CIFellows Spotlight highlights the work of the Computing Innovation Fellows (CIFellows) for the computing research community.
Minka Stoyanova began her CIFellowship in January 2021 after receiving her PhD from City University of Hong Kong in October 2019. Stoyanova is at University of Colorado Boulder working with Reece Auguiste, Associate Professor of Media, Communication and Information at UC Boulder.
My current research project is focused on how digital information technologies can be used to create embodied and affective experiences in urban environments. Specifically, the project is aimed at using mobile phone augmented reality technology and digital storytelling methods to situate historic and community narratives within urban environments.
Historic material held in museums and archives often becomes detached from the communities and the locations it represents. By bringing these materials back into these communities and spaces, communities can develop a stronger connection to their shared history as well as pride in their cultural past.
The barriers to entry for creating engaging locative media experiences are high for museums and cultural institutions that often do not have the funding or staff for cutting edge digital technology research. By creating a platform that streamlines the process of creating locative augmented reality experiences, I hope to lower those barriers to entry.
Drawing on archival imagery, sound, and ephemera held in museum collections, archives, and at cultural institutions, I will ultimately create an augmented reality application that allows the phone screen to become a window into a city’s cultural and geographic past. Through the creation of this application, I hope to build a platform that helps cultural institutions to easily curate and publish their own augmented reality experiences.
By creating a platform that allows cultural institutions to easily design and curate AR experiences for local contexts, this project both expands access to AR and forwards the integration of computer science, digital technologies, and computational thinking in the humanities (broadly).
In addition, in the wake of Covid-19, we recognize the importance of creating engaging outdoor spaces, particularly in urban environments. The proposed investigations activate urban spaces not simply towards traditionally outdoor activities (like sports), but towards the social goals of education and community development.
Finally, it is of particular importance today to highlight the historic achievements, contributions, and struggles of people of color. By focusing the first application on historically black neighborhoods in New Orleans, LA this project has the potential to celebrate and educate regarding the current and historic contributions of those residents. In addition, the project seeks to highlight and critique the ways that urban landscapes and communities can and have been transformed as a result of systemic racism.
My research is generally focused on Human Computer Interaction and Digital Media Studies (Cyborg studies). As an artist and academic, I am committed to bridging the gap between computation and the humanities, and to increasing technological literacy and access. As such, I work across the arts, technology, and community education/outreach.