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Academy Guest Instructor

Samantha Gorman is an interdisciplinary scholar, artist and educator. She specializes in writing (and narrative design) for digital media, directing for live digital performance/theater, and the theory and practice of immersive media (AR/VR). She is the co-lead of studio Tender Claws and a professor of games in the Art + Design Department in CAMD at Northeastern University.

She is known for projects that make critical, creative interventions in form/technology (e-readers, mobile VR, AR, machine learning, biometrics), while also functioning as commercially released entertainment and providing R&D for emerging platforms and partnerships. Many of her projects deal with speculative design futures; to this end, the close marriage of critical narratives and user experience design is meant to foster a reflective/informed viewership of the medium being consumed.

As co-lead of Tender Claws her work has launched nearly every major immersive media platform and has been written about in The New York Times, Vice, BBC radio, The Verge, Forbes, Wired, The LA Times and Engadget. Projects by Tender Claws have also been acknowledged by industry accolades: starting with PRY (one of Apple’s 25 best apps of 2015). Virtual, Virtual Reality (VVR) – which draws on her eighteen years of experience designing for Virtual Reality – was a 2017 Google Play Award winner for “Best VR Experience, “ a Unity Awards Finalist, and won “Best VR Game” and “Best Mobile VR” at Raindance. In 2018, Tender Claws partnered with Google AR/VR to release Tendar an AR/sentiment analysis game that premiered at Sundance New Frontier. In 2019, Tender Claws partnered with Oculus for The Under Presents: a hybrid long-form VR and remote immersive theater game with live performers inhabiting the world everyday from November 2019 to December 2020. The Under has been up for several awards including a SXSW Gaming Award and was a Juried Award finalist for an Emmy in Innovation. Most recently, “Tempest” one of the world’s first ticketed, remote VR plays was nominated for a DICE award.

Samantha received an MFA from Brown University Literary Arts and her PhD in Media Arts and Practice from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts.