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The tabletop image. Photo by Reese Muntean, 2015.

I will soon be a PhD student at the School of Interactive Arts + Technology. I hold a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography and East Asian Studies from New York University, and upon successful defense of my Master’s thesis, I will have earned my MA in Interactive Arts and Technology here at SFU. My 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. My research interests naturally include digital cultural heritage and collaborative development of ethnographic new media projects, as well as 3D scanning, virtual reality applications for cultural documentation and preservation, and technology policy.

MA Thesis Project: Contemporary museums are increasingly incorporating technology into exhibits, allowing visitors to engage with information in different ways and in greater depth. One such technology utilized is the digital tabletop. For my Master’s thesis, I helped develop ʔeləw̓k̓ʷ — Belongings, an interactive tangible tabletop installed in the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia. The tabletop was designed to communicate the continuity of Musqueam culture, convey the complexity of belongings excavated from Musqueam’s ancient village site, and reconnect those belongings to traditional practices and oral histories through tangible interactions with the table. During the design process, I contributed as project manager, photographer, and I assisted with fabrication and interface design. In my thesis I offer a case study of the collaborative process shared among the researchers, curators, and the exhibit Advisory Committee during the design of the tangible tabletop, and I highlight key design decisions that resulted from this collaboration, showcasing how cultural values can be shared through tangible interactions.

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Creating the tabletop image. Photo by Jordan Wilson, 2015.

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Photo by Reese Muntean, 2015.