An unwavering passion for solving social issues using creative technology.


Jessie Hughes consults university staff on integrating VR into education


Jessie Hughes is an internationally-recognised Australian VR filmmaker, new media artist, and design strategist, her works having exhibited most notably at Sundance Film Festival, SXSW, Tate Gallery of London, and Marche Du Film Festival De Cannes. Hughes holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interactive and Visual Design, having completed her studies at Queensland University of Technology, Australia; San Diego State University, USA; Royal College of Art, UK; and Sonoda Women’s University, Japan. 

In 2016, Hughes was named one of Australia’s Future Changers by the Foundation for Young Australians for her commitment to using digital innovation for positive social impact, and was identified in 2017 as one of Australia’s leaders in creative technology for Startup Catalyst’s mission to Silicon Valley. She has presented on panels including Australian Centre for Moving Image Conversations, Australian Virtual Reality Film Festival, Girls for Change Leadership Summit, State Library Summer Festival, Network Ten’s Children’s TV shows, and has been featured in over 50 media articles in radio, newspaper and TV, discussing emerging mediums.

In late 2016, Jessie was invited to Facebook Headquarters by Oculus’ VR for Good program, to direct and lead the creation of a multinational virtual reality project, with her VR film since having toured eminent film festivals and has been used to inform and inspire political delegates. In 2017, Hughes was supported by the Foundation for Young Australians, Young Social Pioneers program to further develop her grounding in social enterprise, VR for social impact and education. In 2018, Jessie was selected to represent Australia at the United Nation’s Sustainable Developmental Goals Innovation Lab, Unleash, bringing together 1,000 innovators from 130 different countries to build lasting solutions to The Global Goals. Hughes’ solution won Gold in Singapore and was named the winning solution for SDG4 ‘Quality Education’.

This year, Hughes was awarded the Lord Mayor’s Young and Emerging Artist Fellowship to the value of $20,000, and has since been awarded the nationally-competitive Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship for 2019. Her Churchill Fellowship will investigate best practices for using VR as a tool for social impact and will further inform her practice, her findings to be shared with the wider Australian community to advance understanding in the space of using VR for Good.

Additionally, Jessie has worked in the not-for-profit sector for the past five years, driving fundraising efforts for both national and international nonprofits. She has produced immersive VR experiences for a range of social causes including global energy poverty in Guatemala, orang-utan conservation efforts in Borneo, and refugee resettlement in Australia. Committed to education and knowledge-sharing, Jessie regularly shares her learnings with students and the Australian community, and is a loud advocate for using technology creatively for social change.


The Peter Mitchell Churchill Fellowship
Winston Churchill Memorial Trust. Brisbane, Australia . 2018

Lord Mayor's Young and Emerging Artist Fellowship Brisbane City Council ($20,000). Brisbane, Australia . 2018

UNLEASH: SDG 4 'Quality Education' Winner United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Innovation Lab. Singapore . 2018

Future Founders Mission Finalist Start Up Catalyst. Silicon Valley, U.S.A . 2017

QUT bluebox Accelerator Finalist QUT bluebox. Australian . 2017

Judge's Choice Finalist | Runners Up Champion Nescafe Headstart Competition. Australia . 2017

National Finalist Young Social Pioneers Foundation for Young Australians. Melbourne. Australia . 2017

Best Hack for Humanity Random Hacks of Kindness. Ipswich, Australia . 2017

Highly Commended for Best VR Experience | Accessibility Award | People's Choice Award Brisbane VR Hackathon. Brisbane, Australia . 2017

4-Week Orangutan Enrichment Program Winner Samboja Lestari Sanctuary, Borneo . 2017

Exhibited Filmmaker Cannes Marche Du Film NEXT Virtual Reality Library . Cannes, France . 2017

Travel and Marketing Grant 2017 Screen Queensland. Brisbane, Australia . 2017

Official Selection SXSW Film Festival Texas, United States . 2017

Exhibited Filmmaker Sundance Film Festival VR for Good. Utah, United States . 2017 

National Runner Up Unleashed New Wave Award, The Foundation for Young Australians Technology or digital innovation to disrupt the way social change is done. Melbourne, Australia. 2016

International Finalist Oculus VR for Good Inspiring Social Change Through the Power of Virtual Reality. San Francisco, United Sates . 2016

Exhibited International Artist Tate Modern What Is The Future Of Art? London, United Kingdom . 2016

Sole International Finalist Start Technarte Artistic Residence Programme in Astronomical Observatories. La Palma, Spain . 2016

International Finalist in Adobe Students X Colossal Media: The World’s Biggest Student Art Show, New York . 2015

QUT Creative Industries Research Experience Scheme Scholarship . 2013 - 2014

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Funded by the PETER MITCHELL CHURCHILL FELLOWSHIP        for 2019.