Summary on the kick-off meeting of the project “Experience and immersive technologies – from creative practice to educational theory”, implemented under the ERASMUS+ programme

The kick-off meeting for the international project “Experience and immersive technologies – from creative practice to educational theory”, which will run until April 2023, was held on 2 June 2021.
Due to the restrictions related to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, the event took place in virtual space. The project is implemented with funds received under Action 2 “Strategic Partnerships for Digital Education in the Higher Education Sector” of the Erasmus+ programme and has received a grant of €212,187. The consortium implementing the project consists of four academic centers from Poland, Greece and Malta, i.e. the Jagiellonian University, the Leon Schiller National Higher School of Film, Television and Theatre in ?ód?, the Kapodistrias National University in Athens and the University of Malta. The project leader is the Institute of Culture of the Jagiellonian University. The international team is headed by Dr. Marta Materska-Samek, the project manager. The aim of the project is to develop scientific and didactic staff of the participating institutions, educational offer for artists and managers of culture and media in the field of new immersive technologies, i.e. augmented reality, virtual reality, mixed reality and ways to use them to engage audiences. The meeting was attended by staff, PhD students and undergraduates from the Jagiellonian University, the Leon Schiller National Higher School of Film, Television and Theatre in ?ód?, the Kapodistrias National University in Athens, and the University of Malta.

Moreover, the project aroused interest of the representatives of such institutions as: CinematicVR, Alvernia Planet, Goyki 3 Art Incubator from Sopot, The National Chamber of Audiovisual Producers, XR Association, Entertain Pictures and other universities. In total, the meeting was attended by over 60 people. The inaugural meeting of the project was divided into two parts. The first part was official and took place on the MS Teams platform. The meeting was officially opened by the Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Management and Social Communication, Prof. Krzysztof Loska. Then, the Director of the Institute of Culture of Jagiellonian University, Cezary Wo?niak, Ph. After welcoming the guests, the project manager, Dr. Marta Materska-Samek, spoke, introducing the idea of the project “Experience and immersive technologies – from creative practice to educational theory”. Dr. Materska-Samek also introduced the members of the team from the Institute of Culture and their role in the project. Apart from the staff members, students of the partner institutions were also invited to join the working groups and take part in the summer schools organized in Malta, Greece and Poland. After Dr Marta Materska-Samek’s speech, the floor was taken by the representatives of the partner institutions who presented their institutions. Dr Adnan Hadzi (Hadziselimovic) and Fabrizio Cali talked about the projects run by the University of Malta. In particular, they focused on the museum in La Valletta, where visitors can learn about the history of 16th century Malta using augmented reality. Dr. Dimitris Charitos spoke about the projects implemented by the team of the University of Athens, in which, among other things, virtual reality is used, such as the interactive art installations in the ATHsENSe project implemented since 2020. Dr. Krzysztof Pijarski together with Dr. Filip Gabriel Pud?o briefly introduced the history of the Leon Schiller National Higher School of Film, Television and Theatre in Lodz. They also talked about the creation of the Visual Narration Laboratory (VNLab), which includes the following laboratories: VR/AR Studio, S3D Studio, