Dylan Paré (they/them) is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Learning Sciences at the University of Calgary, Werklund School of Education. They are the Founder and Director of the Queer Code Collective (queercode.org), a design and research-based collective that designs, develops, and researches digital technologies and interactive art and storytelling with queer and trans experiences at the forefront.
Dylan co-designs virtual, immersive, and interactive computational environments for learning about complex systems, computational thinking, and technology design. Their primary research project reimagines computational and technoscientific literacies by interweaving complexity studies, scholarship on embodiment, and queer and trans phenomenology. Within this overarching research project, Dylan researches multi-agent systems’ design to demonstrate how interacting and reasoning with multi-agent simulations of gender and sexuality-based marginalization can help us understand gender and sexuality experiences as complex, emergent, multi-level phenomena that involve dynamic interactions between individuals, groups, and institutions. This research also investigates how innovations in STEM, such as virtual reality and 3D sculpting, can be leveraged to queer learning environments and can offer emancipatory spaces and opportunities for supporting complex reasoning about social, scientific, and technological problems in society.
The Queer Code Collective’s virtual reality project, Mementorium, won a 2021 Rosie Award for Best Narrative Game or Interactive Project from the Alberta Media Production Industries Association (AMPIA). Mementorium extends previous research and design work on complex systems and embodied learning to the medium of interactive narrative and immersive, spatial exploration of objects in VR. Mementorium is designed to support learning about how STEM identity is shaped by moments of social biases and injustices that have cumulative effects and emphasizes our agency to recognize past harms and imagine more just futures.
Dylan’s collaborative work has been exhibited at the National Music Centre of Canada, Beakerhead science and technology festival, TEDx Calgary, the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Calgary’s Spark Science Centre, and the 2021 ACM SIGGRAPH Immersive Pavilion. Their work has been recognized through prestigious scholarships and project funding in Canada and the US, such as the Elizabeth Cannon Graduate Scholarship in Entrepreneurial Thinking, Alberta Innovates (Technology) Scholarship, a Paul D. Fleck Fellowship from the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Oculus Launch Pad, and TELUS Storyhive.
Dylan was an invited speaker at the 2021 International Immersive Learning Research Network (iLRN) Conference, the 2019 Alberta Media Production Industries Association (AMPIA) and Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity’s Story Studio panel on Cultural Diversity and Creative Storytelling, as well as an invited speaker at the 2020 Educators in VR International Summit where they presented on gender and sexual diversity in virtual reality.
Dylan also runs a weekly live stream from VRChat with the Better Together VR crew, who explore virtual worlds and comment on artistic, technological, and societal aspects of design in social VR. The team also released an interactive, experiential learning, VRChat world called NASA Perseverance Rover on Mars, where visitors journey to Mars, the fourth planet from the sun, and experience its otherworldly, red terrain as they drive an accurate model of the NASA Perseverance Rover and discover information about the NASA Perseverance mission.
Dylan previously worked as an educational consultant in gender and sexuality for workplace and community settings, and in post-secondary student services for gender and sexual diversity, healthy relationships, and sexual health education. They hold a Master of Arts in Communication and Culture and a Bachelor of Arts in Women’s Studies, in which they were also awarded the Governor General’s Silver Medallion in Women’s Studies.