Mimi Ito is an international expert on how people use mobile technologies and new digital media in their everyday lives. A cultural anthropologist of technology use, she also is a leading authority on how social network technologies are shaping society.
Dr. Ito has been named the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Chair in Digital Media and Learning. Created in 2009 from an endowment fund originally established by the MacArthur Foundation at the University of California, Berkeley, the digital media and learning initiative aims to determine how digital media are changing the way young people learn, play, socialize and participate in civic life.
Mimi co-led the Digital Youth Project, a landmark study of the ways youth use new media funded by the MacArthur Foundation. The study explores how kids engage with and play with new media in their everyday lives and how digital technologies are changing the way young people learn, play, socialize and participate in civic life. She co-authored the book based on the study, Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with New Media.
Mimi is an expert on the content of children’s educational games and software, their production, distribution, and marketing, and how children use them in play. She has researched a wide range of other digitally-augmented social practices, including online gaming and social communities.
She also specializes in amateur culture production, Do-It-Yourself (DIY) media cultures, and peer-to-peer learning. She is one of the organizers of 24/7: A DIY Video Summit, that showcases current developments in digital video production, focusing on amateur production, remix, and Internet distribution. The Summit was a project of the University of Southern California's Institute for Multimedia Literacy, School of Cinematic Arts.
Mimi recently co-edited a book on Otaku culture titled Fandom Unbound: Otaku Culture in a Connected World. She also wrote Engineering Play: A Cultural History of Children’s Software and co-edited Personal, Portable, Pedestrian: Mobile Phones in Japanese Life and the book series Technologies of the Imagination: New Media In Everyday Life.
Mizuko Ito is a Professor in Residence, Department of Anthropology and Department of Informatics at the University of California, Irvine. She has two doctorates from Stanford University, in education and anthropology. Mimi is a cultural anthropologist.
She has worked at the Institute for Research and Learning, Xerox PARC, Tokyo University, the National Institute for Educational Research in Japan, and Apple Computer.
In addition to the MacArthur Foundation, Mimi Ito has received research grants and fellowships from the National Science Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, the Vodafone Group Foundation, NTT DoCoMo, the Abe Fellowship, Phi Beta Kappa Northern California Association, and the Reischauer Institute.
- Professor in Residence, Department of Anthropology and Department of Informatics at the University of California, Irvine
- MacArthur foundation Chair in Digital Media and Learning, 2010
- Research director of the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub at the system-wide University of California Humanities Research Institute
- Director, Champon.org
- Co-editor, Personal, Portable, Pedestrian: Mobile Phones in Japanese Life
- Co-editor, Technologies of the Imagination: New Media In Everyday Life
- Ph.D.s from Stanford University in education and anthropology