avatar for Francesca Marie Smith

Francesca Marie Smith

University of Southern California/Annenberg Innovation Lab/Niantic/Ground Zero P
Research Fellow/Creative Swiss Army Knife
Los Angeles, CA
Drawing on over 25 years of experience in the entertainment industry and in academia, Francesca explores the past, present, and future of storytelling, including the ways technology interfaces with imagination. Currently, she designs and consults with major studios and media companies (including Niantic, the former Google startup that created the mobile ARG Ingress), while also working as a research fellow at USC’s Annenberg Innovation Lab, a “think-and-do tank” focused on media, technology, and culture. Her academic background ranges from linguistics, rhetoric, and (dis)ability to drama, dance, and transmedia storytelling, all of which has inspired a perspective that is equal parts analysis, artistry, and something like what Henry Jenkins calls critical utopianism–imagining the best possible worlds and then investigating what it would take to get there.