courses & Teaching

Media Studies


John Desnoyers-Stewart is an interdisciplinary artist-researcher pursuing his PhD in Interactive Arts and Technology at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, BC, Canada. He is a professional engineer with a Master of Fine Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies who seeks opportunities to bring knowledge from diverse disciplines together to promote creativity and innovation. He is also a consultant with a broad array of expertise including graphic and product design and has developed mixed reality instruments and tools for music and training applications.

His current focus is developing immersive installations to encourage new perspectives on immersive technology and to better understand its true potential and study its effects. He has exhibited his multi-user mixed reality installations, Star-Stuff, Eve 3.0, Body RemiXer, and many more at art galleries and festivals in Vancouver, Canada and around the world. Through these installations he hopes to encourage social connection and collaborative creativity, exploring positive social applications of virtual reality and better understanding the experience of embodying abstract bodies.



BASc in Industrial Systems Engineering (Co-Op), University of Regina, 2011
MFA in Interdisciplinary Studies (Creative Tech and Computer Science), University of Regina, 2018
PhD Candidate in Interactive Arts and Technology, Simon Fraser University, in progress

Selected Publications & Presentations


John Desnoyers-Stewart. Star-Stuff: a shared immersive experience in space. ISEA ’22: Possibilities, Barcelona, Spain. June 10–16, 2022, 8 p.

Lark Spartin and John Desnoyers-Stewart. Digital Relationality: Relational aesthetics in contemporary interactive art. Proceedings of EVA London 2022, London, UK, July 4–8, 2022, 8 p.

Ekaterina R. Stepanova, John Desnoyers-Stewart, Kristina Höök, K., and Bernhard E. Riecke, Strategies for Fostering a Genuine Feeling of Connection in Technologically Mediated Systems. CHI’ 22, New Orleans, LA, USA. April 30–May 5, 2022, 38 p. ACM.


Alissa N. Antle, Alex Kitson, Yumiko Murai, Azadeh Adibi, Yves Candau, John Desnoyers-Stewart, Katrien Jacobs, and Zoe Dao-Kroeker.  Opportunities and Scaffolds for Critical Reflection on Ethical Issues in an Online After School Biowearable Workshop for Youth. FabLearn ’21, Online, Jun 2–3, 2021, 6 p. [article]


John Desnoyers-Stewart, Ekaterina R. Stepanova, Bernhard Riecke, and Patrick Pennefather. Body RemiXer: Extending Bodies to Stimulate Social Connection Through an Immersive Installation. Leonardo, 53(4), 394–400.

Ekaterina R. Stepanova, John Desnoyers-Stewart, Philippe Pasquier, and Bernhard E. Riecke. JeL: Breathing Together to Connect with Others and Nature. DIS ’20. Eindhoven, NL, July 6–10, 2020, 14 p. ACM.

John Desnoyers-Stewart. Engaging with a CHI Paper Through Embodied Action: A Situated Analysis of “Design for Collaborative Survival.” CHI ’20 Extended Abstracts, Honolulu, HI, USA. April 25–30, 2020, 11 p. ACM.

John Desnoyers-Stewart. & Sigrid Coggins. How COVID impacts the creativity of digital artists, how they adapt, and find new ways of creation. Round table facilitated by Urszula Gleisner. Laval Virtual Days: XR Trends, online VR conference, September 28, 2020.

John Desnoyers-Stewart. Remixing Social Realities in Body RemiXer. Laval Virtual World, online VR conference hosted in France, April 22, 2020.


John Desnoyers-Stewart, Megan L. Smith, and Bernhard E. Riecke. “Transcending the Virtual Mirror Stage: Embodying the virtual self through the digital mirror.” In Radical Immersions: Navigating Between Virtual / Physical Environments and Information Bubbles. Proceedings of DRHA 2019, London, UK, Sep 8-10, 2019, pp. 156–67. [article]

Megan L. Smith, John Desnoyers-Stewart, and Gregory Kratzig. Designing Virtual Reality Tools: making simulated interventions feel and act like their real counterparts. In Proceedings of I/ITSEC 2019, Orlando, USA, Dec 2–6, 2019, 13 p. [article]

Megan L. Smith and John Desnoyers-Stewart. Riding Through Walls: a journey in physical computing through Google Street View. Proceedings of EVA London 2019, London, UK, July 8–11,2019, 8 p.

John Desnoyers-Stewart. Abstract Embodiment for Social Connection in VR. VR/AR Global Summit 2019, Vancouver, BC, November 2, 2019.


