About Us

Easter 1916



Hadrian’s Villa

Bernard Frischer

John Fillwalk


David Germano


Christopher Johanson

Virtual World Platform

John Fillwalk (IDIA Lab)

Chris Collins

John De Mott

Schreibman (PI) will manage the 1916 Project; supervise staff in Dublin as well as liaise with KCL staff; work with external consultants and Advisory Board, research and encode textual components of project work.
Denard (Co-PI) will liaise closely with Schreibman, Consultant A. Kearney, the Researcher (TCD) and KVL colleagues Baker and Blazeby to ensure that research questions and methods are integrated in a fully coherent manner, and that the process of inquiry is documented and published in compliance with best practice as represented by the “London Charter”; to explore the implications, for research and scholarly publication of the project’s methods and outcomes; and to contribute to print publications.
The TCD Researcher will work under the direction of the PI, in consultation with KCL team, to: identify and encode primary sources; implement in-world simulation scenarios; plan and run and final symposium; contribute to print publication.
Bernard Frischer is the principal investigator. He will oversee the project and coordinate the activities of the various collaborators. He will be responsible for writing the scholarly article that is foreseen as the output of the project, inviting other members of the team to serve as co-authors as appropriate.
John Fillwalk is the co-principal investigator. The laboratory he directs, the Institute for Digital Intermedia Arts (IDIA Lab) at Ball State University, will be responsible for converting their Unity3D executable simulation of the of Hadrian’s Villa into modular web players; for integrating theNASA / JPL virtual celestial tracker that IDIA Lab has created independently of this project into these new web players; and for creating sensors that can be placed in doorways and windows to collect rays of the celestial objects that may strike them during the course of the simulation of the 130s CE. These sensor events will be recorded in a log for evaluation by our consultants De Franceschini, Leitz, and Miller.
Marina De Franceschini is our consultant for the archaeology of the villa and the history of research on alignments between built features of the villa and celestial features such as the sun and moon.
Christian Leitz is our consultant for the Egyptian calendar in the Roman period. He will help to evaluate whether any hits in the celestial log have cultural significance in terms of Egyptian religion.
John Miller is our consultant for the Roman calendar in the second century CE. He will help to evaluate whether any hits in the celestial log have cultural significance in terms of Roman religion in the time of Hadrian.
Matthew Brennan is the technician in charge of creating and maintaining the base 3D digital model of Hadrian’s Villa already created the Virtual World Heritage Laboratory.
Raf Alvarado: associate director of SHANTI (Sciences Humanities and the Arts Network of Technological Initiatives), Alvarado is in charge of the University of Virginia’s deployment of the Drupal content management system farm and the creation of the Drupal-based Mandala scholarly tool kit. Alvarado will lead work at integrating Unity into Drupal in general, the Book module in particular, and Mandala overall, so that rich scholarly publications can fully incorporate Unity Content.
Ben Deitle: a dissertating student at the University of Virginia, Deitle’s research focus is on the rise of Tibetan publishing houses during the 17th to 18th centuries; Deitle also has worked for years on digital humanities projects with Tibetan content under Germano’s supervision. Deitle will work on research tasks from Tibetan and secondary literature relating to extracting data necessary for model building.
David Germano: a professor of Tibetan Studies at the University of Virginia, Germano is the leading scholar in the world integrating digital technology and Tibetan Studies; he also has lived for years in Lhasa, and organized multiple collaborative field projects in Lhasa.  He will be responsible for coordinating the overall project from the scholars to the field, from the field to the model building, and from deployment in Unity to integration with Drupal.
Than Grove: technical director of the Tibetan and Himalayan Library, and Drupal programmer for SHANTI (Sciences Humanities and the Arts Network of Technological Initiatives), Grove brings a doctorate in Tibetan Studies and years of programming experience to the project. He will work with Alvarado at integrating Unity into Drupal in general, the Book module in particular, and Mandala overall, so that rich scholarly publications can fully incorporate Unity Content.
Tsering Gyalpo: Chair of Religion at the Tibet Academy of Social Sciences, Gyalpo is based in Lhasa and is one of China’s leading Tibetan historians. Based upon years of experience working with Germano, Schaeffer, Rourk, and Namgyal, Gyalpo will lead fieldwork and Lhasa-based data collection efforts, as well as coordinate consultation with Tibetan scholars throughout China on issues pertaining to Lhasa during this time period.
Pema Namgyal: long-time manager of the University of Virginia’s Tibet operations in Lhasa, Namgyal is fluent in Tibetan, Chinese, and English, and skilled at facilitating academic research collaborations in Lhasa. He will supervise fieldwork preparations in Lhasa and ongoing data collection efforts, coordinate the US and Tibetan partners, and supervise students and faculty at Tibet University inputting and processing relevant data.
Kurtis R. Schaeffer: Professor and Department Chair in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia. He specializes in the literary and cultural history of Tibet. His current projects include a forthcoming book on the Dalai Lamas from Yale University Press, and photographic documentation and digital reconstruction of narrative murals in Tibetan and Bhutanese temples. Schaeffer plans to use the virtual city of Lhasa, centered on the Potala Palace of the Dalai Lamas, to assist in imagining and analyzing the relationships between new massive architecture, landscape, and personal experience in Tibet’s capital during the country’s most transformative historical moment
