Big City Maps: Using Virtual Reality to Build Fictional Worlds

Marriott Conference Center C

Saturday, 12:30-1:15

Imagine if you could annotate a map of Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County and then click on that map for a VR tour of the city… what a cool idea. Emory’s Rose Library and the Center for Digital Scholarship have partnered with the creators of Brotherman: Dictator of Discipline, an ongoing black comix series, to create a GIS map and virtual reality experience of the book’s fictional city, Big City. This digital platform will function as a prototype of a pedagogical tool for examining world-building techniques by fiction authors.


Dawud Anyabwile

Dawud Anyabwile is an Emmy Award-winning and two-time Glyph Comics award-winning illustrator and comic artist based in Atlanta. He has received numerous awards and accolades throughout his career, including the Key to Kansas City for Outstanding Service to Children, Lifetime Achievement Award from the East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention and was nominated for the Will Eisner Award - Best Artist category at the San Diego Comic Con for his work on the critically-acclaimed comic series, Brotherman: Dictator of Discipline.

Dawud was born by the name of David Sims and raised in Philadelphia, Pa. in a home where both his mother and father cultivated the arts and self determination, leading to the development of Dawud’s art skills. Dawud started as a well-known street artist and entrepreneur, flourishing into the creator of the Brotherman comic series, which is recognized as a catalyst for the contemporary Black Comic book movement. In January 2016, he released Book One of the all-new Brotherman: Revelation graphic novel series and recently illustrated the graphic novel adaptation of the New York Times bestselling novel, MONSTER by Walter Dean Myers.

Dawud has also worked in the studio for popular television shows such as The Wild Thornberrys, The Rugrats and MTV’s Daria, as well conceptualizing and storyboarding commercials and other major projects for TBS, Cartoon Network, TRU TV, CNN and more.

Arya Basu

Arya Basu creates, modifies and configures 3D models using a variety of computer modeling, simulation software and geospatial data. In partnership with faculty and Emory Center for Digital Scholarship (ECDS) staff, Arya prepares aesthetically composed digital media through graphic design, image processing and data visualization for use in ECDS-supported digital scholarship projects. He also researches and explores new methods of visualizing data, including 3D, virtual reality and augmented reality.

Clinton Fluker

Clint Fluker is the Outreach Coordinator at Emory’s Center for Digital Scholarship, where he develops programming and manages projects to highlight scholarly work that utilizes digital platforms. He is also the co-founder of ThrdSpace, a community engagement organization that partners with private and public entities to creatively activate historic venues by collaborating with emerging artists, professionals and social activists. Clint received his Ph.D. in Science Fiction Studies at Emory University’s Institute for Liberal Arts, with a research focus on contemporary movements in Black science fiction. He is also a graduate of the LEAD Atlanta Class of 2017.

Megan Slemons

As the GIS Librarian in the Emory Center for Digital Scholarship, Megan Slemons works with students and faculty to incorporate geospatial technologies into their research and teaching. She offers consultations on using geospatial tools, finding and using data, and designing projects with spatial components. Megan also teaches workshops, provides classroom instruction, works to develop and provide access to the libraries' geospatial data and map collections, and contributes to digital projects.


Grace Gipson

Grace D. Gipson is a visiting professor in African American Studies at Georgia State University and a doctoral candidate in the African American Studies program with a designated emphasis in New Media at the University of California Berkeley.

Gipson's area of research interest centers on black popular culture, digital humanities, representations of race and gender within comic books & graphic novels, Afrofuturism, and race and new media. Her current dissertation project interrogates the formation of a Black female superhero identity within comics and graphic novels through such topics as, African queer love, disability as empowering, coloring utopias/dystopias, promoting Black Girl Magic in STEM, and creating a new media legacy for Black female voices.