KMDI-Semaphore acknowledges that it has many supportive members. If your name is not on the list below; your short bio is missing or inaccurate, please email us at

Lab heads

Kids Play Tech Lab: Dr. Sara Grimes

Dr. Sara M. Grimes is Director of the Knowledge Media Design Institute (KMDI) and Director of Semaphore at the University of Toronto. Her research and teaching are centred in the areas of children’s digital media culture(s) and critical theories of technology, with a focus on digital games. Her published work explores the commercialization of children’s play culture and creative expression, discussions of intellectual property and fair dealing in child-specific digital environments, as well as the legal and ethical dimensions of marketing to children online. Recent publications appear in the journals Games and Culture, Cultural Studies, Journal of Consumer Culture, and Science Technology & Human Values. She is the author of Digital playgrounds: The hidden politics of children’s online pay spaces, virtual worlds and digital games (In press).

Community outreach forms a core part of Dr. Grimes’s professional practice, and she regularly speaks at media/cultural industry conferences, participates in policy consultations, and engages in community outreach. Most recently, she was Principal Investigator of cross-sector collaboration called the Kids DIY Media Partnership, which identified opportunities and challenges associated with children’s “do-it-yourself” media platforms.

Professor Grimes has a PhD in Communication from Simon Fraser University, and is Associate Professor of Children’s New Media and Literature at the Faculty of Information, University of Toronto.

Critical Making Lab: Dr. Matt Ratto

Dr. Matt Ratto is Associate Professor with the Faculty of Information, and the newly appointed holder of the Bell University Laboratories (BUL) Chair in Human-Computer Interaction. He is also Chief Science Officer of Nia Technologies, a non-profit social enterprise aimed at using 3D printing technologies to help improve the lives of people with disabilities in developing countries. Previously, Dr. Ratto created and ran ThingTank, a collaborative project between private, non-profit, and academic partners working collectively on the then-new Internet of Things. He was co-founder and Director of the Semaphore Research Cluster from 2011-2018.

Widely known as an expert on 3D printing and digital fabrication, Dr. Ratto’s academic work first and foremost centers on the notion of “critical making,” a term he uses to describe the making of material objects as a means of engaging with both the practical and theoretical. It forms the basis of his Critical Making Lab, housed at Semaphore, and is discussed in his many journal articles, conference papers, chapters, and his upcoming book (provisionally) entitled Critical Making.

Professor Ratto received his PhD from the University of California, San Diego, completed a 2 year post-doc at the Netherlands Institute for Scientific Information (NIWI), and received a research fellowship at the HUMlab, an innovative digital humanities laboratory located at the University of Umea, Sweden.

Technoscience Research Unit: Dr. Michelle Murphy & Kristen Bos

Dr. Michelle Murphy is a feminist technoscience studies scholar and historian of the recent past who theorizes and researches about the politics of technoscience; decolonial approaches to environmental justice; sexed, raced, and queer life; reproductive justice; infrastructures; and critiques of racial capitalism and particularly in contemporary, settler colonial, cold war, and postcolonial conjunctures associated with Canada and United States, and more recently Bangladesh.

Dr. Murphy is the author of The Economization of Life (Duke University Press 2017), Seizing the Means of Reproduction: Feminism, Health and Technoscience (Duke University Press, 2012) and Sick Building Syndrome: Environmental Politics, Technoscience, and Women Workers (Duke University Press 2006). She is the 2019 winner of the Fleck Prize from the Society for the Social Studies of Science (4S).

Professor Murphy is Red River Métis from Winnipeg.  She has a PhD in History of Science from Harvard University and is Professor of History and Women and Gender Studies at the University of Toronto.

