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Caitlin Fisher

Faculty Profile Image

Cinema & Media Arts

Caitlin Fisher

Professor

caitlin@yorku.ca

Education

BA (Toronto), MA (Carleton), PhD (York)

Biography

Caitlin Fisher directs both the Immersive Storytelling Lab and the Augmented Reality Lab at York University in Toronto where she held the Canada Research Chair in Digital Culture (2004-2014). A co-founder of York’s Future Cinema Lab,  Caitlin is also a former Fulbright Research Chair (UC Santa Barbara), and former Mourou-Strickland fellowship holder (Paris). She is a core member of VISTA, Sensorium and CAIS.

Caitlin is the recipient of many international awards for digital storytelling including the Electronic Literature Award for Fiction and the Vinaròs Prize for one of the world's first AR poems.

She serves as President of the International Electronic Literature Organization, an academic organization founded in 1999 and dedicated to the investigation of literature produced for the digital medium with a global presence, including members across North America and in South America, Europe, Asia, Australia, and Africa. Members hail from a wide array of disciplines and areas of study, including Art, Literature, Communication, Computer Science, Humanities, Digital Humanities, Media Studies, Women Studies, and Comparative Media. with membership on all continents. Under Caitlin’s leadership, the organization is making its home in Canada for the first time.

She also serves on the international Executive Board for HASTAC - the Humanities, Arts, Science, Technology Alliance and Collaboratory. One of the world’s first and oldest academic networks, HASTAC has over 18,000 members from 400+ affiliate organizations. HASTAC (pronounced like “haystack”) was an early participant in a National Science Foundation initiative to create “collaboratories,” online research clusters without walls, spanning multiple institutions and disciplines. HASTAC has two mottos that inform our practice: “Changing the Ways We Teach and Learn” (a commitment to equitable, lifelong, peer-to-peer collaborative pedagogies) and “Difference is Our Operating System” (an aspiration to be a network dedicated to social justice and with zero community tolerance for discriminatory language or actions). “Collaboration by Difference” is HASTAC’s prized methodology.

Caitlin's current externally funded research projects include “AI Storytelling” funded through SSHRC (Insight), a follow-up to recently completed SSHRC project (Insight) exploring Souveillance, Humanistic Intelligence and phenomenological AR for next-generation headsets.

She is also currently Co-PI on a New Frontiers grant investigating “Immersive digital environments and indigenous knowledges: co-creation in virtual reality environments to advance artmaking, digital poetics and reconciliation.”

Caitlin also serves as PI of an internally-funded multi-year York-wide CIRC (Interdisciplinary Research Cluster) grant, with Co-PIs Steven Hoffman (Global health) and Sharon Hayashi (Cinema and Media Arts) for a new initiative entitled  Catalyzing Collective Action at The Intersection of Global Health and the Arts. Our goal is to engage in innovative research and research-creation over the next three years and discover new modes of collaboration to enable us to engage with global health issues – centrally including a series of pilot projects in research-creation designed to tackle the global threat of anti-microbial resistance (AMR) - through innovations that build on interdisciplinary strengths, methods, and diverse ways of knowing.

From 2014-2017 she worked as part of a global team on Immune Nations, a collaborative and interdisciplinary initiative that brought together artists, academics, and healthcare professionals to explore the complex issues related to the use and distribution of vaccines in the world today. The project culminated in exhibitions in Norway and at the World Health Summit in Geneva and was remounted in Canada in 2021. http://www.immunenations.com/. 

Caitlin is currently working collaboratively as part of a diverse, interdisciplinary team with Speculative Energy Futures (SEF), a multi-year, collaborative, multi-institutional and interdisciplinary project on energy transition as a necessary response to address climate change. It brings artistic and humanities researchers together with science, social science, and policy experts to investigate the challenges of energy transition. Together they have produced a large-scale, evidence-based exhibition as well as a series of publications. Most recently (Nov 2022) we hosted workshops with students and the general public in St. Gallen, Switzerland. Funded through a University of Alberta CFREF grant. http://www.speculativeenergyfutures.com/

 She recently directed Fiery Sparks of Light, a volumetric XR project featuring iconic Canadian women poets (Atwood, Brossard, Tolmie, Lubrin). Produced with the participation of Telefilm Canada, 'Fiery Sparks of Light' is a CFC Media Lab and York University Immersive Storytelling Lab Co-Production in Partnership with Griffin Trust For Excellence In Poetry.

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