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Master of Fine Arts

University of California, Santa Barbara

Department of Art (Emphasis: New Media)

Research Assistant:  Worked on a multidisciplinary project involving multi-user online public spaces.  Coordinated and copy edited an international CD-ROM book project,  Terminals 2.0

Thesis addressed the integration of advanced computer technology on photography, exploring how computers were redefining notions of identity, relationships, and sexuality.  

Relevant Work Experience

Sept 2017Present

Director / Co-Chair

Frameless Labs

Frameless Labs serves to bring attention to research, innovation and artistic creation in the fields of virtual and augmented reality. By providing symposia and an online space for the XR community to collaborate, Frameless Labs supports the growth of existing ventures and inspires innovations of new projects and technology. 

Sept 2000Present

Professor - College of Art and Design

Rochester Institute of Technology

With a foundation in photography and digital imaging, Susan collaborates across campus developing interdisciplinary curriculum between the arts and computer science.

Sept 2015Present

School of Individualized Study Fellow

Rochester Institute of Technology

This RIT academic unit provides flexible individualized education pathways which supports the diverse needs of 21st century learners.  As a SOIS Fellow, I advise students in the development of innovative interdisciplinary degrees.

May 2017Present

Executive Board Member

Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru)

Currently serve on the Executive Committee.  Previous year: Inaugural liaison for RIT partnership with a2ru, a national organization that advances interdisciplinary arts and design research, curricula, and creative practice.  Editorial Board Member on Ground Works is an online open-access compendium of exemplary arts-integrative research and practice, 2018-2021.


Chair, Advertising Photography Program

Rochester Institute of Technology

Accomplishments as Program Chair included:

  • Successfully transitioned program from quarters to semesters 
  • Reorganized class schedules, meeting faculty and student needs
  • Searched and hired three faculty, mentored new faculty
  • Assessed and updated program curriculum 
  • Updated accreditation curricular tables
  • Participated in development of new college degree audit
  • With student services, cleared unresolved student issues and developed an efficient and effective system for future use

Board Director

Flower City Art Center

A community based not-for-profit that educates, encourages and inspires all people to create and enjoy the arts.  Three visual arts programs are offered: Printmaking & Book Arts, Ceramics, and Photography & Digital Arts.  They offer youth programs, classes and workshops, provide facilities to studio artists, and exhibit work in their galleries.


Advisory Board Member - Caroline Werner Gannett Project

Rochester Institute of Technology

Lecture series: Visionaries in Motion V - These 21st century innovators and scholars in the arts, sciences and technologies ask unasked questions. Our visionaries cross disciplinary borders as they court wildness, reframe problems, and take risks to change worlds.

Jan 1985Jan 2000

Commercial Photographer

Susan Lakin Photography (link: small sampling)

Freelance in Los Angeles and Australia.

Clients included: Sebastian, Adidas, Avon, Disney, Jurgensens International, Souther California Edison, Shape Magazine, Geffen Records, Harper's Bazaar, LA Times Magazine, California Business Magazine, Syncor, Bum Equipment, World Vision, Nordstrom, OCA Architects.........

Jun 1989May 1995


Hotop Photo Inc

Owned and operated a commercial photographic supply store located in Burbank, CA. As an Eastman Kodak Professional Stockhouse our clients included NBC Productions, Warner Bros Studios, Walt Disney Studios, Burbank Unified School District, Burbank Airport, City of Burbank, Farmers Insurance Co, Isgo Lepejian Photo Lab, The Lab Ciba, Gosch Productions, many Professional Studios, as well as the neighbor around the corner........

Selected Lectures/Presentations


Imaging for XR Workshop 2024, Program Committee and Session Chair


Algorithmic Arts Workshop 2023, NSF/NEA and College of Charleston sponsored workshop hosted at University of Maryland.