Kristen Bos is an Assistant Professor of Indigenous Science and Technology Studies in the Historical Studies Department at the University of Toronto Mississauga, and the Women and Gender Studies Institute at the University of Toronto. She is an Indigenous feminist researcher trained in archaeological approaches to material culture as well as an Indigenous science and technology studies (STS) researcher, who is concerned with the relationship between colonial, gendered, and environmental violence. Professor Bos is an urban Métis based in Toronto, but her homeland is in northern Alberta where the prairie transitions into the boreal forest. Kristen is the Co-Director of the Technoscience Research Unit.


STREET Lab: Dr. Priyank Chandra 

The Socio-Technical ResistancE and Ethical Technologies (STREET) Lab is an interdisciplinary research collective at the Faculty of Information, University of Toronto, and housed at the Knowledge Media Design Institute (KMDI). The lab focuses on understanding and supporting the sociotechnical practices of marginalized communities worldwide, with an emphasis on resistance, informality, and social justice. Current projects are centered around accessibility, social movements, and worker communities. Our research is situated within the fields of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) and draws from Science & Technology Studies (STS), Development Studies, Political Science, Feminist and Queer theories, Postcolonial Studies, and Critical Theory.


KMDI Executive Committee

Ishtiaque Ahmed, professor in the Dept. of Computer Science (UTSG) and Director of the Third Space Research Group

Syed Ishtiaque Ahmed is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the University of Toronto, with a courtesy appointment at the Faculty of Information and the School of Environment. He leads the “Third Space” research group focusing on studying and building technologies with marginalized communities. He is also a Faculty Fellow at the Schwartz Reisman Institute for Technology and Society, and a Senior Fellow at Massey College. He is a steering committee member of UofT’s Sustainable Development Goals institutional strategic initiative, and a member of the Presidential International Council in the Indian subcontinent. Ahmed was born and raised in Bangladesh, and obtained his Master’s and Ph.D. degrees at Cornell University in the USA. He has published more than 100 peer-reviewed articles in top Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) venues and won multiple accolades. His research has been funded by all three divisions of Canada’s federal tri-council research agency: NSERC, CIHR, and SSHRC, and several industry partners, including Google, Meta (Facebook), and Microsoft. Ahmed is a Fulbright Science and Technology Fellow, a Connaught Scholar, and an OpenStreetMap Scholar. In 2019, he was recognized as one of the four “Centennial Fulbright Fellows” worldwide for his contribution to social and environmental justice. 

Kristen Bos, professor in Indigenous Science and Technology Studies, Historical Studies Dept  (UTM) and Co-Director of the Technoscience Research Unit

Mark Campbell, professor in the Dept. of Arts, Culture and Media (UTSC) and author of Afrosonic Life (Bloomsbury, 2022)

Sara Grimes – Faculty of Information, Associate Professor, Director of KMDI-Semaphore (Chair)

Patrick Keilty, professor in the Faculty of Information (UTSG) and Interim Director of the GLAM Incubator

Patrick Keilty is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Information. Professor Keilty’s research interests can be divided into two areas: the politics of digital infrastructures in the sex industries and the materiality of sexual media. He has published on embodiment and technology, data science, the history of information retrieval, archives, design and experience, graphic design, temporality, and sexual taxonomies. His work spans visual culture, sexual politics, science and technology studies, media studies, information studies, political economy, critical theory, and theories of gender, sexuality, and race.

His research projects “Sexy Data” and “Sexual Representation Collection” are generously supported by grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). In addition, he is Co-Investigator on “Archive/ Counter-Archive,” also funded through SSHRC. His forthcoming edited volumes include Queer Data (University of Washington Press) and Handbook of Adult Film and Media (Intellect). He is editor of Feminist & Queer Information Studies Reader (Litwin 2013). Professor Keilty holds a PhD in Information Studies, concentration in Women’s Studies (now Gender Studies), from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Scott Richmond, professor in the Dept. of Cinema and Digital Media (UTSG) and Director of the Centre for Culture & Technology

Scott Richmond’s teaching and research lie at the intersection of film studies and media theory, focusing on the history, theory, and aesthetics of screen-based media. He regularly teaches courses in digital media studies, avant-garde film and video, and the history and theory of the moving image.