John Desnoyers-Stewart, David Gerhard, and Megan L. Smith Augmenting a MIDI Keyboard Using Virtual Interfaces. Journal of the Audio Engineering Society, 66(6), 439–447.

John Desnoyers-Stewart, David Gerhard, and Megan L. Smith, (2018, December). “Augmenting Virtuality with a Synchronized Dynamic Musical Interface: a user evaluation of a Mixed Reality MIDI Keyboard.” In Music Technology with Swing. LNCS. Cham, Switzerland: Springer. 540–557.

Selected Grants & Awards

Canada Council for the Arts Research and Creation Grant (2021-22)

Selected Awards & Distinctions

SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship (2018-2023)

UBC Okanagan FCCS Sessional Faculty Research Award (2022)

Engineers Canada TD Meloche-Monnex Scholarship (2019)

National Academy of Sciences Student Fellows Symposium Award (2018)

Saskatchewan Innovation and Opportunity Graduate Scholarship (2017)


Star-Stuff: a way for the universe to know itself [multi-user VR] music by Dale Nichols. Available on Oculus Quest

  • R. MacMillan Space Centre. Vancouver, BC. October 2022 – September 2023.
  • SIGGRAPH 2022 Immersive Pavilion. Vancouver, BC. August 8–11, 2022.
  • Virtual Reality Experience 2022. Rome, Italy & Online. October 6–30, 2022.
  • V-Unframed: Your Journey between Art and Virtual Reality. Centre for Digital Media, Vancouver, BC. October 1–3 2021.

Eve 3.0: stories of our extreme selves [multi-user VR performance] with Margherita Bergamo Menenghini, Veronica Boniotti, Mark Lee, Maria Leon Arraez, Daniel González Franco, Kirstin Huber, Amira-Sade Moodie, Dale Nichols and many more. Produced by Compagnie Voix.

  • Tanzahoi 2022. Hamburg, Germany. September 9–18 2022.
  • Recto VRso 2022. Laval, France. April 12–17, 2022.

Body RemiXer Virtualization for Recto VRso 2020 [virtual reality archival work] with Ekaterina Stepanova, Bernhard Riecke and Patrick Pennefather. Curated by Judith Guez.

  • Recto VRso 2022. Laval, France. April 12–17, 2022.
  • FIAV Festival International d’Art Vidéo de Casablanca 2021. Casablanca, Morocco, November 23–27,2021.
  • Recto VRso Virtualization 2020. Online.

Body RemiXer [Online] [multi-user online virtual reality experience] with Ekaterina Stepanova, Bernhard Riecke and Patrick Pennefather. Curated by Dr. Judith Guez. Recto VRso @Vancouver 2020. Online and at Alliance Française Vancouver, October 2-4, 2020.

Body RemiXer [mixed reality installation] with Ekaterina Stepanova, Bernhard Riecke and Patrick Pennefather.

  • Accepted at Recto VRso Festival at Laval Virtual 2020, Laval, France. Cancelled due to COVID-19.
  • 2019 Provincial Summit on Aging, Richmond, BC, Canada, November 7-8, 2019.
  • Help My Grandma Day, Digital Health Circle, Surrey, BC, Canada, September 30, 2019.
  • The Fun Palace Carnival of Mixed Realities, Center for Digital Media, Vancouver, BC, Canada, June 25, 2019.

JeL [Collaborative Breathing installation] with Ekaterina Stepanova, Philippe Pasquier, and Bernhard Riecke. The Fun Palace Carnival of Mixed Realities, Center for Digital Media, Vancouver, BC, Canada, June 25, 2019.

Transcending Perception [Multi-user mixed reality installation/performance]

  • Digital Carnival, Richmond World Festival 2019, Richmond, BC. August 30–31, 2019. With Performances by: Robyn Murray, Kestrel Paton, Charlotte Telfer-Wan, Annabelle Wong, Sarah U.
  • Nuit Blanche Regina, Regina, SK, September 29, 2018. With assistance from Yujie Gao and Performances by: Carla Harris, WL Altman, Helen Pridmore, Krista Solheim, Tara Solheim, and Clinton Ackerman.
  • Fifth Parallel Gallery, Regina, SK, April 17–27, 2018. With performances by: WL Altman, Helen Pridmore, Clinton Ackerman, and Megan L. Smith.

Professional Services/Affiliations/Committees

iSpace Lab at Simon Fraser University


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