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Jessica Renfro


digital participatory artist | 


I make digital participatory environments using media like music, narration, poetry, game design platforms, and animation. My pieces are playful, immersive social simulations that use the concept of ‘the collective’ to build new worlds. I investigate how participatory platforms can facilitate transdisciplinary discussions about collective issues like climate change. 




M.A., Performance Practices, cum laude

ArtEZ University of the Arts, Netherlands 2021

Thesis: “We called it _____: Filling the gaps in participatory art design”

Supervisor: Dr. Nishant Shah


G.P.D., Opera Performance, The Peabody Institute, Johns Hopkins University, USA 2005 

M.M., Voice Performance, The Peabody Institute, Johns Hopkins University, USA 2003 

B.M. Voice Performance at the University of Connecticut, USA 2001  



Peer-reviewed Academic Writing and Presentations

  • Attending to procedural authorship in participatory art practice, 13th SAR (Society for Artistic Research) International Conference, Weimar, Germany, (proceedings forthcoming) July 2022

  • Co-authoring with the collective: an iterative design framework for participatory art, Politics of the Machines Conference (POM), Berlin, Germany, Sep 2021  

  • Co-authoring the future: Participatory performance and the climate crisis, APRIA Journal, 10 Sep 2020

Other Academic Writing

  • Looking at ourselves where we do not exist: Reflective co-speculation in the digital museum, part of The Great Museum, (published for print in Korean and English and on, Mar 2022

  • Children of us all: using co-speculation in the museum context, (available on, Nov 2021

  • Co: A lexicon of creating together (Available at, Nov 2020

  • From dogma to anarchy: Models of participation in utopian approximations (Available at, Nov 2019

Artistic/Stage Writing


  • Dream City, May 2020-2022

  • Stay Strong, Wuhan, Mar 2020

  • Take It, Bend It, or Leave It (narrative documentation) Nov 2020

  • Social Isolation Beach Vacation, Apr 2020

  • Evil Ever After, Apr 2019

  • The Sea to Shining Sea Radio Hour, Sep 2017

  • Lost in the Woods, Nov 2016




New Media Artist                                                           Sep 2017-present


  • Fontys University of the Arts Connective Symposium, presentation of We Called It Earth and workshop/discussion, Tilburg, Netherlands, Nov 2022

  • (Un)sustainable!? Residency, incorporating NLP into a participatory web platform, Dream City and leading workshop session, Graz, Austria, Jul-Sep 2022

  • Member of MaNN AUS OBST, new media and improvised music ensemble, production: Etudes for a new normal: COMPOST CITY, Berlin, Germany, Feb -April 2022 (funded by a Musikfonds – Neustart Kultur grant)

  • Semi-finalist for EU S+T+ARTS grant, Little Blue Dot, Milan, Italy (MAXXI and Sony CSL), Nov-Jan 2021

  • IMPACT21 Urgent Translations—On codes, images and realities (invited contributor), PACT Zollverein, Essen, Germany, Nov 2021

  • Dutch Design Week, digital participatory web platform Dream City, Eindhoven, Netherlands, Oct 2021     

  • 404 Festival, participatory video game, We Called It Earth, Amsterdam, Netherlands, Oct 2021

  • ArtEZ Final Performances, We Called It Earth, Arnhem, Netherlands, May 2021

  • ArtEZ University Accreditation, HOPPia, Arnhem, Netherlands, Feb 2021

  • DARK Festival, participatory live/digital score of Matteo Pasquini’s Passing, Arnhem, Netherlands, Oct 2020

  • Arnhemse Uitnacht, participatory drawing, projection, and audio dubbing, Becky, Arnhem, Netherlands, Jan 2020

  • Philadelphia Fringe Festival, Pennsylvania, Lost in the Woods, a multi-media rendering of the Hansel and Gretel story, Sep 2017


Curator/Coordinator/Director                             Oct 2020-present 


  • Co-curator of 404 Festival, Perdu Theatre, Amsterdam (4bid gallery), Oct 2021

  • Coordinator of KUO Next Online Conference for Arts Professionals, Oct 2020 

  • Co-curator of Take It, Bend It or Leave It Festival, ArtEZ University, Oct 2020 

  • Artistic Director, Cultural Platform Evening, Evil Ever After, Erasmus University, Apr 2019

  • Artistic Director, A Moment for Music, Princeton, New Jersey, producing Viaggio: A Transatlantic Love Affair, 2016-7, American Heart, 2016, Lost in the Woods, 2016-7, and The Sea to Shining Sea Radio Hour, 2017


Opera/Classical Singing


  • Performed roles in opera houses throughout the US and in Italy, including Maggio Musicale di Firenze (2015), Opera Tampa (2014), Opera Company Middlebury (2014), St. Petersburg Opera (2012), Dicapo Opera (2010-2011), Bel Cantanti Opera (2006-2009)

  • Performed in solo and chamber and orchestral pieces, Folger Consort (Washington DC, 2019), Bach in Baltimore (2013-2019), Hopkins Symphony (Baltimore, 2018), Richmond Symphony (2015-2018), Mid-Atlantic Symphony (2018), Buffalo Philharmonic (2014)

  • Taught private voice lessons, Hillsborough Voice Lessons, New Jersey (2011-2015, “Best of Hillsborough” Award 2014, 2015), The Conservatory, Doylestown, Pennsylvania (2012-2015, “Teacher of Excellence” Award, 2015), International School of Music, Bethesda, Maryland (2007-2009)

Acting/Voice Acting


  • Narrated over 20 titles for and iTunes 

  • Performed role of Berta Von Suttner, Hotel de Jong (Dana Rosky), Bonn, Germany, Frauen Netzwerk Für Frieden (2018), 11th Annual Conference of Asian Scholars, Leiden University, Netherlands (2019)




  • artist-in-residence, (Un)sustainable!?, Graz, Austria (July-September 2022)

  • Co.iki and KOFICE (Korean Organization for International Cultural Exchange), curator-in-residence, Memory and memoricide of the land: Reimagining alternative models of ‘the museum’, Tokyo (virtual) (Oct-Dec 2021)

  • 4bid gallery, Amsterdam, Netherlands (April 2021)

  • Avaloch Farm Music Institute, Artist-in-residence, New Hampshire (Jun 2018)

  • Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Artist-in-residence (Oct 2017)

  • Dicapo Opera, Young artist-in-residence, New York City (Sep 2010-May 2012)





English (native), German (B2), Italian (B2), Dutch (B1)

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