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Lishan Az is MICA’s Inaugural Game Designer-In-Residence

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Lishan Az is MICA’s Inaugural Game Designer-In-Residence

Lishan Az, the Inaugural Game Designer-In-Residence at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) will teach and create new projects during her residency


The Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) inaugural Game Designer-in-Residence Lishan AZ will research and design an interactive experience that connects Baltimore transit riders.


BALTIMORE, MARYLAND- The Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) has named Lishan AZ as its inaugural Game Designer-in-Residence. The newly launched residency program invites nationally recognized game designers to teach and research at MICA. MICA’s new B.F.A. in Game Design sponsors the residency program.

A recent graduate of the M.F.A. program in Interactive Media and Games at the University of Southern California, Lishan applied for the Game Designer-in-Residence because she saw it as an opportunity to grow her design practice as well as connect with the many communities of artists and designers at MICA and Baltimore at large. She notes, “I applied to MICA’s Game Designer-in-Residence position because it’s a unique opportunity to continue to grow my design practice while teaching what I love,” she said.

Lishan was selected for the new Game Designer-in-Residence based on unique background and exceptional reputation. Game Design Chair Jason Corace explains: “Lishan’s unique background working in tabletop, mixed reality, digital and community-based game projects highlights the diverse and powerful ways in which games can engage communities—which aligns closely with our program’s goals”.

Lishan AZ’s Design and Interactive Baltimore Transit Riders Project.

As the Game Designer-in-Residence, Lishan will spend a year on the MICA campus where she will work in the  Game Design program’s state-of-the-art Game Lab, part of MICA’s newest building, the Dolphin Design Center. In addition to working in the Game Design program at MICA, Lishan will also research and develop an interactive experience that connects passengers on Baltimore public transit through smart phone integration and low-cost physical materials, such as notebooks and playing cards.

Lishan’s interactive project is expected to solve a major problem for transit riders who often fall asleep during their long commute across town. Besides encouraging a playful intervention among commuters, there is the hope that it will empower players to interact with and develop a warmer and more social atmosphere on Baltimore’s public transit.

For her project, Lishan will be collaborating with the Maryland Transit Authority (MTA) and its riders.   One of the key elements of the project includes interactive journals tethered to rows of seats on a bus or train, which will prompt riders with a challenge or idea for creative self-expression, sharing opinions or interacting with content written by other passengers. Prototypes based on Lishan’s initial research have already been tested on the Los Angeles public transit system.

As part of residency duties, Lishan will give a talk about her work and research on Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2:30 – 3:30 p.m., at the Dolphin Design Center.

About Lishan AZ: MICA’s Inaugural Game Designer-In-Residence

A Silver Spring, Md. native, Lishan AZ is an award-winning designer. Lishan earned an M.F.A. in interactive media and game design from the University of Southern California, and a B.S. in computer science from Columbia University. A game designer and writer, her work explores Black women’s resistance, identity, and historical perspectives. In her work, she creates experiences that blend digital and non-digital play while inviting players to collaborate in shared spaces. Lishan’s M.F.A. thesis, Tracking Ida, is an escape room-style alternate reality game about Ida B. Wells’ crusade against lynching. The project was awarded the Best Gameplay award at Games for Change 2017. In 2017, Lishan was selected Forbes 30 under 30 in Gaming. In addition to Games for Change, she has exhibited work at IndieCade, LA Weekly‘s Artopia, Tokyo University and the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3).

Are you a student in MICA’s new B.F.A. in Game Design or an aspiring designer? Share your thoughts. Leave a comment. Follow us. Facebook– TwitterGoogle+

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