Dana Karwas

Industry Assistant Professor

Dana Karwas

Dana is an Industry Assistant Professor of Integrated Digital Media at NYU and runs her own arts-based research practice. 

Dana also served as Media Director of Maya Lin’s fifth and final memorial, What is Missing?, providing creative and operational execution on this worldwide, on-going project regarding climate change and endangered species. She continues to be an advisor on the memorial.

Since joining NYU full-time in 2012, Dana has helped build the IDM graduate program into a boutique digital media program that fosters creative practice, design research, and multidisciplinary experimentation with emerging media technologies. Each semester her design course (UX design or interaction design) takes on a client project to get students real-world experience to put in their portfolios. Past clients include NASA/JPL, MoMA PS1, Microsoft, the Hudson River Foundation, Gotham Space Agency, and others. 

Dana’s work has been shown at galleries, museums, and festivals including: the Federation of Canadian Artists’ Federation Gallery; The Helix Center NYC; The Caracas Contemporary Art Museum; The London Festival of Architecture; The Museum of the Moving Image; The Boston Museum of Science; The Chelsea Art Museum; Exit Art; and The DUMBO Arts Festival. Dana has also taught digital media courses at NYU's ITP, NYU's Courant Institute, at Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation, and at Harvestworks.

Dana holds a Bachelor of Architecture from the School of Architecture, Design, and Planning at the University of Kansas. She has an MPS from the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.

The University of Kansas, 2003
B.Arch, Architecture

New York University Tisch School of the Arts, 2005
Master of Professional Studies, Interactive Telecommunications

Each semester I run an experimental client design project for the graduate IDM students. This project is included as part of the curriculum for my special topics courses (Architecture or UX). The challenge and client are different every semester and the students have worked with arts organizations, government agencies and large tech companies. At the end of the project the students end up with a showcase piece for their portfolio and a network of industry connections. 

Design briefs and notable student work are linked below. 

NASA/JPL OPS Lab Challenge 
Students were tasked with designing a way for users (engineers and scientists) to navigate through Mars Rover model file hierarchy in Mixed Reality and figure out how to communicate the design to the JPL ProtoSpace team. For this project we worked directly with JPL Ops Lab team including Matthew Claussen, the Creative Director of Immersive Visualization at NASA/JPL and Marijke Jorritsma, a UX Designer at NASA JPL and a designer for the Ops Lab Human Interfaces Group. 

Student Project Documentation


Microsoft HoloLens Holographic Portfolio Challenge
The Holographic Portfolio: New Ways of Experiencing Artworks on the HoloLens. Students were asked to imagine a holographic portfolio that enables someone to experience and sense art works in a new way. For this challenge, students designed a proof of concept for a holographic portfolio that covers the end-to-end experience of an artist's portfolio to be viewed on the HoloLens. The challenge was not about creating an “artwork” for the HoloLens, but rather a way to interact with different works in mixed reality on the HoloLens. The approach to the challenge was based on the experience of a studio visit. The students worked directly with Nicholas Kamuda, Creative Director of Microsoft HoloLens and Joshua Walton, Principal Interaction Designer of Microsoft HoloLens.

Student Project Booklet: HelloLens
Student Project Booklet: MooR



Microsoft Inclusive Design Challenge
This challenge asked students to design a product, service, or solution to solve for exclusion in a deskless workspace.  They approached this by thinking about software, hardware, varying interaction modalities, AI & Cognitive augmentation, and/or, a physical workspace. The proposed designs were required to meet a clear need and be extensible to wider applications and were to imagine a future that puts human empathy at the design core. The students worked directly with Nick Katsivelos, Director Digital Advisory Services, Office of the CTO at Microsoft.

Student Project Booklet: Project CRAFT
After Completing the Microsoft Inclusive Design Challenge, Project Craft was selected as one of ten projects for the NYC Media Lab XR Startup Boot-camp program in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The team received a grant of $10,000 and will receive mentorship from leading media and technology executives and investors. 

Student Project Booklet: Soundbyte