Affording Possibilities: The Potential of Social Interaction in Virtual Reality

When and Where

Friday, March 24, 2023 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm
Online and in Collaborative Digital Research Space (MN3230)
Maanjiwe nendamowinan building (MN3230)
University of Toronto Mississauga


Bree McEwan
Karina Vold
Michael Nixon


What are the implications of the Metaverse (the virtual realm) for the future of collaborative research?

Join CDRS on March 24, 2023 for a NEW Research Spotlight: “Affording Possibilities: The Potential of Social Interaction in Virtual Reality.” This hybrid event will be held from 1:30-2:30 PM in person at the Collaborative Digital Research Space in the Maanjiwe nendamowinan building (MN3230) at the University of Toronto Mississauga, or virtually on Zoom.

Speakers Dr. Bree McEwan (Associate Professor, ICCIT and Associate Director of the Data Science Institute at UTM), Dr. Karina Vold (Assistant Professor, Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology) and Dr. Michael Nixon (Assistant Professor, ICCIT and Assistant Director, Technology, Coding and Society) will join us for a conversation about the Metaverse, virtual reality (VR) and the implications of the virtual realm for the future of social interaction and collaborative research.

Meet our speakers:

Dr. Bree McEwan is an Associate Professor of Mediated Communication in the Institute for Communication, Culture, Information and Technology at the University of Toronto Mississauga. She is also an Associate Director of the University of Toronto Data Sciences Institute and hold a graduate appointment in the tri-campus Sociology graduate program. She is the author of Navigating New Media Networks and Interpersonal Encounters. McEwan has designed courses on the socio-technical implications of augmented and virtual reality technology since 2017, co-founded the Virtual and Augmented Reality and Communication lab at DePaul University, and is the Director of the McEwan Mediated Communication (McMC) Lab at UTM. The McMC explores how the affordances of mediated technologies influence human communication processes and social interaction.

Dr. Karina Vold is an Assistant Professor at the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology at the University of Toronto. She is a Research Lead at the U of T Schwartz Reisman Institute for Technology and Society, an AI2050 Fellow with the Schmidt Futures Foundation, and an Associate Fellow at the University of Cambridge’s Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence. Vold specialises in Philosophy of Cognitive Science and Philosophy of Artificial Intelligence, and her recent research has focused on human autonomy, cognitive enhancement, virtual reality, and the risks and ethics of AI.

Dr. Michael Nixon is an Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream at the Institute of Communication, Culture, Information, and Technology (University of Toronto Mississauga). He is investigating best practices in deploying VR technology in the classroom. He also researches how to make virtual characters more believable in interactive narrative, digital game, and training simulation contexts through the use of better cognitive models and procedural animation. He is also interested in how new kinds of natural user interfaces can enable novel game mechanics, particularly when used to interact with and control characters.

Have questions about this event? Reach out to Tia Sager, Senior Research Associate at

Contact Information

Critical Digital Humanities Initiative


Critical Digital Humanities Initiative


University of Toronto Mississauga