Immersed Audiences: Evaluating and designing tech to understand audiences

As the adoption of immersive technologies within the creative and cultural industries continues to grow, audience care, enjoyment and experience become central considerations in technology development.

Shaped by research from the CREATE Lab at the University of Bath - and further across the Bristol + Bath Creative R+D programme - this panel places a spotlight on work that enhances our understanding of audience engagement with virtual reality (VR) and within immersive experiences. Exploring not only what audiences experience psychologically when using immersive technologies, but also how we can employ immersive technologies to measure audience engagement and enjoyment when consuming cultural content.

The Panel:

Professor Danaë Stanton Fraser is Director of the CREATE Lab in Human Computer Interaction at the University of Bath. Her research focuses on the design and evaluation of mobile, virtual and pervasive technologies. Danae was an investigator on the EPSRC Virtual Realities project carrying out lab-based and “in the wild” studies of non fiction VR and is an investigator on the AHRC Cluster Bristol and Bath Creative R&D evaluating audiences’ experiences of creative content and immersive technologies using a range of behavioural and physiological measures. Danaë’s work is underpinned by a process of co-design with end users and industrial partners in the development and evaluation of technologies.

Professor Mandy Rose is Professor of Documentary & Digital Cultures in the School of Film & Journalism at UWE Bristol. She is Co-Investigator on the EPSRC Virtual Realities: Immersive Documentary Encounters project which interrogates the application of virtual reality for nonfiction. Her research into VR and nonfiction is reflected in articles in Studies in Documentary Film, World Records and Convergence .

Mandy spent the first twenty years of her working life in TV and film production, as a sound recordist, producer, director in documentary and factual television. In the early nineties she co-founded and series-produced the ground-breaking BBC 2 project Video Nation.

Dr Matthew Freeman is Reader in Multiplatform Media at Bath Spa University, where he is Co-Director of The Centre for Media Research. Outside of academia, he is Director of the newly launched Immersive Promotion Design, a new consultancy designed for the XR world that supports VR, AR and MR creatives and businesses to better communicate with their audience about the magic of immersive content.

Professor Iain Gilchrist is Head of School, School of Psychological Science, University of Bristol. His research focuses on how humans gather information about their environment and uses physiological markers such as heart rate and eye tracking to understand how audiences respond to immersive environments. He applies this research to the world of immersive technology working with BBC R&D to use these methods to measure whether people feel immersed or not in the immersive environments.