Raqi Syed began her career in feature animation as a Lighting Artist for Disney Feature Animation on films such as Meet the Robinsonsand Tangled. She then went on to work as a Senior Technical Director with Weta Digital on Avatar, The Planet of the Apes films, and The Hobbit Trilogy. A full list of her film credits can be found at IMDB.
In 2016 The Los Angeles Times pegged Raqi for its list of 100 Industry professionals who can help fix Hollywood’s Diversity Problem. She is actively involved in the Wellington VR community and has been profiled as a leading figure in New Zealand VR research by The Moon Unit, ProjectR, and The Wellington ICT Graduate School.
Raqi will be joining us direct from attending this year's Sundance New Frontier Story Lab Fellow.
Currently, Raqi teaches Design Professional Practice at Victoria University. The course seeks to engage students in the practices that will propel them in their transition from academic life to professional careers as artists. Students are encouraged to answer the central question, “What is my story as an artist?” and use this to construct an industry and research focused portfolio. They also investigate strategies for sustaining long-term engagement with their artistic practice.
Raqi is also a Coordinator in the Virtual Worlds DRIL Stream. In 2016 she received a grant from Victoria University’s Digital Futures initiative to investigate the relationship between cinema and virtual reality narrative strategies. The project, titled “Circle versus Square: VR as the Third Experience,” produced a short VR experience, The Girl Who Sat by the Door. The project incorporated spherical camera construction, 3D sound, constructing VR pipelines, and directing for performance in VR. “Circle versus Square” relied heavily on relationships between the Design, Film, and Music programs, encouraging a cross-disciplinary approach to research and exhibition.