XRts Immersive Media Fellowship™

XRts Immersive Media Fellowship™

Supporting diverse artists, technologists and designers to drive change through immersive experiences.

The XRts Immersive Media Fellowship aims to facilitate and help disseminate work by artists whose experiences are commensurate with the challenges that face BIPOC students, early career artists and entrepreneurs in emerging media and extended reality (XR). The fellowship is co-run by the Herberger Institute and ASU Gammage and supported by the New American Council for Arts and Design.

Learn more about other XRts program at the Herberger Institute at xrts.asu.edu

Vision and goals

The fellowship

The XRts Immersive Media Fellowship facilitates work on projects by emerging diverse creators in the field of extended reality or emerging media who seek to deepen their work with an expanded pool of resources and student and expert faculty assistance and by established creators in another form or medium seeking to develop work in emerging media/extended reality forms with expert guidance and student assistance. Our current cohort of fellows has a focus in the area of performing arts and other forms of integrating live performance into XR forms.

Ongoing projects by fellows are supported through:

  • A $35,000–70,000 stipend (determined based on scale of project and time spent in residency) and support for housing and travel. It is not expected the fellowship constitute all or even a majority of the fellow's professional activity for the year.
  • $25,000–50,000 project support fund.
  • Access to resources across three physical locations:
    • Media and Immersive eXperience (MIX) Center in Mesa, Arizona, with soundstages, screening theaters, enhanced immersion studio, motion/volumetric capture, virtual production, computing labs, recording studios, prototyping/fabrication labs and more.
    • ASU California Center, home of the Narrative and Emerging Media program, with virtual production volume, computing labs, event space and more.
    • ASU Tempe Campus with the Immersive Creation Studio, ASU Cultural Affairs/ASU Gammage, Dreamscape development pods, fabrication labs, motion capture and more.
  • Support from a team of graduate and upper division undergraduate students.
  • Faculty consultations in almost any field and discipline.
  • Access to the vast research advancement resources at ASU, including resources for grantwriting and technology transfer.
  • A communications and public awareness campaign.
  • Network development assistance, especially in terms of growing connections with producers, presenters, funders and venues across the country and world for further dissemination and distribution of the work.
  • A produced final showcase or pilot with press and a website.

All individuals are able to apply and participate in our programs and events without regard to race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, disability, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Current fellows

martha mendizabal

Martha Mendizabal

Martha Mendizabal, JD, is an advocate for an XR media landscape that is diverse and representative of our society. Mendizabal's work synthesizes her experience in diverse fields — the legal profession, finance and emerging technology — to spearhead high visibility initiatives and projects that help shape the access, equity and inclusion to XR knowledge, equipment and content creation across diverse communities. While working as an institutional equity sales trader in Wall Street, she leveraged her analytical capabilities to uncover emerging opportunities, forecasting changing market conditions and developing effective action plans. During this time she saw the future societal and economic implications of XR tools and emerging technology on the national and international scale. Utilizing personal funds, she co-launched the nonprofit TecnoLatinx with the mission to foster economic empowerment through early exposure to XR tools and emerging technology. She approaches her work in XR with a clear mission to educate and inspire a community of explorers and creators leveraging the latest XR tools in VR/AR/virtual production and computer-based fabrication. Over the past five years her work intersects storytelling, XR education/exposure and social justice. Supported by ASU’s XRts Immersive Media Fellowship, Mendizabal's grassroots work is based out of the ASU California Center, located in downtown Los Angeles and home of the Narrative and Emerging Media program. As an XRts fellow she also has access to the state-of-the-art facilities at ASU’s Media and Immersive eXperience (MIX) Center, in Mesa Arizona, where her team has traveled to learn, be inspired and share their work with local high school students, community artists and ASU’s technologists. Mendizabal's XRts fellow project will culminate in a location-based event that will inspire creativity and critical thinking and result in project-based learning that leverages spatial computing and 3D real-time game engines, uniquely blending education and recreation while also connecting local underserved communities to the creative industries in Los Angeles and at the MIX Center.  Prior to delving into the world of XR and emerging technology, Mendizabal received her BA in Latin American Studies from UCLA and her Juris Doctor from the University of California Hastings School of Law. She also traded derivatives at the world’s largest broker-dealer, ICAP, Ltd. She has worked to bring awareness of technology and technology equipment to underserved communities in the United States and Latin America since her college days, when she volunteered to refurbish donated PCs. 

