This week a Suffolk-based arts charity is celebrating a £47,000 National Lottery Project Grant through Arts Council England (see note 1), which will go towards delivering a pioneering new arts and wellbeing project in the East using virtual reality (VR) technology.
Suffolk Artlink will use the funds to develop ‘VR Adventures’, an arts programme that will bring immersive virtual reality experiences to benefit people in health and care settings in Suffolk and Norfolk.
This pilot project, in association with Google Arts & Culture, will focus on using VR technology to deliver participatory creative experiences to improve wellbeing in young people being cared for in hospitals and older people in residential homes.
Hayley Field, Suffolk Artlink Co-Director, explains: “VR is already being used therapeutically, but we are looking to develop its use in artist-led participatory practice – offering people the opportunity to creatively engage in VR experiences and be involved in developing their own with artists.
“Our multidisciplinary artist teams will deliver personalised virtual tours enhanced by the use of sensory and creative material to people in care homes and hospitals. Our participants will also work with artists to create new work together, such as poetry, painting or movement, that are then developed into VR experiences.”
“We are looking forward to exploring how creative VR experiences can support people in care settings, as well as developing the participatory practice of using VR in health and wellbeing initiatives to benefit even more people in the future.”
As part of the project, Suffolk Artlink will be joining arts organisations and collections from around the world as a Partner on the Google Arts & Culture platform. The Google Arts & Culture team will also train the artists delivering VR Adventures to use their Expeditions resources, which provide immersive virtual journeys of arts and cultural collections and places.
The project begins this month in hospitals and care homes across the East including Ipswich Hospital and the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital, and will run until January 2021.
For more information about Suffolk Artlink, visit www.suffolkartlink.org.uk.
1. Arts Council England supports arts and culture using public money from the Government and the National Lottery.
Arts Council National Lottery Project Grants is the Arts Council’s new open access programme for arts, museums and libraries projects. The fund will support thousands of individual artists, community and cultural organisations. www.artscouncil.org.uk/projectgrants
2. Suffolk Artlink is a participatory arts charity. We develop and deliver inclusive arts programmes in communities that bring skills, support networks, confidence and joy to people in the East. Our creative projects aim to help people transform their lives through the arts, and are delivered in places including community centres, hospitals and hospices, residential homes, refuges and schools. Our work is led by experienced arts practitioners, encompassing a rich variety of art forms, and is delivered in close partnership with care, education, voluntary and community organisations.
Registered charity number: 1110898
Company number: 05354844
Story by: Rachael Murray [email protected]