Fran panetta, xr creative director at MIT

Welcoming Francesca Panetta, XR Creative Director in the MIT Center for Advanced Virtuality

Suzanne Day | MIT Open Learning

In her new role, Francesca will use extended reality (XR) technology in storytelling for social impact

The MIT Center for Advanced Virtuality is pleased to welcome its newest team member, Francesca Panetta, as XR Creative Director in the center.

Joining D. Fox Harrell, director of the MIT Center for Advanced Virtuality and Professor of Digital Media and Artificial Intelligence, Francesca will spearhead the creation of unprecedented novel types of XR (e.g., VR/AR/MR) works.

“We are thrilled to welcome Francesca to our growing team,” Professor Harrell said. “Her experience in creating immersive stories with emerging technologies will advance our mission in a number of ways — initiating new ideas and concepts, testing those concepts through prototypes, producing, and working with researchers to evaluate projects’ impacts.”

An immersive artist and journalist, Francesca brings more than a decade of experience working in storytelling for social impact using emerging technologies to MIT Virtuality. In her previous role at the Guardian, an international news outlet, Francesca pioneered new forms of journalism, including interactive features, location-based augmented reality, and most recently virtual reality, where she led an in-house VR studio.

At the intersection of journalistic reporting, scholarly sources, and artistic expression, Francesca’s work ranges in subject matter — from an exploration of solitary confinement in prisons in the United States (“6x9”) to a child development-based story allowing viewers to see the world through a baby’s eyes (“First Impressions”).

Francesca has received numerous awards from all over the world, touring the White House, Tribeca, Cannes, Sundance, and more. She was a 2019 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University.


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