Will Rourk: a librarian specializing in immersive and virtual world technologies, as well as an architectural historian, Rourk has been to Lhasa on multiple occasions doing architectural documentation work, including building 3D models on the basis of that work. Rourk will lead the technical work for the project, including building relevant 3D models and publishing them on the Unity platform. He will also work closely with the scholars, given his back ground on Tibet, architecture, and virtual world technology. He will also work with Schaeffer in data gathering in Lhasa.
Steve Weinberger: a scholar of Tibetan Buddhism with a doctorate from the University of Virginia, Weinberger has managed the Tibetan and Himalayan Library for many years, in the context of which he has extensive experience in managing digital humanities work relating to Tibetan Studies. Weinberger will work with Namgyal to oversee data input and processing, as well as assist Rourk in monitoring model development in relationship to scholarly data.
Christopher Johanson is the principal investigator of the project.  He will oversee all aspects of its development. He will coordinate with the project’s consultants and will be the primary author, in collaboration with the project team when appropriate, on all publications associated with the project.  In addition, due to his extensive, hands-on development experience in real-time computer graphics, he will also work directly on the crafting of the three-dimensional narrative, the development of the three-dimensional content, and the implementation of the virtual world publicaion.
Marie Saldaña is an architect and PhD student in the department of Architecture and Urban Design at UCLA. Her expertise in technology has contributed to several of the ETC’s digital projects. Marie holds a professional M.Arch degree from UCLA and an MA in Archaeology from the University of Durham, and serves as the Development and Outreach Coordinator for the ETC.
Matt Long Matt Long is an undergraduate Classical Civilization major and Digital Humanities minor at UCLA. He specializes in website development, and has worked on the website for the UCLA Alumni Association, the Alumni Scholars Club, and other projects. Additionally, he works with multiple web technology startup companies, as a freelance web programmer and serves as the website developer for the RomeLab project.
Raman Mustafa  is conducting research through the Master’s of Architecture program at University of California, Los Angeles Architecture and Urban Design (2014) His research is exhausting form production and prototype models that are shaped by augmentation of materials’ properties.
Kathryn Chew is a PhD student in the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA, as well as a fellow in the Digital Humanities Graduate Certificate Program at UCLA and in the NEH Humanities Heritage 3D Visualization Summer Institute hosted by the CDI and CAST digital research centers. Her research utilizes 3D models to reconstruct the spatial relationships between private tombs in the Theban area of Egypt and the topographic and symbolic landscape surrounding them. Her work with RomeLab focuses on finding ways to work within the structure of the models to keep them transparent and academically accountable through the embedding of citations in the metadata.
Amy Hawkins is an undergraduate Communications Studies major and Digital Humanities minor at UCLA. She is assisting Professor Johanson on the Virtual Worlds Consortium website and on Drupal setup for RomeLab. Amy previously worked with Professor Johanson on his Digital Magnesia project, for which she helped create the website. Additionally, she works at UCLA’s Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research.
Mike D’Errico  is a PhD student in the UCLA Department of Musicology and the Digital Humanities Graduate Certificate Program. His research interests and performance activities include hip-hop and electronic dance music, video games and generative media, and sound studies. He is currently the web editor and social media manager for the International Association for the Study of Popular Music, as well as two UCLA music journals, Echo: a music-centered journal andEthnomusicology Review. As a staff music writer forurbanscene magazine, Mike reviews hip-hop and electronic dance music event series in the Los Angeles area. From Boston to LA, he has performed as a DJ, drummer, and electronic musician for various experimental music acts.
Leslie Bloomfield is a 4th year undergraduate Design | Media Arts major and Digital Humanities minor. Having previously worked with Professor Johanson, this quarter she worked to storyboard Romelab’s in-world experience and design the logic of user interaction.
Guzden Varinlioglu Through the course of Guzden Varinlioglu’s undergraduate education in architecture at Middle East Technical University and her graduate education in graphic design at Bilkent University, she became interested in digital technology and its contribution to the preservation and presentation of cultural heritage. Her research period in Texas A&M University in 2010 was followed a the PhD degree from the Program of Art, Design and Architecture in Bilkent University. Her research responded to the lack of systematic methodology for the collection, preservation and dissemination of data in underwater cultural heritage studies. In 2011, Guzden received a post-doc position in architectural design computing at Istanbul Technical University. In January 2013, she started her post doctoral studies at the Center of Digital Humanities at UCLA.
The Consortium has identified two virtual world development teams to manage the implementation of the shared Unity project development template and front-end web presence, a private industry contractor, Tipodean Technologies, and a university partner, the Institute for Digital Intermedia Arts (IDIA Lab) at Ball State University, directed by John Fillwalk.

