Immersive Networks Collective is an award-winning alliance of artists, scientists, and technologists. Leading experts in the development and delivery of creative labs, they help translate complex information into actionable understanding using immersive technologies. Immersive Networks work at the intersection of art, science, and technology in close collaboration with academic, public and private sector partners. They are our creative partners on the LivingBodiesObjects project, part of our core team, and will facilitate our creative work through their expertise in digital and immersive technologies.
Interplay Theatre is a community initiative developed in 1970 to create theatre for and with the communities of inner-city Leeds. Interplay’s mandate prioritises accessibility, cooperation and interaction, and they have evolved into a sensory theatre company specialising in immersive theatre productions that appeal to a wide range of embodiments and sensorial capacities. Interplay has significant experience developing theatre with and for people with disabilities both in their own theatre in Armley, Leeds, and in specialist mobile productions that visit special schools across the region. Interplay’s residency with LivingBodiesObjects will focus on the development of a piece of theatre for performance in local schools, and we will collaboratively explore how Interplay might better understand how audiences respond to their work.
Blueberry Academy is an organisation providing specialist support for adults with learning differences who have an aspiration to work and need to develop employment skills and experience. It provides personalised learning programmes and develops relationships with local and national employers in order to support unemployed adults into sustainable paid employment. Academy staff have a broad range of research interests related to health and wellbeing, disability and the design of health technologies. Through involvement with LivingBodiesObjects, they hope to address a specific set of questions related to how adults with learning differences might develop and utilise immersive technology representations of everyday lived experiences and better understand the educational potential and the mental health implications of engaging with virtual life experiences.
The BMA, based in Brighton, funds medical care, education and community support for survivors of the 1984 gas disaster in Bhopal, India, and the 150,000 people currently experiencing chronic illness due to ongoing toxicity in the community’s groundwater supply. It supports Sambhavna Clinic, which offers free healthcare for survivors and conducts epidemiological research into the disaster’s health effects, and Chingari Rehabilitation Centre, which provides free long-term care, special education and medical therapies for 200 disabled children every day. Our collaboration with the BMA will explore new ways of telling the story of Bhopal using digital media, aiming to raise awareness about the disaster and particularly about the health effects of groundwater contamination for new audiences and to upskill BMA staff in Brighton and Bhopal in digital storytelling methods. This residency involves collaboration with academics in India, including Dr Shalini Sharma (IISER Pune), and engagement with survivor organisations in Bhopal.
The Thackray Museum holds over 48,000 objects, 15,000 medical and healthcare trade catalogues, and 9,000 books, with strengths in surgical instruments, patent medicines, hospital and dental equipment, prosthetics and assistive devices, and audiology. The eleven permanent galleries, updated in 2020, include immersive experiences and material artefacts, and are aimed primarily at school and family audiences. The Thackray’s priorities in research and engagement have strong resonance with LivingBodiesObjects both in terms of their research focus on medical objects and devices and in their remit to empower groups with lower health outcomes to enhance their ‘medical capital’. The residency period will be focused on how to better mobilise their collections to inspire people’s agency within healthcare, with a particular emphasis on creative performance and young people’s experiences and perceptions of health and medicine.