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Prof. Nicholas Pilarski named finalist for prestigious Tim Hetherington Trust Visionary Award

  • Professor Nicholas Pilarski
May 06, 2019

Professor Nicholas Pilarski’s project “FIREFLIES: A Brownsville Story” has been named a finalist for the 2019 Visionary Award from the Tim Hetherington Trust. The Visionary Award identifies journalists and artists breaking new ground in diverse visual disciplines.

“FIREFLIES: A Brownsville Story” is the largest virtual reality documentary ever created. It uses gameplay and immersive storytelling to break down barriers and foster community in the Brownsville public housing developments in Brooklyn, New York.

In an environment where physical movement is filled with threat and violence, the project works to expand horizons and introduce neighbors using game technology on computers built by participants.

“It’s an extreme honor to everyone on the team to be considered for this award and to be among the other artists who’ve been shortlisted,” Prof. Pilarski said. “Tim is someone I’ve always looked up too. This award is really about the future of storytelling and who are shaping the narratives we consume.”

“Fireflies: A Brownsville Project” by Prof. Nick Pilarski

The project was co-created by the Brownsville Community Justice Center and Peoples Culture, an arts collaborative where Prof. Pilarski serves as the artistic director and co-founder. More than 100 community members worked on developing this video game.

The Visionary Award honors and preserves the legacy of Tim Hetherington’s professional life as a visual storyteller and human rights advocate. Hetherington, a war journalist, was killed during the Libyan civil war in 2011.