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Decolonisation of heritage sites through mixed reality performances

The project is a collaboration between academic researchers, heritage organisations, and mixed reality developers in UK and US and it will explore ways of fusing Theatre and Mixed Reality design to create immersive heritage performances that support the decolonisation of heritage sites with a focus on underrepresented stories of the 18th century transatlantic slave trade.

The research will exemplify a model for interdisciplinary collaboration that brings together historians, immersive technology designers, digital storytellers, performance makers, cultural heritage researchers, on-site staff, and marginalised communities at each heritage site. It will expand on the existing collaboration between heritage professionals and theatre makers, by opening live heritage performance to the use of Mixed Reality (MR) technologies. 

The research will further future transatlantic industry innovation by providing heritage professionals, and their creative industry partners, with two toolkits:

1) a design framework to help ideate and develop, in collaboration with technologists, experiences that use MR and live performance to reframe complicated and uncomfortable histories that serve to challenge hegemonic power structures at heritage sites.

2) a training toolkit for heritage staff and performers, that can help the heritage industry build digital capacity, create sustainable engagement with hybrid technological experiences as tools for decolonising museum sites, teach them innovative theatrical techniques in working with MR platforms, and explore emerging digital and performance skill sets and roles.

Project partners

Dr Barbara Mathews, Director, Historic Deerfield and Dr Vangelis Lympouridis, CEO, Enosis VR

Decolonisation of heritage sites through mixed reality performances

Meet the Principal Investigator(s) for the project

Dr Mariza Dima
Dr Mariza Dima - Mariza is a Reader in Games Design. She specialises in User Experience and User Interface design for developing meaningful and engaging interactions particularly using mobile, AR and haptic technologies. She has worked between academia and the creative industries as an interaction designer and creative technologist in R&D projects combining engineering and design approaches grounded on theoretical contexts of narrative, affective dramaturgy, and audience/player engagement. Her reseech interests are in experience design methdologies for cyber-physical environments, and applied games for social innovation (live action, role playing, digital). A keen knowledge hunter, she is often inspired by and experiments playfully with perspectives from different fields that could offer a useful alternative lens on user experience design and then turns them into a tool for designing engaging experiences. Her design approach is holistic and experiential where the designer embeds and immerses herself in a collaborative design process and views it as an educational and transformative experience rather than participating in it as a design expert. She also consults on strategies for devising and developing digital projects and user interactions in the creative industries and has expertise in design methods for collaboration and co-creation.

Partnering with confidence

Organisations interested in our research can partner with us with confidence backed by an external and independent benchmark: The Knowledge Exchange Framework. Read more.

Project last modified 10/01/2024