Development of Story, Worlds + Speculative Design Lab

Center For Emerging Media Arts

Faculty Advisor
Ash E. Smith
Contact Email
Start Date
Paid or Volunteer
Paid by UCARE funding
Paid Rate
May begin immediately for hourly wage, UCARE funding begins June 1
Hours Per Week
20/week in summer; 10/week in academic year
Acceptable Undergraduate Majors
Open to all majors

Seeking an interdisciplinary cohort of undergraduate researchers, designers, coders, thinkers, innovators and creative makers. Join this unique opportunity to be a founding member of this new lab within the Center for Emerging Media Arts on the UNL campus.

Story, Worlds + Speculative Design Lab is seeking 3+ undergraduates for the 2020-2021 academic year, summer and beyond. The ideal candidates will have a strong interest in interdisciplinary research and projects that will take place in-between the arts, sciences, emerging technology, architecture, design, engineering, computer science, and environmental studies.  *No prior experience with art-making required.

 This lab will imagine and builds future worlds that we can experience in the present moment and be an incubator for creativity and innovation research. We will use interdisciplinary strategies that explore how storytelling, fiction, play, futuring, worldbuilding, and social re-imagining can shape reality.  We already have several exciting projects in the pipeline and looking for people who want to join the team!

 Future project examples: 

  • Build a new app for telling Stories
  • Work with rural communities and technology companies to create new solutions to create and shape the future
  • Explore automation and mobility in the rural-urban divide globally
  • Design products and wearables-fashion+ tech with biofeedback (ie diabetes wearable)
  • Design interactive games (analog and digital)
  • Make films
  • Create a think tank/ design-hack-a-thon with local community partner to reimagine Lincoln/Nebraska
  • Work in between nature-ecosystems and technology (food, water, energy)  and consider intersection of data infrastructure and the environment
  • Design immersive and experiential experiences (ie w/ with Lincoln Calling-Innovation and Music festival)
  • Design simulation experiences with mixed reality + AR/VR)

 Qualifications of successful member of our lab:

  • A great communicator, can say Yes...And! to idea brainstorming, self-guided yet a team player
  • Interested in navigating in between asking questions, solving problems and creating fun entertaining experiences
  • Interested in humor and play as a powerful device
  • Interested in systems thinking and the function of fiction.

Because this is a call for an interdisciplinary cohort the skills and platforms may vary with each applicant and are flexible (this is not an exhaustive list) but may look something like:

  • Computer Science: developer with experience using various programming languages that may include: JavaScript (D3.js library, jQuery framework, Basic PHP python, Unity, processing, machine learning, AI and app mock-up/development
  • EMA, Art, Design, Theater: storytelling, performance,  prop fabrication, costume/wearable design, sculpture, web and graphic design, Adobe Creative Suite + film editing, graphic and visual effects, game design or animation, projection mapping
  • Architecture: materials, construction, interior/immersive design, biophilia, place/context, creating models
  • Business: Innovation + Entrepreneurship + Creativity and establishing community partnerships Sciences + Environmental Studies: ecosystems, Biology, Chemistry, Medicine/Health (w/ interest in Speculative), Data + GIS
  • Engineering: designing and building solutions across electrical, mechanical, structural or computational systems
  • Sociology et al: systems thinking and more


 1) May begin immediately for an hourly wage (please specify if you are a Work-Study student)

 2) Summer 2020 from May-August (20 hrs/wk)

3) August 2020 - April 2021 for Academic Year 2020-2021 (10 hrs/wk)

Compensation: May begin immediately for an hourly wage, UCARE funding begins June 1. Payment through UCARE funding

Hours per week: flexible, according to your schedule

To be considered for an interview, send an email summarizing your interest, experience, and skills/proficiencies with a brief resume/CV to Ash Eliza Smith at Applications will be accepted until the position(s) are filled.

Back to Research Opportunities