Paisley Smith is a Canadian filmmaker & virtual reality creator from Vancouver, British Columbia. She is the creator of Unceded Territories with artist and activist Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun, and Homestay, produced by the National Film Board of Canada. Homestay is the recipient of ‘Best XR’ for Change at the Games for Change Festival 2019. During these times of extraordinary change, she is using her worldbuilding skills to design solutions for connection and to imagine our Feminist Future. She lives and works in Los Angeles.
Hi, I'm Paisley.
It's nice to meet you!
In pre-Covid times, I am a virtual reality filmmaker working to create meaningful connection through virtual film. I directed Unceded Territories and Homestay, interactive virtual reality experiences which use virtual interaction to inspire real world change. I often lead workshops, teach, and share my experiences at face-to-face gatherings and festivals.
Access to VR and emerging technology during the pandemic is challenging, and has shifted how our community is making work. I have written about the impact of the pandemic on immersive industry creatives here.
Right now I am using my worldbuilding and design-thinking skills to reimagine our everyday, and to help individuals find solutions for their artistic practices and businesses, including how to connect meaningfully with audiences online.
My work in emerging technology has made me an expert on how to connect deeply through screens, and this is something I can share with others.
This time is also allowing us an opportunity to dismantle and reconfigure patriarchal paradigms. I am working with Caitlin Conlen to bring our Feminist Futures Worldbuilding Workshop online so it can reach new audiences.
Until I can be reunited with my creative community face-to-face, you can find me leading online workshops, speaking in virtual classes, interviewing our creative community, writing, and worldbuilding our future.
You may also find me painting, sewing masks, at virtual dance parties, or making a giant, neon cross-stitch!
This is my pre-pandemic bio,
For old times sake:
I make immersive films that people can touch, feel and move through. This experience creates highly engaged, attentive audiences.
I believe we can use technology to connect more deeply with ourselves, and the world around us.
The stories I tell are guided by my belief that if we are honest about our own experiences - the good, the bad, and the vulnerable – we can make a positive change in the world:
With Homestay, I wanted audiences to think about how we understand family and cultural differences, and to share my personal, and frustrating, experience of coming to terms with suicide and grief.
Art VR works of the 1980's inspired me to work with Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun on Unceded Territories. This project is about standing in solidarity with First Nations and Indigenous people fighting for climate justice.
I am passionate about community. I started Virtual Reality Girls in 2015 as a space to connect with, and showcase women working in emerging technology. VRG has evolved, joined forces, and grown into it's own universe – Women in VR/AR, a thriving community of over 10K people.
Designer Caitlin Conlen and I lead Feminist Futures, a world building workshop where we design, build, and create the stories for an intersectional, feminist utopian future. This design-thinking process can be used to create fiction and also solve real world issues.
I love creating documentaries and media for kids. My thesis film, Peace, Daal, & Partition is a documentary about 3 generations of women in my family, and impact of the Partition of India and Pakistan in 1947. I was awarded the Mister Rogers Memorial Scholarship from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and the Fred Rogers Company for my commitment to creating quality content for children.
My creative studio, Paisley Smith Creative, brings all of these passions together: art, VR, community, and story.
If you would like to collaborate, please get in touch. I'd love to chat with you!