Jess Parris Westbrook (she/her) holds queer and feminist worldviews and studies forces at play in social landscapes, educational environments, and learning scenarios. She uses art and design to negotiate, translate, and organize the joys and struggles of complexity, information, and understanding.
Westbrook is an Associate Professor in the School of Design, College of Computing and Digital Media (CDM) at DePaul University (2016) where she has taught courses across the curriculum areas including UxD/HCI, Graphic Design, Games, and Digital Communication Media Arts. Her educational philosophy is focused on interdisciplinarity, creativity, critical technical practice, project-based learning, and self-determined learning.
Prior to joining DePaul’s School of Design, Westbrook was a tenured Associate Professor of Contemporary Practices and Art and Technology Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), Chicago, IL (2010-2016) where she also served as the Director of Technology Initiatives. Her first TT academic appointment was at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga where she was an Assistant Professor in both Graphic Design and Photography and Media Art. She spent her earliest career phase in web development and interactive design working for NTT DOCOMO/Verio.
Westbrook Co-Directs Divergent Design Lab (DDL), a research lab situated in DePaul's CDM. DDL focuses on emerging technology, user experience, and contemporary landscapes. Research involves cybersecurity, vulnerability, malware, social cognition, and social engineering. DDL has been awarded funding from the National Security Agency (NSA), has received invitations from the New Security Paradigms Workshop (an organization that focuses on work that challenges dominant approaches and perspectives), and has developed a model for Ambient Tactical Deception. more: www.divergentdesignlab.org
Westbrook Co-Directs Channel TWo (CH2), an award-winning Chicago-based studio. CH2 produces information experiences and critical playware. CH2 is interested in luck, levels, systems, and trespassing through the contexts of landscape, interactivity, data, and augmented reality. CH2 projects have been exhibited/screened in museums and galleries, nationally and internationally, and have been featured in Leonardo MIT Press Journals, Motherboard Vice, The Creators Project, Art Papers, The Intercept, and Media-N. CH2 work is included in permanent collections at the Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art at Cornell University, and The Kinsey Institute. CH2 apps have been distributed through The App Store and Google Play. Awards and commissions include a 2019 Media Archeology Lab (MAL) Residency at the University of Colorado, the 2017-18 AIGA DEC Research Grant for coding education, a 2015 National Science Foundation Subaward for creative computation research, the 2014 SPACES R+D Award for AR (augmented reality) creative research, a 2013 Sony Digital Media Academy Award for 3D and VR (virtual reality) equipment, a 2012 Rhizome.org Commission through the New Museum to launch the ARRAY Project and listserv, a 2011 Turbulence Net Art Commission through New Radio and Performing Arts, Inc., and a 2009 Terminal Net Art Commission. more: www.onchanneltwo.com
In addition to teaching and research, Westbrook is working on a PhD in Education (ABD 2020-21). Her areas of focus are educational research and learning sciences. Her research involves complexity theory, design, personal-learning environments and networks, affinity and knowledge-building, and learning-futures.
Westbrook studied photography and early digital media in the 1990s. In 1998 she received an MFA in Photography from Tyler School of Art and Architecture, Graphic Arts and Design, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA. In graduate school she held an RA/TA position, won a university project completion grant, and worked as a photographer for the Department of Radiology at Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia creating medical case studies for physicians. In 1996 she received a BFA in Photography from the University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL where she worked as a photographer and darkroom technician for the UCF Office of Instructional Resources and a digital editor at the Kodak Digital Imaging Processing Lab in the UCF Research Park.
select research presentations: AERA, AIGA, CAA, Center for Cognition and Neuroethics Mind and Brain Conference, Commiserate Chicago MADD Center University of Chicago, Dark Side of Digital UWM Center for 21st Century Studies and Center for Information Policy Research, DiGRA, DrupalCon, FATE, FemTechNet, GLI.TC/H, HASTAC, IEEE VIS, ISEA, ITI Think Tank, MACAA, Mobility Shifts at The New School, New Media Caucus, New Security Paradigms Workshop (NSPW), Northwestern University Ordinary Media Symposium, Processing Chicago, School of the Art Institute of Chicago Here and Now Series, SPE, University of Wisconsin Chazen Museum of Art, University of Chicago Alternate Realities and Virtual Worlds Series
select art/design exhibitions/screenings: Activatar iOS January feature 2018 on iTunes; Apexart, New York, NY; Arebyte, London, United Kingdom; The Banff Centre, Banff, Alberta, CA; Block Museum, Evanston, IL; BronxArtSpace, New York, NY; Butler Museum of American Art, Youngstown, OH; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA; Contemporary Art Museum (CAM), Raleigh, NC; Design Gallery, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA; Digital Arts Entertainment Lab (DAEL) Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA; Gallery 400, Chicago, IL; Gene Siskel Film Center, Chicago, IL; Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, IL; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; Hunter Museum of American Art, Chattanooga, TN; Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA; Miller Gallery, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA; MOCAD, Detroit, MI; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL; SPACES, Cleveland, OH; TypeForce 8, Chicago, IL; Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art, Chicago, IL
Design, Interactive Media, Education
AERA (American Educational Research Association), SREE (Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness)