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Megan Smith, PhD
Associate Professor (Tenure)
Creative Studies, Media StudiesOther Titles: Director, Masters of Design Program
Office: CCS 348
Graduate student supervisor
New media art, virtual reality, physical computing, critical design, geo location, visual art, interactive art.
Courses & Teaching
Megan Smith PhD is a new media artist currently working to bridge physical computing within virtual and augmented reality environments. Her art practice probes new systems for delivering syndicated data through narrative structure and she often works with geo-location, live-feed installation, and performance as methods for storytelling. Her practice-based research blends with critical design methods to effectively build immersive environments. In particular, she has become a leader in use-of-force VR development, working in collaboration with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canadian Department of National Defense. In her Critical Making Lab, she is building a multi-user VR environment with moveable ‘smart’ props that incorporate haptic and biometric feedback to increase the illusion of risk within the VR situation, and add moments for human touch, smell and other sensations such as wind and temperature. In 2019, she was awarded a Research Fellowship at the Collaborative Centre for Justice & Safety, Regina, Saskatchewan for advancing public safety in Canada.
She is a partner on a SSHRC Insight project entitled “‘Disrupt/ability’: Disability, Ableism, Eye-Tracking Technology and Art Creation”, due to commence in Fall 2020.
Over a two-year period, Smith rode a networked vintage stationary bike across Canada, through Google Street View, from her studio in Regina, Canada. Over 330 hours of live-cast footage of the journey are archived on YouTube. Smith cycled through over 600,000 360-degree images, along 6,143 km of Trans-Canada highway, forming one of Canada’s most critical observations of the platform’s presence in Canada. She calls this project an adventure in physical computing. ‘Riding Through Walls’ was funded by SSHRC Insight Development, was part of the 2016 Project Anywhere global exhibition, and moved to the Dunlop Art Gallery for its performance finale in June 2018.
Smith was Creative Director and co-Founder of Canada’s national capital Nuit Blanche festival (2012-2015), a pop-up Contemporary Art event focused on embedding temporary transformative projects into public spaces. The festival annually hosted over a hundred artists from diverse areas of practice and was regularly attended by thousands of smiling people.
Smith holds a PhD in Contemporary Art & Graphic Design from Leeds Beckett University. She has taught at Leeds College of Art, the University of Ottawa, University of Regina and she joins the Faculty of Creative & Critical Studies, at the University of British Columbia as Associate Professor in July 2020.
(Profile photo by Michael Bell courtesy of the University of Regina.)
Selected Publications & Presentations
Megan Smith, John Desnoyers-Stewart, “Riding Through Walls: A journey of physical computing through Google Street View”, Paper. Electronic and Visual Arts, British Computer Society.
Megan Smith, John Denoyers-Stewart, and Gregory Kratzig. “Designing Virtual Reality Tools: making simulated interventions feel and act like their real counterparts”. Paper. Interservice/ Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference.
John Desnoyers-Stewart, David Gerhard, and Megan Smith. “Augmenting Virtuality with a Synchronized Dynamic Musical Instrument: A User Evaluation of a Mixed Reality MIDI Keyboard”. Chapter. Music Technology with Swing, Springer Nature Switzerland AG.
Megan L. Smith. “Riding Through Walls: a computationally-touched journey.” Anywhere, v.2. Edited by Sean Lowry and Simone Douglas. Paper. Project Anywhere, 2018.
John Desnoyers-Stewart, David Gerhard, and Megan Smith. “Augmenting a MIDI Keyboard Using Virtual Interfaces”. Paper. The Journal of the Audio Engineering Society (JAES) Special Issue: Augmented and Participatory Sound and Music Interaction Using Semantic Audio
John Desnoyers-Stewart, David Gerhard, and Megan Smith. 2017. “Mixed Reality MIDI Keyboard.” In Proceedings of the 13th International Symposium on CMMR, Porto, Portugal, September 25–28, 2017, 11 pages.
John Desnoyers-Stewart, David Gerhard, and Megan Smith. 2017. “Mixed Reality MIDI Keyboard Demonstration.” In Proceedings of AM ’17, London, United Kingdom, August 23–26, 2017, 5 pages. DOI: 10.1145/3123514.3123560 [Manuscript]
Selected Grants & Awards
Participant. ‘Disrupt/ability’: Disability, Ableism, Eye-Tracking Technology and Art Creation. SSHRC Insight grant, 2020
Principal Investigator. RCMP Research in Virtual Training & Simulation. RCMP & DND, 2020
Principal Investigator. Durational Performances in Physical Computing: a X-Canada Bike Journey Through Google Streetview. SSHRC Insight Development grant, 2016-2019
Awards & Distinctions
Fellow, Centre for Collaborative Safety & Justice, Regina, SK., 2019 – 2020
Teaching Award, Centre for Teaching & Learning, University of Regina, 2014
Riding Through Walls [installation & performance], IAST 2018, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, AB, October 25 – 27, 2018
Riding Through Walls [installation & workshop], Ignite, Saskatchewan Science Centre, Regina, SK, October 4, 2018
Riding Through Walls [installation], URL/IRL, Dunlop Art Gallery, Regina, June 1 – September 15, 2018
The Ottawa River , Àdisòkàmagan – Nous connaître un peu nous-mêmes – We’ll all become stories, Ottawa Art Gallery, Ottawa, January 20 – September 1, 2018
Being Adrift [digital photography], RiverRoute Pop-Up, AIR Artists Image Resource, Pittsburgh, USA, June 14, 2017
Moose Jaw to Regina [live-feed ‘Riding Through Walls], 6-hour durational performance, November 8, 2016.
Riding Through Walls [web project], ProjectAnywhere, Global Exhibition, Feb 18, 2016 – December 31, 2016.
Being Adrift [drawings], Yukon Riverside Arts Festival, Klondike Institute of Art & Culture, Dawson City, Yukon, August 11-14, 2016. Festival Program
Adrift [installation], Channel Surf, Gallery 101, Ottawa, June 27 – July 7, 2015
As I become an avatar and Edwige becomes me, In Transit: Mediated Identities in Space, The Works Art & Design Festival, Edmonton, June 19 – July 1, 2015
Birds, eyes, drones, [web-based project], NetArtizens, online exhibition by Randall Packer & Furtherfield, Art of the Networked Practice, March 2 – April 2, 2015
Landline [web application], Electric Fields, Artengine, Ottawa, September, 2013
Pst! microCONTROL, Conversations Electroniques, La Panacée, Montpellier, France, June – December., 2013
ArtWiki member, 7th Berlin Biennale, Berlin, April 27- July 1, 2012
As I become an avatar and Edwige becomes me. Sanctioned Array – Specify Others – 100, White Gallery, New York, USA, November, 2010
Jesse Goddard, MFA, Co-Supervision, 2015-2018
John Desnoyers-Stewart, MFA, Co-Supervision, 2016-2018
Yujie Gao, PhD, Co-Supervision, 2017-2020
Annalisa Raho, MFA/PhD, Co-Supervision, 2017-2020
Alain Mobert Crotte, PhD Computer Science, Committee member, 2020
Kylie Rae Dahlstrom, MA, Committee member, 2020