Workshop participants and consultants

360-degree image of PD John Soboslai setting up a GoPro during the Seeing What Takes Place 2022 Workshop

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Project Director: John Soboslai

John Soboslai is an Associate Professor in the department of Religion at Montclair State University whose scholarship focuses on global religion and religious violence. In 2019, after finding few video resources for teaching about religious ritual available online, he began filming local services of various religious traditions for use in his Understanding Religion classes, which lead to his applying for a NEH Digital Humanities Advancement Discovery Grant in 2021. 

Gabo Arora is a world renowned multi-award winning immersive artist, professor, entrepreneur and former UN diplomat. He has had the honor of being the UN’s first-ever Creative Director; a Davos World Economic Forum Arts and Culture Leader; a member of the Council on Foreign Relations; and is the Founding Director of a new lab and academic department - the first of its kind - dedicated to Immersive Storytelling and Emerging Technologies (ISET) at Johns Hopkins University. His creative tech and production studio LIGHTSHED.IO is based in Brooklyn. 

Julia's research focuses on the political theology of religious organizations, particularly those engaged in international discourse and policy making. More broadly, she looks at religiously inspired conceptual frameworks for social change, with particular attention to the epistemology and practices of the Baha’i community. She teaches at Montclair State University and works with the Baha’i International Community United Nations Office, and LEAD IMPACT Reconciliation Institute.

Mark is an Associate Professor in the department of Religion at Montclair State University, the Co-Director of Native American & Indigenous Studies, and co-founder of Lancaster Against Pipelines. He spends a lot of time involved in environmental justice work/activism, both in PA and supporting Indigenous pipeline resistance efforts across the so-called US. His research & teaching focus is on Native North American ceremonial ways, Native Christianity, Liberation Theologies, and religion and eco-activism.

As CEO of Digital Bodies, Emory works with universities, nonprofits, and international organizations to develop programs in digital ethics and redesign learning by leveraging the potential of augmented and virtual reality. He co-authored the first EDUCAUSE series on VR and AR in 2017-2018 and the State of XR Report on Immersive Learning in 2021. Emory worked for many years as the former Director of eLearning and Interim CIO at The College of New Rochelle, where he designed and taught the interdisciplinary senior seminar in the humanities.

Maya is the Senior Director at The Innovation Center at the New School where she provides strategic leadership in creating a culture and capacity for innovative design with emerging technologies, including XR and AI. She leads a team driving new media and innovation focused on immersive storytelling and learning, spatial computing, future interfaces, and design. In addition, Maya teaches Immersive Storytelling at The Parsons School of Design. Her work has been featured at SXSW, the MIT Media Lab, EDUCAUSE, The Atlantic, The Economist, and the Fulbright Program among others. 

Dr. AJ Kelton is the Director of the Digital Media CoLab in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Montclair State University in New Jersey.  He is involved in collaborative learning, reflective teaching, academic and emerging technology, digital humanities, social media, games, and virtual worlds for education.  Dr. Kelton is the Founder and current Board Member of Emerging Learning Design (ELD) and Co-Editor-in-Chief for the Emerging Learning Design Journal.  

Gerald C. Liu is Director of Collegiate Ministries, Initiatives, and Belonging for the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of The United Methodist Church. An ordained United Methodist Elder of the Mississippi Annual Conference, he also serves as a Minister in Residence at the Church of the Village, a United Methodist Congregation in Manhattan. He is the son of culturally Buddhist immigrants from Taiwan, and is the author of Music and the Generosity of God (Palgrave, 2017) and co-author of A Worship Workbook: A Practical Guide for Extraordinary Liturgy (Abingdon, 2020).

Semontee is a Assistant Teaching Professor of English and American Studies at Pennsylvania State University, University Park.  Her research interests include South Asian Indian Americans and their religious festivals and celebrations in the United States. She also studies how Hinduism is performed, practiced, articulated, and maintained by Indian Americans in the 21st century using digital media. She is the Associate Editor of Cultural Analysis, an interdisciplinary peer-reviewed journal, and has served as the co-convener of the Transnational Asia/Pacific Section of the American Folklore Society. 

Elizabeth is an Associate Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She specializes in the study of Cuban Lucumí (popularly called Santería) and other innovative systems of belief and practice that crystallized in the Americas: Brazilian Candomblé, Haitian Vodou, and Puerto Rican Espiritismo, among others.

Hussein is a freelance academic, whose research interests focus on Muslims and US popular culture. He also works as a consultant focusing on religious literacy whose last major project was with the Children’s Museum of Manhattan exhibit America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far. He was an executive producer on the award-winning New York Times short animated documentary The Secret History of Muslims in the US. He is currently an executive producer for a multi-hour, multi-format documentary on Muslims in the US.

Pilar is a cultural anthropologist with a background in visual arts, media studies, and sociolinguistics. She specializes in the anthropology of religion, anthropology of art and aesthetics, visual anthropology, and economic anthropology, with a regional focus on Latin America. She also has professional experience in the arts and film and video production.

Martha is an Associate Professor at Fullerton College, specializing in North American religions and cultures, and she teaches classes on all religious traditions. Her primary research is a critical analysis of post-racial and post-ethnic theories of American religious pluralism and extending this analysis to critical pedagogies of religious studies.