University Technology Showcase, Talk: Artist and Filmmakers Leveraging VR & AR for Social Impact

Imaging for XR Workshop 2023, Program Committee and Session: Medical Applications in Extended Reality

Color Impact 2023, Talk: Frameless Labs

25th Annual Clarissa St Reunion, Festival Demonstration Augmented Reality Prototype


Imaging for XR Workshop, Chair Session: State of VR Immersive Media Ecosystem & Surgical Telerobotics

LAVNCH & LEARN, Webinar: XR in the Classroom.


6th Annual Frameless XR Symposium, Talk: Creating a Virtual Reality Experience in Service to a Non-Profit Agency.

a2ru National Conference - Sharing Stories: The Case for Art, Moderator: Storytelling Session / Presenter: Augmented Reality as a New Story Telling Medium

Beyond Zoom: Promise and Reality of XR Program, Presenter: Clarissa Street AR Experience: Revealing the Lost Architecture of a Historic African American Community.


Frameless XR Symposium, Moderator, Public Interest Technology Webinar Session

Navigating Online Arts Instruction a2ru Webinar, Moderator, Educating Through Visual Arts, Engaging Through Distance

Lecture: Art & Emerging Technology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 


National Convening on the Integration of Arts, Humanities, and STEMM in Higher Education, Washington DC. Poster Presentation: SPCC Space Adventure Game


InterAccess, softWEAR Residency: A Wearable Tech Discussion, Toronto, Canada

Greenland Under The Arctic Sky, Moderator and Organizer of interdisciplinary lecture and panel discussion, Rochester, NY

Frameless Labs Symposium, Chair for Cultural Heritage and Discoverability Panel, Rochester, NY


Light & Sound Interactive Conference, Memorial Art Gallery Augmented Reality Project Presentation, Rochester, NY

VRTO Virtual & Augmented Reality World Conference & Expo, Interactive Music Experiences Course Demonstrations, Toronto, Canada

Crew 20/20 Research In Focus, Audience Interaction Between Music, Art, and Technology, Rochester, NY


IEEE International Conference on Pervasive Computing and Communications, PULSE: An Infrastructure for Collection of Audience Heartbeats for Music Visualization, Sydney, Australia

Frameless Labs VR/AR Symposium, Organizer/Presenter/Moderator: AR/VR Panel Discussion and Exhibition, Rochester, NY


Imagine RIT Creativity and Innovation Festival, Project 01X: Pulse, Rochester, NY


TCC 2013 Worldwide Online Conference, Memorial Art Gallery Project, Hawaii

SPE National Conference, Please Take This Moment To Turn ON All Cell Phones, Baltimore, MD


SIGGRAPH 2013 Conference, Exploring the Intersection Between Art, Music, and Technology, Anaheim, CA

SIGGRAPH 2013 Conference, The Collaborative Composite Image, MAG Project, Anaheim, CA


Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography, Toronto, Canada


Artist talks:

George Eastman House, Rochester, NY

Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, NY


Rochester Contemporary Art Center, Rochester, NY

Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, NY

WXXI – Public Broadcasting Council, Radio interview: Interviewed by Brenda Tremblay



Best in Virtual Reality for Our Compass: Santa Barbara International Short Fest & Cleveland Short.Sweet.Film Fest


Best in Virtual Reality for Our Compass: Melbourne Independent Film Festival

FEAD Grant: Development of Augmented Reality in an Undergraduate Art Curriculum

Provost's T/A/D Course Design Grant: Extended Reality Survey

Provost's Learning Innovations Grant: CAD/CLA Introduction to Augmented Reality course

AdvanceRIT - Connect Grant: Clarissa St Augmented Reality Project


AdvanceRIT - Connect Grant: Virtual Reality for Society for the Protection and Care of Children


Facebook Unrestricted Gift: Two Surround 360 Cameras


FEAD Grant: Blended Reality and SIGGRAPH 2017


FEAD Grant: Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Industry Outreach


Provost's Learning Innovation Grant: Exploration Grant

          Content Marketing and Gaming (Collaborator: Tona Henderson - Director, School of Interactive Games and Media)


Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation,  Cultural Creative Collision Grant


