Brenda Laurel

Independent Scholar & Consultant; Founder of the Graduate Design Program at California College of the Arts

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San Francisco, CA, USA

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Brenda Laurel is a pioneering writer, researcher, designer and entrepreneur in the fields of human-computer interaction, interactive narrative and cultural aspects of technology (see also Game Studies).

Laurel received an MFA in 1975, and later a Ph.D. in 1986, in theater from Ohio State University. Her doctoral dissertation proposed an architecture for computer-based interactive fictions. This idea formed the basis for her 1991 book Computers as Theatre, a seminal work in the field of human-computer interaction. She was also a magna cum laude of DePauw University upon receiving her BA in Speech and Theatre in 1972.

In the 1980s, Laurel worked as a designer and researcher at CyberVision, Atari and Activision. In 1990, with Scott Fisher, she founded Telepresence Research, a research and development company specializing in virtual reality and remote presence.

In 1985, Laurel was prominently featured in Howard Rheingolds book Tools for Thought, chapter 12: Brenda and the Future Squad.

In 1992 Laurel began a four year gender and technology project with Interval Research Corporation. This led to the 1996 spin-off company Purple Moon, dedicated to producing software and other media targeted at pre-teen girls. Purple Moon was acquired by Mattel in 1999. Laurel wrote a book about that experience entitled Utopian Entrepreneur.

Between 1999 and 2006, Laurel was chair of the Media Design Program at the Art Center College of Design, and from 2005 to 2006, a distinguished engineer at Sun Microsystems. Laurel was appointed chair of the MFA Program in Design at California College of the Arts (CCA) in September 2006. She has two daughters (eldest is artist Hilary Hulteen, whose godfather is a longtime friend, the late counterculture icon Timothy Leary) and a stepdaughter. She lives in the Santa Cruz Mountains with her husband Rob Tow.

In addition to public speaking and consulting, she is a member of the boards of advisors of several companies and organizations, including Cheskin, the Communication Research Institute (Australia), and the Comparative Media Studies program at MIT.

She is active in the digital storytelling movement, the game design community (IGDA), AIGA, and the ACM.

Once you have submitted your booking request, our booking agents will work on our behalf to book Brenda Laurel, but in the occasion he is unavailable our team will provide you a roster of other business speakers that can deliver a keynote or make a guest appearance at your event. Our goal is to align you with a speaker like Brenda Laurel that will make your event unforgettable.

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