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Inaugural Centralised VR Lab gives First Nations screen creatives hands-on experience in immersive storytelling

30 May 2022
Centralised VR Lab participants Jermaine Hampton and Shania Richards.

First Nations screen creatives from South Australia and the Northern Territory took a deep dive into virtual reality at Adelaide Studios last month as part of the Centralised Immersive Storytelling Lab 2022.

Running from 13 to 18 May at the SAFC’s Adelaide Studios, the Lab took First Nations practitioners through the latest immersive storytelling technologies with expert guidance and mentoring, so they could devise and develop their own interactive virtual reality (VR) projects.

Facilitated by Tom Millen and Mark Atkin of London based VR and interactive media company Crossover Labs, the six-day residential workshop offered participants the opportunity to work in teams to produce a functioning prototype VR experience that could be shown as a “proof of concept” to future funders and investors, as well as upskilling and education in the field.

The Lab also featured expert input by VR practitioners Oscar Raby of Melbourne VR studio VRTOV, and Melbourne based VR producer Emma Roberts, with SA industry expert Anton Andreacchio of Jumpgate VR also presenting to participants at the Lab’s opening Immersive Storytelling Inspiration Day.

SAFC First Nations Industry Development Executive Nara Wilson said: “The Centralised Immersive Storytelling Lab was a great success, and I’m certain that the engagement and new relationships formed from the workshop will result in some terrific short term and long term benefits for our participants and the industry at large”.

Presented by the SAFC, Screen Territory, Screen Australia’s First Nations Department and AFTRS Indigenous, with additional support from South Australian filmmaker Peter Hanlon, the lab was held under the banner of Centralised, a cross-state initiative to accelerate First Nations screen creatives in SA and NT with tailored funding, support, and development opportunities.

London-based Crossover Labs are internationally celebrated VR and interactive media experts who have curated high profile immersive exhibitions and industry conference programs around the world, including CPH:DOX, Copenhagen; EyeMyth, Mumbai; the Bergen International Film Festival; Global Health Film Festival, Barbican; Sheffield Doc/Fest, and Electric Dreams at the Adelaide Fringe (2020-2022). They also produced the BBC’s first original VR commission Easter Rising: Voice of a Rebel, and a series of cinematic musical documentaries that have been featured at MoMA in New York, and at London’s Royal Academy of Arts and The Barbican.

Check out the photos from the workshop below – all photos by Naomi Jellicoe.

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