sian proctor

Sian Proctor

Sian Proctor is a geoscientist, explorer, space artist and astronaut. She is the CEO of Space2inspire and founder of The Proctor Foundation for Art and Science and The J.E.D.I. Space Foundation. She was the mission pilot for SpaceX Inspiration4, the first all-civilian orbital mission. She is the first African American woman to pilot a spacecraft, the first African American commercial astronaut and the first African American to paint in space. She is also one of The Explorer’s Club 50: Fifty People Changing the World. Her motto is called Space2inspire where she encourages people to use their unique, one-of-a-kind strengths, and passion to inspire those within their reach and beyond. She believes that we need to actively strive for a JEDI Space: a just, equitable, diverse and inclusive space as we advance human spaceflight. She uses her Afrofuturism space art to encourage conversations about women of color in the space industry. She’s also an analog astronaut and has completed four analog missions, including the all-female SENSORIA Mars 2020 mission at the Hawai’i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) Habitat, the NASA funded four-month Mars mission at HI-SEAS, a two-week Mars mission at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS), and a two-week Moon mission in the LunAres Habitat. She believes that when we solve for space, we also solve issues on Earth, and she promotes the adoption of space technology to issues such as food waste and climate change. She has a TEDx talk called Eat Like a Martian and published the Meals for Mars Cookbook. Proctor was a finalist for the 2009 NASA Astronaut Program and got down to the yes/no phone call, which came from astronaut Sunita Williams. She is an international speaker who enjoys engaging in educational outreach. She is a continuing NASA Solar System Ambassador and serves on the Explore Mars Board of Directors and Voyager Space Holdings Advisory Board. She is also the vice president of education at Star Harbor, a startup space flight training academy. In 2019, she was the science communication outreach officer on the JOIDES Resolution Expedition 383 and spent two months at sea with researchers investigating the dynamics of the Antarctic circumpolar current. She also participated in the two-week faculty development seminar Exploring Urban Sustainability in India. She was a 2017 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Teacher at Sea, a 2016 Astronomy in Chile Educator Ambassador (ACEAP) and a 2014 PolarTRECTeacher investigating climate change in Barrow, Alaska. She is a Major in the Civil Air Patrol and serves as a member of the Arizona Wing Aerospace Education Officer. Proctor has been a geoscience professor for over 20 years, teaching geology, sustainability and planetary science at South Mountain Community College in Phoenix, Arizona. She is currently the Astronaut in Residence for the Maricopa Community Colleges. She has a BS in Environmental Science, an MS in Geology and a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction: Science Education. She did her 2019-20 sabbatical at Arizona State University’s Center for Education Through Exploration creating virtual field trips. She did her 2012-13 sabbatical at the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Emergency Management Institute developing their science of disasters curriculum. She has appeared in multiple international science shows and is currently on A World Without NASA and Strange Evidence. Proctor is an XRts Immersive Media Fellow at ASU's Media and Immersive eXperience (MIX) Center in Mesa, Arizona. Her fellowship project is creating an immersive virtual reality experience around her trip to space and experiencing the Overview Effect. The intended final product will consist of a virtual spaceship set in the near future and presents a utopian look at a future Earth worth striving for. There is also an additional component of an immersive live performance encompassing both augmented and virtual reality. It is narrated by Proctor with music score by Mary Liz “Annu” Bender. The main goal of this project is to ensure that everyone gets the opportunity to experience this connection to our planet — “The future of humanity depends on it.”

sultan sharrief

Sultan Sharrief

Sultan Sharrief is a trans-media activist, filmmaker and XR designer. He holds a BA in Film from University of Michigan, an MS in Comparative Media from MIT, and is a PhD candidate in Media Arts & Practice at USC. His directorial debut feature film, "Bilal’s Stand," premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, and he has since produced four additional feature films and a TV program. His youth media program Street Cred was a four-year sponsored project with Allied Media Projects in Detroit. In 2018 he founded the Quasar Lab at MIT, an institutional-hacking research lab that uses disruptive community organizing as a strategy for futurist design. Through the XRts Fellowship, Sultan intends to expand the Quasar Lab by developing an XR storytelling platform through which the lab’s component projects will be implemented. These projects include "Nsesa,The Balance,'' which tells the story of the birth of the Ashanti Kingdom in Ghana; “SCi*52,” an interactive documentary covering seven years of community organizing in Detroit; “Al Ma’un The Mobile Mosque,” which covers community organizing with the L.A. unhoused community during Covid; and "Black (W)hole," an interactive augmented reality data visualization musical which takes place inside his DNA.


ASU advisory panel

Interested in graduate degrees related to XRts?