Before coming to the University of Toronto, he received an AB with Honours in Modern Culture and Media from Brown University and a PhD in Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago, and taught film and media studies for six years in the department of English at Wayne State University in Detroit.


KMD Collaborative Specialization Committee

  • Sara Grimes, Faculty of Information, Associate Professor, Director of KMDI.
  • Mary Elizabeth Luka, Faculty of Information, Director of KMD Collaborative Specialization (Chair).
  • Clare Brett, OISE, Chair of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning.
  • Liat Margolis, Daniels Faculty, Director of Landscape Architecture.
  • Patrick Keilty, Faculty of Information, Assistant Professor.
  • Costis Dallas, Faculty of Information, Museum Study.
  • Joseph Ferenbok, Director of Translational Research Program.
  • Antje Budde, Drama, Associate Director Graduate Studies (on sabbatical).
  • Mark Chignell, Mechanical & Industrial Engineering, Professor, Former KMDI Director.

KMDI Fellow

Nina Czegledy, artist, new media art curator and writer

Nina Czegledy is an artist, curator, and educator, and works internationally on collaborative art & science & technology projects. The paradigm shifts in the arts as well as the changing perception of the human body and its environment inform her projects. She has exhibited and published widely, won awards for her artwork and has initiated, lead and participated in forums and festivals worldwide. Czegledy developed and co-organized over twenty-five international educational forums and workshops in the last ten years.

KMDI-Semaphore Current Students

Students of the Collaborative Specialization in Knowledge Media Design automatically become members of the KMDI-Semaphore upon acceptance into the CS. If you are a current KMD student and would like to be listed here, please contact our Administrative Coordinator Rekha Morbia (

Anna Kalinowski, PhD Candidate

Anna Kalinowski is a PhD student at the Faculty of Information.  Her research is concerned with death in video games as a form of time travel, due to the ‘die and retry’ mechanic many games employ.  She received her MA in Cinema and Media studies at York University, and previously studied Fine Arts at OCAD University.


Allen Kempton, PhD Candidate

Allen Kempton is a PhD student at the Faculty of Information. His area of interest focuses on the intersection of digital communication technologies and theories of play and game. Allen’s research currently focuses on the development of meta-play via information communication technologies and how globally developed practiced influence local digital gaming play practices of Pokemon players in Durham Region.


Maggie, PhD Candidate

Maggie is a PhD student at the Faculty of Information. Her doctoral project looks to pornography platforms, using digital methods to shed light on the organizational tactics of free porn tubesites.  Maggie’s thesis research at Concordia University focused on the user experience of PornHub, where she also approached deepfake porn as a vehicle for moral panic.

Follow Maggie’s work on twitter: @internetmaggie .


Curtis McCord, PhD Candidate

Curtis McCord is currently a PhD student at the Faculty of Information, generally nondisciplinary scholar focused on democratic socio-technical infrastructures, participatory design of community/civic technology, and how these types of political and social activity relate to transformative sustainability and social change. Previously, Curtis’ studies included a B.A. in Philosophy and Political Science, and an MI in information systems design, and a thesis focused on reading values in the design of online consultation systems run by governments. Currently favoured techniques include qualitative data collection with frames from critical systems thinking, science and technology studies, and communications.


Dawn Walker, PhD Candidate

Dawn Walker is a PhD student at the Faculty of Information. Her research focuses on participation in civic technology and design practices. She completed her Master’s of Information at the University of Toronto in 2016. Her previous research includes co-design to investigate how community mapping increases participation in urban agriculture. Dawn also hold an Honours Bachelor of Arts with Distinction in Philosophy and History.


Yaxi Zhao, PhD Candidate

Yaxi Zhao is a PhD student at the Faculty of Information. Her research focuses on user experience in augmented reality (AR) environments and particularly users’ cognition, emotions, and behaviors. Yaxi holds an M.A. in educational Psychology and a B.Sc. in Psychology.

