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Karen Abe

media artist, creative producer & community organizer

Karen Abe (she/they) is a Hawaiʻi born media artist, creative producer, and community organizer with a passion for leveraging creativity as a catalyst for social change. Grounded in a background in legislative work, Karen utilizes her expertise in video, graphic, and interactive design to craft impactful narratives that challenge societal norms and spark audience curiosity.

With a B.A. from the University of Southern California’s Media Arts + Practice program, Karen stands at the helm as the CEO and Creative Director of PROD K CREATIVE — a multimedia agency dedicated to uplifting local businesses and non-profits through innovative storytelling. In addition, Karen champions collaboration and accessibility as a Project Manager for open-source initiatives like the Processing Foundation and Open Source Arts Contributors Conference Organizer Committee. If not at her decorated work-desk, you can find Karen playing pickleball with her local Aunties or sunbathing on Hawaii's shores.


As exemplified in her BA thesis project “A Home: Not Paradise,” and upcoming workshop at the ACM (Association of Computing Machinery) CHI conference, Karen has a passion for leading research-based projects exploring critical issues such as settler colonialism, militarism, and tourism in Hawaiʻi. Through her endeavors, Karen aims to challenge dominant historical narratives and advocate for marginalized voices within her community.


A testament to her dedication and talent, Karen's work has garnered recognition, including being named a finalist for Digital Entertainment Group's Hedy Lamarr Award for Innovation in Entertainment Technology. Yet, what truly sets Karen apart is her unwavering commitment to her home community. With seven years of advocacy and leadership experience in Hawaiʻi, Karen has championed multiple environmental bills in the Hawaiʻi and in 2020, she was appointed by the Speaker of the House as one of the 15 inaugural members of the Hawaiʻi State Youth Commission, serving as a vital youth voice in legislation.

How my friends would describe me...

Answers blindly collected from people from all parts of my life! 

Selected Awards and Grants

Valedictorian/Salutatorian Candidate, University of Southern California | 2023

USC Provost's Award, University of Southern California | 2023

Finalist for Hedy Lamarr Achievement Award, Digital Entertainment Group | 2022

Creative Code Collective Summer Lab, USC Humanities in a Digital World Program | 2022

USC Sacks Family Endowed Student Support Fund | 2022 - 2023 School Year

Richard Sohn Memorial Endowed Scholarship | 2021 - 2022 School Year

KUPU Hawaiʻi Youth Sustainability Challenge Winner | October 2017

Talks, Workshops, & Press

Open Source Arts Contributors Conference | Denver, CO | April 2023 & 2024

Ethics of Tourism Workshop | Hawaiʻi State Youth Commission (Remote) | Nov 2022

Watanabe Naomi Podcast Episode #2 | Spotify | Oct 2021

Discussion Facilitator for Youth Public Policy Forum | Hawai'i + Remote | May 2020

Guest Teacher Summer Programs 1st Grade Class | ‘Iolani School | Summer 2019

Hawaiʻi Conservation Convention | Honolulu, HI | August 2018

Workshop Host at KAIS International School | Tokyo, Japan | June 2018

Featured Youth Activist | Kokua Foundation | June 2018

Ted-Ed| Hālau 'Īnana| May 2018

March for Our Lives Student Presenter | Ala Moana Magic Island Park | April 2018

School Wide Walk-Out against Gun Violence| 'Iolani School | March 2018
Global Issues Network Conference | Kailua, HI | March 2018 

Production Assistant Work

CBS Television | Adele One Night Only 2022

Academy Awards | OSACRS 2021

GoFundMe | #StopAAPIHate Campaign 2021

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