Dr Owen Brierley


Dr. Owen Brierley is a distinguished figure in digital arts and technology, renowned for merging innovative teaching with pioneering research. Holding a Ph.D. from the University of Calgary, his work delves into game engines as platforms for scholarly inquiry, examining the intersection of technology and human enhancement. Brierley's educational philosophy emphasizes risk-taking and dignity in inclusive settings, fostering environments where students can explore, grow, and express creatively. His transformative approach integrates technological applications with artistic principles, having held roles such as executive director and curriculum designer across various educational institutions.

Brierley's transdisciplinary research spans machine learning, bioinformatics visualization, and human-computer interaction, focusing on enhancing human experiences through interactive media. His contributions are internationally recognized, with numerous publications and presentations in cities like Edmonton, Vancouver, and Washington D.C. Beyond academia, he's held leadership positions in organizations like Digital Alberta and the Canadian Communications Foundation, driving digital innovation.

During his tenure as executive director of the Edmonton Digital Arts College from 2008 to 2019, Brierley expanded the college by over 1,400%, introducing three new diploma programs and emphasizing a research-led curriculum tailored to individual learner needs. His efforts ensured a personalized learning experience, maintaining small class sizes for effective instruction.

Brierley is also an active artist and designer, collaborating in theatre, dance, music, and visual arts. His work has been featured in prestigious venues like the Banff Centre for the Arts and the Citadel Theatre. Dr. Owen Brierley stands out for his commitment to enriching the human spirit through the lens of digital media, blending educational innovation with artistic exploration.

Academic responsibilities

Course Pathway Leader & Senior Lecturer


  • Ph D - Computational Media Design
  • Multimedia Production Diploma
  • Theatre Arts Diploma

Teaching and learning


As a dedicated transdisciplinarian, my research spans multiple disciplines, underscored by a collaborative spirit and individual scholarly initiative. This approach is mirrored in my entrepreneurial attitude toward research, where I engage in multiple, diverse projects to leverage opportunities as they arise. My research is guided by adaptability, allowing for shifts in response to funding, resources, and community engagement.

At the LINDSAY Virtual Human Lab, my focus is on bioinformatics projects with Dr. Christian Jacob, including a current collaboration with Georgia State University to evaluate the effectiveness of VR in teaching complex biological processes.

With Dr. Patrick Finn's GameLab, our research in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) addresses the intersection of human experience with gaming, mobile/XR technologies, and autonomous vehicles, contributing to our understanding of user engagement in digital environments.

I am currently supervising PhD candidates in fields including events & experience design, game production, virtual production, and computational media design. I welcome proposals for new research endeavors or works suitable for a PhD by Publication.

Current Funding

  • "Q-Player" - Seedcorn Innovation Funding Scheme: supported by the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF)
  • "Sonic Synesthetic Sculptures" - UK Shared Prosperity Fund

Current PhD Supervision

  • Daniele Giampà

Qualifications and expertise

  • Computational Media Design
  • User Interface & User Experience Design
  • Computer Game Production
  • Computer Game Design
  • Events & Experience Design
  • Virtual Production
  • Project Management
  • Live Event Direction
  • AI for Games

Areas of specialism

  • Game Production & AI for Games
  • Events & Experiences Design
  • Digital Scenography & Virtual Production
  • Human Performance
  • Bioinformatics Simulations Using Game Engines

Scholarly affiliations

  • Adjunct Research Associate - LINDSAY Virtual Human Lab - University of Calgary
  • Adjunct Researcher - GameLab - University of Calgary
  • External Examiner - Academy of Live Technologies

Research student supervision

Business, knowledge transfer and international

In a career spanning over two decades at the intersection of digital arts and technology, I've demonstrated a passion for pioneering innovation, strategic leadership, and a commitment to educational excellence. As the Executive Director of the Edmonton Digital Arts College, I led a significant transformation, expanding programs and achieving substantial growth, showcasing my ability to align educational initiatives with industry demands while fostering creativity and learning.

My volunteer roles, including President of Digital Alberta, interim President of Interactive Arts Alberta, President of the Canadian Communications Foundation, and board positions with arts organizations, reflect my dedication to digital innovation and support for the arts community. My academic work, underpinned by a Ph.D. in Computational Media Design, spans game design, bioinformatics, and human-computer interaction, informing my strategic vision for integrating technologies with creative practices.

I prioritize collaborative leadership, building inclusive teams, and engaging partners to advance mutual goals. My track record in securing research funding and leading impactful projects illustrates my competence in steering complex initiatives towards innovation and growth. Committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion, I strive to embed these values in all endeavors, creating accessible, empowering learning environments.

My career embodies visionary leadership, strategic innovation, and a steadfast commitment to enriching the digital arts and technology sectors. I am poised to continue making significant contributions, driving change, and fostering innovation at the forefront of these fields.

Qualifications and PROFESSIONAL expertise

  • Executive Director
  • Curriculum Design
  • Project Management
  • Projection Design
  • Interaction Design
  • UI/UX Design
  • Virtual Production
  • Web Design & Development

Areas of interest

  • Physical/Digital Production
  • Emotional Intelligence in Leadership
  • Educational Leadership

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