Upcoming Panel Discussion: Information in Motion

This session will examine how animation and motion graphics can be used to visualize and explain data. Our speakers come from different backgrounds in animation, as well as journalism, science, and graphic design. See how the worlds of science and art collide when it comes to how we absorb data.

Our panelists will be:

Whitney Beer-Kerr, science producer at Pixeldust Studios. Whitney is a producer who specializes in science, education, and natural history. With a strong science and medical academic background, Whitney excels at communicating dense technical information to audiences at every level. At Pixeldust, Whitney manages a team of editors, writers, animators, and production coordinators. She writes, produces, develops, and directs visual effects for a wide range of non-profit, corporate, and scholarly projects. Her work for PBS, NOVA, and National Geographic has taken her from the tribal villages of Papua New Guinea to the bow of an Inuit whaling boat off the north coast of Alaska. Recent projects include Ancient Earth, a 3-part fully animated series about evolution and mass extinction from the Permian through the Cretaceous, and an animated video about what happens inside the brain of a person with Alzheimer’s Disease using the latest research from the NIH.

Donna Desmet, medical illustrator & animator at the Mayo Clinic. As a part of the Medical Illustration and Animation division of the Creative Media department, she collaborates with physicians, researchers, or other internal staff to create educational visuals for a variety of initiatives in service of the entire enterprise. Working independently or as a part of a team, Donna participates in all aspects of animation development: collaborating with clients, researching content, conceptualizing, script writing, and storyboard development, as well as animating. Before the Mayo, Donna spent 17 years developing visual medical content in New York, where she helped establish Jane Hurd Studios, which delivered educational and promotional medical animations for clients such as Novartis, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Merck, and Genentech.

Donna is a Professional Member of the Association of Medical Illustrators. She received her MA in Medical and Biological Illustration from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Josh Gunn, the founder of Planet Nutshell, a design studio that does animation for nonprofits, business, healthcare, and education. Some notable examples include shorts teaching kids about physics and Math for PBS Learning Media, a narrative for McLean Hospital to help people understand the symptoms of Bipolar Disorder, and an explanation of the “The Connected Economy” for the Harvard Business Review.

Josh began his career teaching creative writing at The University of Washington. He then worked at Amazon.com as a content producer, editor, and writer. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from The University of Washington and he received his BA in English from the Colorado College. In his spare time, he works as a journalist, short story writer, and essayist. His work has appeared in leading publications, including The Atlantic and Vox.com. He has also lectured at MIT on digital storytelling.


Please join us on March 30, 2017 from 12:00 noon to 1:30 PM in the James Branch Cabell Library Lecture Hall (Room 303). The event is free and open to the public, but please register. If you are a student interested in learning about the details of a career in animation – from collaborating with clients, researching content, conceptualizing, script writing, storyboard development, and animating production – stay for an informal session with our panelists for their insider insight at 2:00 PM in Room 205.

Parking is available for a fee in the West Broad StreetWest Main Street and West Cary Street parking decks. If special accommodations are needed or to register by phone, please call Gregory Kimbrell, events and programs coordinator, at (804) 828-0593 prior to March 30.

Upcoming panel discussion: Print+Web 1: Illustration, Typography, Graphic Design

At this latest installment of the Digital Pragmata series, panelists discuss the design and visual aspects of online publishing. What best practices are designers and artists establishing? What tensions exist between good graphic design and good web design?

Please join us on January 27 from 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM in the James Branch Cabell Library, Multipurpose Room (Room 250). The event is free and open to the public, but please register. Space is limited. Lunch will be provided. Parking is available for a fee in the West Broad StreetWest Main Street and West Cary Street parking decks. If special accommodations are needed or to register by phone, please call Gregory Kimbrell, events and programs coordinator, at (804) 828-0593 prior to January 25.

The Moderator:

Woolman_Matt_croppedMatt Woolman has developed a unique set of skills that combine creative thinking with a comprehensive understanding of entrepreneurship and enterprise across a range of disciplines. Currently, Matt is the Executive Director of Entrepreneurship in the Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts, where he operates the Center for the Creative Economy, a transformative model for higher education that prepares art and design students to lead their own careers and lives in innovative, entrepreneurial ways. As an independent producer, Matt has authored and co-authored ten books on such defining topics as motion design, music and the visual arts/design, and information visualization, including the internationally best-selling Type in Motion: Innovations in Digital Graphics. Matt also is a partner in CrossThink, LLC, which delivers programs in cross-disciplinary thinking to boost innovation performance. He has MFA and MBA degrees from Virginia Commonwealth University, and a BA degree from Oberlin College.

The Panelists:

LFranz_pict_croppedLaura Franz teaches a wide range of typographic content at UMass Dartmouth, from The Structure and History of Letterforms to Web Typography. Inspired by the intersection of tradition and technology, Laura shares her carefully tested web font recommendations on goodwebfonts.com. She also shares her typography knowledge via the book Typographic Web Design: How to Think Like a Typographer in HTML and CSS (Wiley); the online video course Typography for Web Designers (lynda.com); and the online video course Choosing and Using Web Fonts (lynda.com). A presenter at the 2012 HOW Magazine Interactive Design Conferences, she writes for SmashingMagazine.com and contributes to practice.Typekit.com. Laura holds an MDes in Communication Planning and Design from Carnegie Mellon University, and a BFA in Graphic Design from Western Michigan University.

mhuff-headshot_croppedMorgan Huff is a Senior Lead Developer at VCU University Relations. Since 1997, Morgan has worked at the intersection of design, development and strategy on dozens of digital projects. With a passion for psychology and human-computer interaction, he promotes solving customer needs through research and design thinking methods. Beyond VCU, Morgan is a co-organizer with Richmond UX, a 400+ member volunteer organization providing educational and social opportunities for professionals in Central Virginia to engage in the field of User Experience.

robm_croppedRobert Meganck is Professor of illustration, graphic design and digital imaging, Chair of the Department of Communication Arts at Virginia Commonwealth University. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Center for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Robert has received over 300 regional, national and international awards for illustration and graphic design work, and been recognized for excellence by such organizations as The Society of Illustrators New York, The Society of Illustrators Los Angeles, American Illustration and The Illustrators Club of Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia. His work has been included in a variety of national reviews including Communication Arts Magazine’s Illustration and Design Annuals, American Illustration Annuals, Print Magazine’s Regional Design Annuals, The Society of Illustrators Annuals, and 3×3 The Magazine of Contemporary Illustration. Matthew Porter of Communication Arts Magazine called Robert “A delightfully fuzzy-headed raconteur”. Style Weekly (September 5, 2007) named Robert Meganck one of Richmond’s top 25 most influential artists.