The VR Diversity Initiative is a not-for-profit organisation. Led by Nina Salomons it aims to bring under-represented groups into the virtual reality (VR) space. This is done by offering selected participants an opportunity to get free hands-on with learning how to create a 360 film, or build a VR experience in software such as Unity. Several VR Diversity Initiative events have been planned for 2018, however the first one was hosted at Hobs Studio. Hobs Studio is the largest 3D printing company in the UK, and uses both VR and augmented reality (AR) for their projects. Amy Chao and Nina Salomons discuss the important of bringing under-represented groups into the space and how they hope to make the VR Diversity Initiative grow to help create a more inclusive space.
The VR Diversity Initiative had various supporters ranging from Barclays Eagle Lab, Innovate UK, Fred, the Realities Centre and Blue Hire to name a few. Twenty participants from under-represented groups were chosen to participate and learned how to create a 360 film as well as the basics of Unity.
Many participants felt more confident after participating in the VR Diversity Initiative and feel they are now able to either incorporate what they learned into their jobs or create their own immersive projects at home. The workshop leaders were also surprised to see that what most people really needed was confidence and a little guidance on how to get started. Amy Chao was one of the volunteers and supporters of the VR Diversity Initiative.
Chao says, “It’s super exciting to be here with the VR Diversity Initiative. Seeing so many people from diverse backgrounds and talents coming together, wanting to see how they can explore VR to create and innovate in their work.” She describers her personal background in design led her to see how various industries were overlapping and how she got involved in the VR Diversity Initiative in the video below.
VRFocus are keen on continuing the VR Diversity Initiative. Kevin Joyce, the CEO and editor of VRFocus explains that, “there’s a very high risk of slipping into the same rut that the games industry is in where they’re now crying out for people from diverse backgrounds. The VR industry being so youthful has the opportunity to get it right from the start.” He explains in further detail how VRFocus will be supporting it here.
The VR Diversity Initiative Kick-off event was an example of how future events will be held. Salomons says, “it’s really great to see there’s so many diverse people from different backgrounds who’ve come from outside of London to come specifically for this event.” The first event was a stepping stone to understanding how to improve the workshops in future to make it bigger and better. Salomons also hopes that by doing various VR Diversity Initiative events around the UK that they’ll be able to create and build a community that can help support one another on their journey into the industry.
If companies, developers or want to help support the Initiative please get in touch with the Nina Salomons.
Find out more in the video below.