South West Creative Technology Network - Immersion

The South West Creative Technology Network (SWCTN) is a £6.5 million project to expand the use of creative technologies across the south west of England.

The network offered three one-year funded programmes around the themes of immersion, automation and data. The immersion strand aimed to explore immersive experiences from multiple perspectives and in different domains. The strand ran from summer 2018 to summer 2019 and consisted of 27 paid research fellowships, 8 immersion prototypes and a number of £1000 small grants for immersion-related projects in the Bath area. It culminated in a showcase in July 2019.

SWCTN Immersion Fellows

Three of the academic Immersion Fellows were from Bath Spa University.

Three research fellows from the South West Creative Technology Network

  • Anthony Head explored the audience experience of different forms of immersion based around the project, Light Years: Coast. He applied different forms of immersive technology to the project to explore the effects of different levels and intensities of immersion. He also supervised the small immersion grant project, Wow! Museum, described below.
  • Sharon Clark looked at how creative digital technology might deliver anticipation and recall for an audience in an immersive theatre narrative. She aims to incorporate the research she has done into a new piece for her immersive theatre company Raucous, scheduled for production next year. She has also been awarded a fellowship with Magic Leap and the RSC.
  • Coral Manton explored how immersive technologies might enhance the curatorial work of museums, libraries and archives to engage audiences and researchers in sometimes complicated narratives surrounding collection objects and historic places, which led to a prototyping grant for the mixed reality app Shared Pasts - Decoding Complexity. Shared Pasts, which was showcased in July, allows the retelling of history from many more points of view. Coral is also involved with Re+ Collective’s automation prototype, Looking for the Cloud.

SWCTN – Small Immersion Grants Round Up

There have also been excellent results from the small £1000 immersion grants given out to local projects by the Centre for Creative & Cultural Industries on behalf of SWCTN.

  • Elena Hill, director of Artist Moving Image (AMI), visited the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Centre (EMPAC) in New York to extend and share work on Sanctuary/Cemetery, a project about elephant communication using spatialized sound and moving image.
  • Naomi Smyth developed a satirical university-inspired venue, Ivory Towers, for Boomtown Festival with Bath Spa students during SPA Week, a programme of extra curricular activities running 18 to 22 March 2019. She also worked with Ruth Farrar to create an immersive sound installation focusing on the creative process called The Writing Mind, for the Bath Literature Festival 2019. Naomi is now working on a PhD in Digital Placemaking funded by the Bristol + Bath Creative R+D project.
  • Juan Lopez from the architectural firm Stride Treglown, conducted two in-depth workshops with architects, town planners, academics and local interest groups to discuss the role of immersion within the town planning process. His findings will go on to frame a brief to create a prototype that uses new technologies to create a more inclusive, transparent, accurate and efficient planning process.
  • Alexandra de Sousa investigated the impact that the Rubber Hand Illusion has on creating a sense of presence for participants using a VR head mounted display and a haptic device.
  • Caroline Garland and Oliver Langdon from Kilter Theatre worked with a creative technician to find ways of embedding immersive technology within The Cubicle, an immersive theatre experience based on body image. The aim was to find ways of using creative technology to make interactive elements within the theatrical form more sustainable. They are continuing to explore ways of combining immersive technology within theatre with plans for a major touring piece later in the year.
  • Adam Doherty from Fitzroy Hawk explored the use of AR in the leisure and tourism industry.
  • Joseph Hyde engaged in aesthetic design with a multi-user VR project that combined dance, somatic practice, sound and an immersive environment with scientific exploration. This was an extension of work he is undertaking with University of Bath on Exploring Molecular Data with Immersive Technology: Interactive Sonification in Virtual Reality.
  • Emma Klasse and Anthony Head involved Bath Spa University students in a project with the Holburne Museum to 3D scan small artefacts in order to view them in AR and VR. Anthony Head then went on to create a VR experience, Wow! Museum, that was featured at the Forest of Imagination in Bath in June 2019 and the SWCTN Immersion Showcase in Bristol in July.

SWCTN Immersion Showcase

Woman doing a presentation about virtual reality

The SWCTN Immersion Showcase, on 12 July 2019 at the Watershed and Arnolfini in Bristol, was a great success with talks around the work that has been done by SWCTN on the theme of immersion, demonstrations of the prototypes funded by the network, and work created by SWCTN Immersion Fellows. These included Immersion Fellow Carol Manton’s prototype Shared Pasts – Decoding Complexity, an AR App that explores the complicated narratives surrounding collection objects and historic places.

You can download the SWCTN report on the state of immersive tech and culture today, Framing Immersion.

Disclaimer: The Bath Spa blog is a platform for individual voices and views from the University's community. Any views or opinions represented in individual posts are personal, belonging solely to the author of that post, and do not represent the views of other Bath Spa staff, or Bath Spa University as an institution.



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