J. J. Abrams named MIT Media Lab Fellow

Joi Ito, director of MIT’s Media Lab, announced the creation of a new type of fellowship, the Director’s Fellows, designed to involve individuals with “less-than-traditional backgrounds” in the innovative work the Lab is doing, and the first class is quite impressive, including the likes of chess grandmaster Maurice Ashley and director J.J. Abrams.

“Our new Director’s Fellows initiative creates a way for these extraordinary individuals to take part in Media Lab research alongside our faculty and students,” Ito wrote in a blog post introducing the fellows. “We’re bringing a cohort of characters from a broad range of sectors and geographies to join us in doing collaborative research and to expand our growing global community. The fellows will not only work with the Lab’s students and faculty, but also with each other.”

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Here’s the full list of the first class of Director’s Fellows:

Director/producer J. J. Abrams;

Chess grandmaster Maurice Ashley;

Fashion designer Christopher Bevans;

Nairobi-based technologists/activists David Kobia and Juliana Rotich;

Open education advocate Philipp Schmidt;

Detroit community activist Shaka Senghor;

Maker movement advocate Jeff Sturges; and

Author and comedian Baratunde Thurston.

Which fellow has you most excited? What new areas would you like to see the Media Lab boldly explore? Let me know at Hive@Boston.com, or follow the Hive on Twitter at @HiveBoston.