Contact Yaxi: yaxi[dot]zhao[at]mail[dot]utoronto[dot]ca


Distinguished KMDI Alumni

Prof. Ron Baecker

Professor Ron Baecker is the founder of Knowledge Media Design Institute (KMDI) and an Emeritus Professor of Computer Science, Emeritus Bell Chair in Human-Computer Interaction, and founder and director of the Technologies for Aging Gracefully lab (TAGlab) at the University of Toronto. He has been named one of the 60 Pioneers of Computer Graphics by ACM SIGGRAPH, has been elected to the CHI (Computers and Human Interaction) Academy by ACM SIGCHI, has been given the Canadian Human Computer Communications Society Achievement Award, has been named an ACM Fellow, and was recently given a Canadian Digital Media Pioneer Award.
Prof. Ron Baecker’s personal webpage and Wikipedia page.


Prof. Bill Buxton

Prof. Bill Buxton is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Toronto, a principal research at Microsoft Research was a Visiting Professor at KMDI. He is known to be one of the pioneers of the field of human-computer interaction and an advocate for incorporating user-centered design into the making of technology.
Prof. Bill Buxton’s personal website and Wikipedia page.


Prof. Andrew Clement

Prof. Andrew Clement is a Professor Emeritus at the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto. His research and teaching interests are in the social implications of information/communications technology and human-centred systems development.
Prof. Andrew Clement webpage.


Prof. Steve Mann

Professor Steve Mann (PhD, MIT ’97), widely regarded as the Father of Wearable Computing, is an inventor best known for his work in wearable computing, augmented reality, and the invention of HDR (high dynamic range) imaging. Mann is a tenured full professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Toronto and General Chair of the IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society.
Prof. Steve Mann Wikipedia page.


Ast. Prof. Hervé Saint-Louis

Hervé Saint-Louis is assistant professor of emerging media at Université du Québec à Chicoutimi. He researches human-computer interaction and information policy. Saint-Louis is also a cartoonist.


Prof. Dominique Scheffel-Dunand

Dominique Scheffel-Dunand has a Ph.D. in Linguistics from Lyon (France) and is a LLM candidate at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of French Studies at York University. At the University of Toronto, she was the Director of the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology and was involved for more than ten years in the Knowledge Media Design Institute as a member of the Steering Committee and as a Research Fellow.
Prof. Dominique Scheffel-Dunand webpage.


Prof. Lucy Suchman

Prof. Lucy Suchman is a Professor of Sociology at Lancaster University was KMDI’s first scholar and Visiting Professor in 2002. Her research interests are within the field of feminist science and technology studies are focused on technological imaginaries and material practices of technology design, particularly developments at the interface of bodies and machines.
Prof. Lucy Suchman webpage and Wikipedia page.


Prof. Marilyn Tremaine

Prof. Marilyn Tremaine is a Research Professor at Rutgers University and was previously a Professor in the Computer Science Department at the University of Toronto. Dr. Tremaine co-founded ACM-SIGCHI and has served as SIGCHI’s Vice-President of Communications, Vice-President of Finance, Vice-President of Conference Planning and most recently, President of SIGCHI.
Prof. Marilyn Tremaine Wikipedia page.


Prof. Barry Wellman

Professor Barry Wellman studies networks: community, communication, computer, and social. His research examines virtual community, the virtual workplace, social support, community, kinship, friendship, and social network theory and methods. He is the co-author of the prize-winning “Networked: The New Social Operating System”.
Prof. Barry Wellman Wikipedia page.

Distinguished Semaphore Alumni

Nina Czegledy
Mike Doell
Arlete dos Santos
Adam Dube
Alison Harvey
Issac Record
Jon Remedios
Pierre Seguin
Susan Sim
Chris Young