Finalist SPE Conference Award for Excellence in Historical, Critical and Theoretical Writing



Provost's Learning Innovations Grant: Proof of Concept Program Award (Collaborator: David Halbstein - 3DDG)

          Photography and Computer-Based Imagery: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Realistic Image Creation and Control  

Provost's Learning Innovation Grant: Adaptation & Implementation Program Award (Collaborator: Joe Geigel - CS)

          Exploring the Intersection of Art, Music, and Technology


Center, Singular Image Curator's Choice, Santa Fe, NM

Cepa Gallery, Exhibition Award, Buffalo, NY


New York Foundation of the Arts, Strategic Opportunity Stipends & MARK program, NYC

Print Center Council, Award of Excellence, Philadelphia, PA


Memorial Art Gallery, Arena Group Award, Rochester, NY


Center, Santa Fe Prize in Photography Nomination, Santa Fe, NM

Rochester Contemporary, Sibley Window Exhibition Award, Rochester, NY


Rochester Institute of Technology, FEAD Grant, Rochester, NY


Rochester Institute of Technology, FEAD Grant, Rochester, NY


University of CA, Irvine, Intercampus Arts Fund, Irvine, CA


University of California, Santa Barbara, Departmental Fee Award, Santa Barbara, CA

Santa Barbara Art Fund, Santa Barbara, CA

Artistic Practice

A transmedia producer, Susan Lakin is currently engaged with immersive technology and collaborates on community projects in the nonprofit sector.

Interdisciplinary Projects

Our Compass

A virtual reality project, Our Compass follows the story of the first child protection case in US history through the lens of contemporary survivors of sexual abuse and domestic violence. The experience explores the effects of trauma and the positive outcomes that result when communities work together to support the most vulnerable in our society.

Film Festivals include:

  • Award Winner: Melbourne Independent Film Festival - Australia 2022 
  • Award Winner: Santa Barbara International Short Fest - California 2023
  • International Children's Rights Film Festival - Turkey 2022
  • The Poppy Jasper International Film Festival - California 2023
  • Philadelphia Independent Film Festival - Pennsylvania 2023
  • Red Dirt Film Festival - Oklahoma 2023
  • River Film Festival -  Italy 2023
  • Short.Sweet.Film Fest, Cleveland - Ohio 2023
  • Alpinale Short Film Festival - Austria 2023
  • FIVARS: Festival of International Virtual & Augmented Reality Stories - Toronto 2023
  • Animaze: Montreal International Animation Film Festival - Montreal 2023
  • Intervalli Festival Cinema - Italy 2024

Production Team:

Susan Lakin: Professor/Executive Producer/Director

Frank Deese: Professor/Co-Producer/Writer

Isabelle Anderson: Student/VR Illustrator/Animator/Sound Editing

Olivia Wilson-Luffman: Student/Sound Recording

Justice DeCroce: Creative Consultant

Space Adventure Game

A web-based, interactive game produced at Rochester Institute of Technology for the Society for the Protection and Care of Children (SPCC).  Within the integrated structure of Professor Lakin's content Marketing and Gaming course, faculty and students from the College of Art and Design, Golisano College of Computer and Information Sciences, and College of Liberal Arts worked collaboratively to conceive and prototype this game.  With internal funding, a faculty led student team crafted this child-centric animated game, meeting the goals of their pro bono client. 

"We see this game as a way for children and families to connect to each other, connect to the agency, and learn about themselves all while having fun.  We are so excited to have it in our 'play' toolbox."

Sarah Fitzgibbons, Vice President of Programs and Practices at SPCC

Game Production Team:

Susan Lakin: Professor/Producer

Isaac Kelman: Game Programmer

Gabe Levitt: Illustrator

Wesley Odell: Sound Composition/Design

01X: Digital Intersection of Music, Art, and Audience 

The 01X Project is an ongoing interdisciplinary collaboration that utilizes digital technology to reinvent a live concert experience, breaking down traditional barriers to create an interactive visual and musical encounter. The 01X collaborative unites multiple partners with different perspectives, talents, and abilities in support of developing innovative projects.