During the funded period of the planning grant and during the process of evaluating potential virtual world platforms, the Consortium met with representatives from Unity Studios (the software development arm of Unity 3D, based in Denmark), IBM, Cranial Tap, Project Wonderland and Tipodean Technologies. Tipodean represented the broadest range of expertise in virtual worlds, with experience developing software solutions for Linden Labs, the makers of Second Life, Open Simulator, and Unity.  In addition, the founder and CEO of Tipodean, Chris Collins, had previously co-founded the enterprise team at Linden labs, where he developed virtual world solutions for Fortune 100 companies, the military, and some major universities.  This expertise, with particular strengths in networking and infrastructure development, along with the high recommendations provided by representatives from Unity and IBM, led the Consortium to hire Tipodean to develop the working prototype of the website.  Due to the highly successful outcome of this first project, coupled with Tipodean’s demonstrated commitment to offer training alongside development, the Consortium elected to continue working with Tipodean during the proposed implementation phase.

Concurrent with the development of the prototype infrastructure, members of the Consortium developed working relationships with Ball State University’s IDIA Lab, an internationally recognized academic leader in in the development of virtual worlds, human compter interaction, visualization and 3D simulation. Most important for the Consortium, the IDIA Lab is engaged in the development of scholarly, creative and pedagogical projects that explore the intersection between the arts, science and technology. The IDIA Lab is not merely a technical development team, but is also a interdisciplinary design studio that integrates art and emergent technologies into every phase of development. After inviting John Fillwalk, the lab’s director, to attend a series of conference calls with the consortium, a proposal for interface and in world design was solicited. John Fillwalk is an internationally recognized artist and developer of virtual and hybrid environments. He serves as the senior director of the Hybrid Design Technologies initiative [HDT], professor of Art and as the director of the Institute for Digital Intermedia Arts [IDIA Lab} at Ball State University. Over the past 25 years, his interactive and virtual artworks have been exhibited internationally in numerous festivals, galleries and museums including SIGGRAPH, CYNETart, Synthése, 404 Festival, Dutch Design Week, Boston Cyberarts, Virtual Broad Art Museum, ISEA, ASCI, VIdéoformes, Indian Institute of Technology and the Beijing Science and Technology Museum.

The Consortium elected to partner with the IDIA Lab, since it offers design as well as technological expertise and a common interest in the theoretical implications of Virtual World technologies on research and pedagogy.

Development will be split between the two independent teams, with the IDIA Lab, in general, centering its work on the development of the Unity based platform including avatar selection, navigation, network controller, user interface system, and back end network hosting, while Tipodean develops the HTML and KML system and works with members of the Consortium to integrate the four individual projects into the shared platform. The development will not occur in isolation from the rest of the Consortium.  The external development teams will offer scheduled monthly training sessions to the internal technical teams of the Consortium. We are employing a similar development model to that successfully used during the Planning Phase of the HVWC in which, through a collaborative effort of local staff and third-party developers, we implemented a prototype template and virtual world environment with a subset of features below enabled.  In addition, we plan to hire a graphic design independent contractor and a game design independent contractor to work with the PIs and our development teams on the look and feel of the Consortium’s web presence as well as the conceptualization of the interface design.