The last VR Diversity Initiative (VRDI) held on the 31st July was a huge success, with 80% of participants rating the workshop excellent. The VRDI is a one day free event for participants from under-represented groups and has grown in popularity amongst individuals looking to learn practical 360 film, Unity and Web VR skills.
Plexal hosted their second VR Diversity Initiative which ensured a relaxing, open and accessible space for learning. One attendee commented: “I found the atmosphere extremely good. The people teaching extremely giving and understanding of the different levels of people. The attendants extremely willing to learn. Perfect combination to make it a pleasurable experience.”
At the July session there were three workshops, each focusing on different XR elements. Asha Easton of Haptic Media, led the 360 film workshop. Teaching some basic theory of 360 filmmaking at the beginning of the day and providing a camera for the second part for participants to go and film their own projects with. Sam Perrin, director of Virtual Vault has been a returning Unity workshop leader, and taught the Unity VR workshop on his birthday. Setting up a rough project in Unity, which the participants had to re-create on their own laptop stations and HTC Vive Headsets. Ada Rose Cannon and Jo Franchtti, both Developer advocates helped participants create a project for Web VR. The final products could all be experienced using the Oculus Headsets.
VRDI aims at trying to make VR accessible for everybody, and the July workshop had many attendees attend who wanted to learn a new skill for the future, start their own company or incorporate it into their existing business. Marc Bond, a participant who has hydrocephalus & cerebral palsy, attended with his assistance dog, Neo. He said: “I felt confident coming to this workshop because for the first time I wasn’t the only disabled attendee. There were significant disabilities here for a change, people in wheelchairs, people that had visible conditions so for me it was fantastic.”
Ben Harris, SportsAble’s Community Fundraising Manager said, “it was the best day I’ve had in years”. After taking part in the 360 film workshop, he’s now bought four 360 film cameras and will be using them as a teaching aid to teach basketball classes to individuals with disabilities.
You can sign up to October’s workshop here. Make sure to share with friends who’ve wanted to make a 360 film or start up a new side of their business. This Initiative was supported by the Realities Centre, BlueHire, Oculus, The Case Farm, Barclays Eagle Lab and Innovate UK.