The project

This transdisciplinary project, led by Dr Joanna Bucknall, is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

It is bringing together researchers from the disciplines of sociology, digital technologies and performance to collaborate with cultural partners from the performance industry, creative economy and the public sector to develop a hybrid prototype immersive experience.

The project is a direct response to the growing global refugee crisis and the recent events surrounding Brexit. More specifically, the project aims to develop a mode of representation to challenge dominant and negative representations of refugees and asylum seekers (RAS) in UK culture.

The project will develop:

  • An innovative, hybrid and interactive approach to documenting audiences’ initial perceptions and attitudes towards RAS. 
  • An integrated three-part prototype immersive performance experience that provides the opportunity for audiences to affectively inhabit the narratives of RAS’ experience of the UK immigration and asylum-seeking system, in order to affect a shift in participants’ perception of the UK RAS bureaucratic and legal processes.
  • User-led approaches to capturing any shifts in audiences’ perceptions and attitudes towards RAS and the UK RAS system that occur in or as a direct result of the prototype immersive experience.

The prototype immersive performance experience will use live and digital elements to create an augmented reality experience that will provide an audience with a journey through an interactive performance environment. This will bring to life RAS’ case studies and experiences researched by the team.

Data will be collected during, and as part of the performance, to give an insight into the audience-participants’ opinions, thoughts, feelings around the UK asylum systems, as well as collecting the participants reactions to the experience itself.

The audience-participant's attitudes towards RAS will be collected upon entering as part of the performance experience. These will then be revisited towards the end of their experience to once again record their attitudes to RAS. Thus, the final section of the participants’ experience will capture any shifts that might have occurred in their attitude towards RAS as a direct result of the immersive performance experience.

Corpus Quod has four research concerns that underpin the project’s objectives:

  1. How can hybrid interdisciplinary strategies, (AR, gamification, performance and theatre) be employed to capture the attitudes of audience-participants to form a living archive?
  2. In what ways can immersion, interactivity, game-play and AR be exploited to create the opportunity for (syn)aesthetic access to RAS experiences?
  3. How might providing that sort of empathetic access be employed to shift attitudes and dominant negative representations in the UK?
  4. In what ways can audience-participants’ experience of immersive performance be captured in a (syn)aesthetically sympathetic mode?

The ultimate goal is to explore a proof-of-concept for an immersive hybrid performance mode that can be used by third sector beneficiaries to promote the positive representation of RAS heritage in British culture; but perhaps more significantly as a tool for training and lobbying policy makers The research will pioneer approaches to capturing and disseminating interactive and immersive audience-participants experiences.