Symposium Researching Animation - Nordic Perspectives - Fredrikstad Animation Festival

Symposium Researching Animation – Nordic Perspectives

What do we do when we research animation? Which questions do we ask, and what possibilities of animation are uncovered by these questions? Research is all about asking questions, from the most seemingly stupid questions to the most unexpectedly bright questions. We never run out of questions, as there are always new ways to wonder about what is, what could be, and what the world of animation can become. The very concept of theory, as the ancient Greeks said, stems from wonder. Animation Studies is a young and blooming field of research, wondering about animation in all its wonderful forms. It is this basic tenet, wonder, that unites the Nordic researchers presenting in this symposium. We want to show a variety of perspectives in this symposium, allowing the audience to get a broader view of some of the concerns, topics, and questions that occupy Nordic researchers now.

In Researching Animation: Nordic Perspectives, we will ask questions about animated literacy, media archeology, new forms of collaborations in VR, the potential health benefits of video games, and the political importance of letting students tell their own stories.

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Ray Whitcher

Ray Whitcher is a lecturer and practitioner of animation hailing from Johannesburg, South Africa, now lecturing at Uppsala University, Sweden. In his professional career, Ray has animated lyric videos for clients including Marshmello, YungBlud, and Corey Taylor, illustrated comics for Star Wars: Clone Wars Confidential as well as various illustrative and design projects. In his lecturing capacity, Ray teaches 2D animation for video games, concept art development, critical theory, and professional practice (including pitching). He has also published scholarly articles on Comic Practices in Africa, Intermediality, and Curatorial Practice.

Sophie Mobbs

Sophie Mobbs is an associate professor at the Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences. Prior to working in higher education, Sophie spent 10 years working as an artist and animator in the games industry for companies that included Sony, Silicon Dreams, and Rebellion, contributing to eight published games across various platforms. She now specialises in teaching 2D and 3D animation, character creation, and art for computer games and XR applications. Her research interests focus on serious games and in particular the application of virtual, augmented, and mixed reality games and experiences as medical treatments.

Laura Søndergaard Isaksen

Laura Søndergaard Isaksen is a project manager and researcher of Animated Learning with an educational background in pedagogy and an M.A. in Philosophy of Education. She has been working with Animated Learning since 2016 on a variety of projects within film and media literacy and she has been teaching children, youngsters and teachers, pedagogues and students how to use animation in both creative and learning processes.

M. Javad Khajavi

M. Javad Khajavi is an award-winning multi-disciplinary designer, animator, developer, and researcher who works at the intersection of art, design, and technology. Javad made his first animation by writing a computer code in 1995 at the age of ten and has been interested in the intersection of art and tech since then. He is tech-savvy and whose works span several disciplines including 2D and 3D animation, game technology, and virtual reality. Currently, he is an associate professor at Volda University College in Norway where he leads the Animated Arts and Media Research Group. Previously, he was an assistant professor at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth. He is the founder of Fanoos Studio and Vertical Cosmos, and a graduate of Nanyang Technological University’s Ph.D. program in media arts + design in Singapore. He is deeply invested in interdisciplinary research approaches that are informed by practice-oriented research, design thinking, and analytical methods and tools in engineering.

Samantha Moore

Samantha Moore is a UK-based, international award-winning animation director. She loves the joyfulness and eclectic nature of animation. No one ever finds animation intimidating, and yet it can convey complex ideas to a wide audience in an engaging way. Sam has worked on diverse subjects, from competitive sweet-pea growing, to cutting edge microbiology, archaeology, neuroscience, and her own experience of having twins. Sam is currently working on a short animated magical realist fairy tale about dysentery, A Language of Shapes (2022) funded by a Wellcome Trust award and made in collaboration with the Mostowy microbiology lab at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Sam teaches part-time, as an Associate Professor in animation at University College Volda (Norway) as well as Senior Tutor (Research) in animation at the Royal College of Art (UK).