The VR Diversity Initiative is a not-for-profit led by Nina Salomons and a handful of volunteers. It’s aimed at making XR technologies such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) more inclusive by introducing the technology to under-represented groups. One of the biggest barriers to entry for VR, AR and MR is simply not having access to the right hardware due to its expensive nature. By giving access to the right hardware and software, the hope is to give a little taster and confidence for those wishing to pursue a career in the field and grow the community. Here are some of the groups the VR Diversity Initiative is aiming at:
- African, Asian and Ethnic Minority
- Individuals with disabilities
- Lower income background
The last VR Diversity Initiative was held back in February at Hobs Studio. The feedback from participants have been positive with the majority of them saying that they’re confident enough to go and make their own VR projects after participating.
“Today I’ve experienced using a 360° camera for the first time. It was an amazing experience. I wasn’t sure if this was something I’d like to go into, but actually I would,” Linda Mason says.
“I was introduced to a program that I had never even heard of and I managed to create an interactive world for VR,” Said Charlotte Kemp, who worked together with another group member on Unity. “I learned so many things and I feel much more confident about entering this as a career.”
Cecilie Fjellhoy says, “It’s been really amazing, meeting so many great women and talented people that have taught me Unity and so I know the basics that I can go back to my work and actually make some experiences myself.”
May’s VR Diversity Initiative event will be held at Plexal, an innovation centre in East London and the largest innovation ecosystem in Europe. Operating similarly to February’s event, the VR Diversity Initiative will run through workshops. Participants will get hands-on with immersive technologies and learn how to build a rough prototype, whether it be on Unity or creating a 360 film. To get an idea of what was taught at the last event, you can read more here.
The May agenda will go roughly as follows:
10:00 – Introductions/speeches
10:30 – Workshop starts
13:00 – Lunch
13:30 – Workshop continues
17:00 – Projects showcase
18:00 – Finish
VRFocus are keen to continue growing the immersive community. Kevin Joyce, CEO and editor of VRFocus explains, “We want to ensure the VR industry continues to grow. We hope that by doing the VR Diversity Initiative, that all voices are heard and there are equal opportunities for everybody to be part of that future.”
As all participants attending are from under-represented groups, the hope is that companies working in immersive tech will partner with the VR Diversity Initiative, train and hire past participants for future roles. This in turn will not only help recruiters find talented and enthusiastic employees but also offer new perspectives to the medium.
To apply for participation in the next VR Diversity Initiative event, held on 8th May 2018, please complete the registration form. VRFocus will continue to offer more VR Diversity Initiative events throughout the year.