01X Leadership Team:

Susan Lakin: Producer, Art Director, and Photographer

Joe Geigel: Technical Lead and Designer

Katie Verrant: Design Lead and Designer

The Nostalgia Project

The Nostalgia Project is a collaborative work between musicians, artists, computer scientists, and the general public. It draws upon web-based photo sharing, text messaging, and musical performance to explore the notion of nostalgia, merging visual images with music both responding to and affecting the other. Project Website

Susan Lakin - Producer

Joe Geigel - Technical Manager

Peter Ferry - Solo Percussionist

Matt Evans - Composer

Mitchell DeMarco - Technical Leader

Anna Clem - Videographer

Kimberly Sing and Yuqiong Wang - Web Designers

Karteek Mekala and Sergio Vargas - Web Programmers

David Bright Jr. and Jonathan Johnson - Audio Analysis Programmers

Nostalgia Project Performances by Peter Ferry

        Hackathon Opening Talk and Performance, Cleveland, OH, September 6, 2015

          Spectrum, NYC, September 6, 2014

          Intetain, Int'l Conference on Intelligent Technologies for Interactive Entertainment, Chicago, IL, July 9, 2014

          NYC Debut at Firehouse Space, March 29, 2014

          SPE National Conference, Baltimore, MD, March 8, 2014

          TEDx Performance, October 17, 2013

          Art Awake, April 20, 2013

          Artisan Works, April 14, 2013

          Sound ExChange Orchestra Presents: All Eye and Ears, February 23, 2013

          Fringe Festival, September 20 & 22, 2012

          Imagine RIT: Innovation and Creativity Festival, May 5, 2012

          Rochester Contemporary Art Center, April 26, 2012


Santa Barbara Museum of Art

Oakland Museum of California

Photography Museum of Lishui China

Griffin Museum of Photography

Selected Exhibitions

Group Exhibitions


Arts Center Gallery, Continuing the Dialog: The State of Photography II, Nazareth College, Rochester, NY


William Harris Gallery, "nOmore" Sexual Assault Button, Rochester, NY


Shandong University  of Art and Design, China


Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Behind the Wheel, Santa Barbara, CA

Art, Design & Architecture Museum, One Minute to Heaven, UC Santa Barbara, CA


XL Projects Gallery, Stone Canoe Number 5, Syracuse, New York


Koffler Center of the Arts, How Good Are Your Dwelling Places?, Guest Curator Cyril Reade Ph.D, Toronto, Canada


Lishui International Photo Festival, Lishui, China

Channing Peake Gallery, Reflections and Projections, curated by Anette Kubitza Ph.D, Santa Barbara, CA

Working With Artists Gallery, Home is Where The Heart Is, Denver, CO


Houston Center of Photography, Juror: Alison Nordstrom, Houston, TX

Memorial Art Gallery,  2008 Rochester Biennial, Rochester, NY

The Print Center, Juror: Joel M Smith, Philadelphia, PA

Peninsula Museum of Art, Waking Dreams, Belmont, CA

Silvermine Guild Art Center, Juror: Peter MacGill, New Canaan, CT


Pingyao International Photography Festival, SPAS Exhibition, Pingyao, China

Griffin Museum of Photography, Winchester, MA

Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, Artemi, Buffalo, NY

Soho Photo, National Photography Competition, New York, NY

Kingston Gallery, New Art '07, Boston, MA, Photographic Resource Center, Juror: Jen Bekman, Boston, MA  

Silvermine Guild Arts Center, Art of the Northeast USA, New Canaan, CT


Fotografie Forum International, Winter Wondderland: Fantasy and Illusion, Frankfurt, Germany


Rochester Contemporary, Appendix, Rochester, NY


SPAS Gallery, Faculty Exhibition, Rochester, NY


Gallery @ 49, New York, NY


Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Grin and Bare It, Santa Barbara, CA


