Update – STUDIO LAB – VR maker and exhibition space

Creative Futures are delighted to share the update below from Louise Colbourne (Course leader for MA Graphic Design at the University of Brighton) on her exciting VR maker and exhibition space know as the “Studio Lab Project” that has been co-supported by Creative Futures and the Schools of Art and Media here at the University of Brighton.

The aim of this research and enterprise project was to explore new horizons from my own curatorial initiatives, whilst being able to introduce researchers within the Schools of Art and Media to the creative potential of VR via an accessible, web-based platform. After some changes of the initial plans, the project has developed well and is now entering the second phase of development as a VR maker and exhibition space.

Development installations made to test the boundaries of Mozilla Hubbs

We are developing a process of accessibility that allows relative ease for makers to be able to work with tools and gain enough basic knowledge to create VR studio/gallery spaces and experiences. These spaces, places and environments are shareable and interactive through the use of the Mozilla Hubs platform. With this platform it is possible to use a broad range of software to make 3D digital objects and assets to import, along with existing digital images and videos, to create immersive virtual installations or exhibition designs. The ultimate aim is that this relatively simple in-road into creative VR will then inspire makers to utilise more specialised open source platforms such as Unity 3D, in order to make more sophisticated environments.

Development installations include video loops and 360 Photographs

Going forward, as each of the finished projects for the Studio Lab are completed they will then be housed on a dedicated website, where they can be viewed by anyone who would like to access them on a computer, tablet or even smart phones, with or without VR head-sets.

So far the project has enabled myself and others involved to explore the potential capabilities of this open source platform and to test what is possible. The first space we built was deliberately ‘over-loaded’ with content in order to push the boundaries and test the possibilities.

Scott Macpherson is the main developer collaborating on this project

We are now working with the artists David Blandy and Larry Achiampong to install one of their collaborative pieces; the Finding Fanon trilogy into the VR studio/gallery space. This installation is taking the form of various interactive rooms that are accessed by the visitor. Visitors will take on a basic avatar form to explore the work within a virtual environment which allows them to interact with other visitors in the space, which can potentially include the makers and artists (good for gallery tours). This virtual space has enabled a different collaborative curatorial experience between the developer, myself and the artists, who have stated that this an ‘exciting new development’ for their work.

The exhibition will launch in September 2020 and will showcase the possibilities of the new Studio Lab as a facility.

Preview image from the three rooms being developed for the installation of the Finding Fanon trilogy by David Blandy and Larry Achiampong

Louise Colbourne

Course leader for MA Graphic Design at the University of Brighton



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