About

The bio of Susana Ruiz, Ph.D. Play Design, Digital Storytelling, Art Practice, Media Activism & Pedagogy. I am an Assistant Professor of film and digital media at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where I hold research, teaching, and service positions in several programs, including the Film and Digital Media Department, the Digital Arts and New Media Program, the Games and Playable Media Program, and the Social Documentation Program. I teach undergraduate and graduate courses in art and media production, history, and theory. I also teach and co-teach workshops from time to time for other non-academic audiences. I advise undergraduate, M.F.A. and Ph.D. students. I hold an M.F.A. from the Interactive Media and Games Division (IMGD) at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts (SCA). I also hold a Ph.D. from USC’s Media Arts + Practice Program (iMAP), which has the mission to empower scholar-practitioners in the interpretation and design of experiences to communicate effectively and ethically in a world of ubiquitous media.

My creative and scholarly work is concerned with how the intersection of art practice, playful design, and digital storytelling can enable new approaches to social activism, aesthetics, and public pedagogy. My work is collaborative, interdisciplinary, and takes the hybrid form of intertwined theory and practice. The cinematic and the playful drive my practice and the humanistic and the collaborative drive my process.
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media artist

With the launch of the multiple award-winning game Darfur is Dying, I co-founded Take Action Games, a studio that created linkages between gameplay and the histories and practices of documentary filmmaking and participatory culture. Take Action Games has garnered several awards, including the Games For Change Audience Award, the Adobe MAX Award for Social Responsibility, Honoree status in the Webby Award’s Activism Category, and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences prestigious Governors Award in collaboration with the MTV Networks' Sudan media campaign (the Emmy’s highest honor). My work has been reviewed in numerous academic venues and covered by press outlets such as National Public Radio, the New York Times, TIME magazine, the Washington Post, Gamasutra, Jezebel, and Mashable.

My interests include game-based learning; empathic, value-centric and participatory design; real world games for social activism; immersive design and storytelling; and the creative application of theories of social justice such as anti-oppression, narrative power analysis, and ethical spectacle.
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educator

As a first-generation middle school, high school, and college graduate, I was fortunate to attend and earn my B.F.A. from The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, an institution with a radically progressive history founded on the belief that advanced education should be free. It was here that my nascent interest in community building conceptually merged with art practice, media-making, and humanities scholarship, thereby laying a foundation for research into creative embodied approaches to social problems. I hold an M.F.A. from the Interactive Media and Games program at the University of Southern California. I also hold a Ph.D. from USC’s Media Arts + Practice program, which has the mission to empower scholar-practitioners in the interpretation and design of experiences to communicate effectively and ethically in a world of ubiquitous media. I am an Assistant Professor of film and digital media at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where I hold research, teaching, and service positions in several programs, including the Film and Digital Media Department, the Digital Arts and New Media Program, the Games and Playable Media Program, and the Social Documentation Program. I teach undergraduate and graduate courses in art and media production, history, and theory, as well as workshops for other audiences. I also advise M.F.A. and Ph.D. students.


Home page art by Sandra Cheng and Huy Truong; in homage of Christine and the Queens.