University Art Museum, Site Work 1: Construction Site, Santa Barbara, CA


Atkinson Gallery, Small Images 12, Santa Barbara, CA

Benham Gallery, A.K.A Photography, Seattle, WA


The Art Gallery, LA Photography, Santa Monica, CA

Solo/Duo Exhibitions


Gallery 44, Monitors, Toronto, Canada


Rochester Contemporary Art Center, Site Specific @ The Sibley Building, Rochester, NY

Robert V Fullerton Art Museum, Harriett Mueller Gallery, San Bernardino, CA


Santa Barbara Art Fund, Sustaining Loss, Santa Barbara, CA

Selected Publications and Exhibition Reviews


Telling the story of the Society for the Protection and Care of Children using virtual reality, by Felícia Swartzenberg


RIT transforms into XR playground for annual Frameless Symposium, by Aaron Garland

Faculty member develops co-op experiences specific to supporting nonprofit companies, by Michelle Cometa


RIT News: Tigers make game used as a therapeutic tool for children and families, by Felicia Swartzenberg


Intelligent Technologies for Interactive Entertainment, The Nostalgia Project

Jack Clapp , “Jake Reviews Sound Exchange,” Rochester City Newspaper, Sept 21.

City Newspaper Arts and Entertainment Staff, "Best of the Fest: 01X Project," Geva Theatre Nextstage, Sept 19/20.


James Battaglia , “Art Comes Alive Through Augmented Reality,” Henrietta Post, March 21, 2013, A1,A10.

Jim Memmott, “A Century of Progress,” Democrat and Chronicle, March 24, 1A,19A.

“News, Materials: Metaproject 03,” Curve: The Industrial Design Magazine, May 30, Kate Jones.

“Metaproject 03,” Domus, June 5.

Jeff Spevak, “Geva, Garth Fagan Dance among groups earning Farash Grants,” Democrat and Chronicle

Nate Dougherty, “Farash Foundation Awards Grants to Arts Organizations,” Rochester Business Journal, Nov 27.            


Stone Canoe Number 5, A Journal of Arts, Literature and Social Commentary


ESSE Magazine, Monitors by Gabrielle Moser

Toronto Star, Monitors by Peter Goddard

Akimblog, Monitors by Terence Dick


In The Loupe: Photographic Resource Center at Boston University


Handbook of Social Science Research Ethics, Visual Representation of People and Information: Translating Lives Into Numbers, Words, and Images as Research Data

The Print Center Catalog: Forward by Joel Smith, Curator of Photography, Princeton University Art Museum

Democrat and Chronicle, Fascinating Worlds by Stuart Low

Rochester City Newspaper, ART REVIEW: “3rd Rochester Biennial” Expressive invitation by Rebecca Rafferty Daily Messenger, A different kind of ‘Television Series’ by L. David Wheeler

The Oakland Tribune, International digital artists featured in Belmont by Bonny Zanardi


Magenta Magazine, Television Portrait feature with text by Brian Clamp of ClampArt in NYCThe Photo Review 2007, Work from the Television Portrait series

In The Loupe, Exposure: The Annual PRC Juried Exhibition

Spectra ’07 National Photography Triennial

Catalog: Forward by Peter MacGill, Pres Pace/MacGill Gallery NYC

Pingyao International Photography Festival,Catalog:  SPAS Exhibition, Pingyao, China

The Boston Phoenix, "New Art ‘07’ at Kingston Gallery" by Greg CookRochester

City Newspaper, ART: “2007 Rochester-Finger Lakes Exhibition” at MAG by Luke Strosnider

Democrat and Chronicle, "Time-space discontinuum in MAG exhibit" by Stuart Low

The Boston Phoenix, "PRC anniversary show" by Nina MacLaughlin

The New York Times, "Art of the Northeast USA, Ready for This Close-Up?"  by Benjamin Genocchio

Almanac Weekly, "Around the world in 68 images" by Carrie Schapker

Portrait photo by Drew Swantak