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Faculty Spotlight

Davina Wolter Joins the Academy

Professor Wolter joins the Academy after over a decade of experience in the design world. As the senior exhibits designer and senior manager of design for the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Wolter oversaw the implementation of numerous exhibits, including the international "Tattoo". Tasked with including the narrative of tattoo art and culture in Los Angeles County, she managed to implement a full-fledged tattoo parlor into the exhibit where visitors could get their very own tattoo, capturing the essence of the project into personalized, permanent art pieces. Wolter has also served as a designer for the J. Paul Getty Museum and currently serves on the Advisory Board of the American Institute of Graphic Arts. This year, we are thrilled to welcome her to the Academy as an assistant professor of practice in design. 

Research Specialty:
Experience and Exhibition Design for museums, entertainment, and education venues. There is something so wonderful about co-creating interactive narrative experiences for large, group audiences. I'm hooked! I'm incredibly grateful for the partnerships and talented individuals I've been able to learn from along the way. Each project is an adventure, and an opportunity to learn about a new topic from industry experts. Last fall, I took a leap and started a creative agency, Create Crisp, specializing in this area.

What kinds of projects are you working on right now?
Exhibitions can take anywhere from three months to five years to conceive, develop and build. One project that really has me thinking differently, about how we perceive space, is centered on Indigenous star navigation from a variety of cultural perspectives. It is a traveling exhibition set to go global; so we need to consider how to be inclusive and authentic in our presentation of the stars and our understanding of them.

What drew you as an educator to the Academy?
The opportunity to work with incredible students! I'm consistently impressed with the level of commitment, talent, and skill the students bring to their work each day.

What is an emerging technology or startup that excites you?
Sustainable tech. The recent release of the 3rd generation of the Fairphone is incredibly inspiring.

Is there a leader or mentor who inspires you?
Es Devlin and Neri Oxman.

What advice would you give to seniors this year who will be entering the real world?
Trust your gut. Try new things. Take time for self-care.

Describe one thing most people don't know about you?
If I could have one superpower; I would like to speak with animals!

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the next generation of entrepreneurs?
Managing the speed with which decisions are made, and implemented. Recognizing when more time, to resolve ideas, is of a higher value than pushing to market quickly.

Fun Facts:

If you could develop ANY class to teach what would it be?
Experience design for interactive environments.

A recent book you've read that you'd recommend?
I recently re-read an old favorite, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Still love it.

Favorite thing to do on the weekends?
Family time outside with my husband and two sons.

Thank you, Professor Wolter!