SPCC, originally the “Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children,” was established in 1875 shortly after the “American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals” legally intervened on behalf of a ten-year-old NYC tenement child named Mary Ellen Wilson who had been neglected and severely abused by her guardians. The first child protection case in United States history, it led to Mary Ellen’s relocation upstate to a family in Rochester, New York where she lived until the age of 92.
This VR experience follows the story of Mary Ellen through the lens of contemporary survivors of sexual abuse and domestic violence while speaking to the effects of trauma and the positive outcomes that result when communities work together to support the most vulnerable in our society. The experience highlights how the guidance of SPCC, now the “Society for the Protection and Care of Children,” has provided a safe environment to heal and resources to turn lives around in a positive direction.
Susan Lakin is a Professor in College of Art and Design at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). She is Director of Frameless Labs, which serves to connect ideas in academia and the greater outside community of extended reality (XR) thought leaders.
Building from the strength and synergy of creative and technical minds jointly focused on virtual and augmented reality, Frameless Labs provides a dedicated center of excellence for fostering ideation in emerging immersive experiences at RIT. Lakin has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California and an MFA in Art Studio from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Working across disciplines in her art and academic practices, Lakin teaches classes that explore the intersections of technology, music, art and design and collaborates on community projects in the nonprofit sector.