Digital Arts and New Media: MFA: Collaboration, Innovation, Social Impact

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Susana Ruiz

Assistant Professor
Film and Digital Media

Game design; games as forms of activism and art; animation; participatory culture; social art practice; non-fiction storytelling; theory/practice hybridity; Theatre of the Oppressed; expanded documentary; interaction design; worldbuilding; transmedia production, scholarship and activism.

Research Interests: 

Susana Ruiz is an artist and scholar whose work traverses the intersections of cinema, games, art, ethics and activism. Her teaching and research are broadly concerned with how the intersection of art practice, design, computation, and storytelling can enable emergent forms of social justice, aesthetics, and learning.

Her research interests include “serious,” documentary, and “art” games; ubiquitous and locative experience design; animation; modes of transmedia storytelling, production and activism; game-based learning; empathic, value-centric and participatory design; and the artistic application of theories of social justice such as anti-oppression, intersectionalism, narrative power analysis, and ethical spectacle.

Much of Ruiz’s work takes place via the studio she co-founded, Take Action Games (TAG), which has an evolving portfolio situated at the confluence of game design, participatory culture, social justice, and transmedia storytelling. TAG’s accolades include the Games For Change Audience Award, the Adobe MAX Award for Social Responsibility, Honoree status in the Webby Award Activism Category, and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ prestigious Governors Award as part of the mtvU Sudan transmedia campaign.

Ruiz was a member of the first cohort in the newly formed Interactive Media and Games MFA program at USC's School of Cinematic Arts and then a member of the second cohort in its newly formed Ph.D. program in Media Arts + Practice.  She has served as advisory board member for Games for Change, was a USC Provost’s Fellow, and recipient of the University of Southern California’s Ph.D. Achievement Award, the highest honor bestowed on doctoral candidates at USC.

Education and Training: 
Ph.D., Media Arts and Practice, University of Southern California
M.F.A., Interactive Media and Games, University of Southern California
BFA, Art Practice, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Art and Science
Phone: 
831-502-7564
Office Location: 
149C Communications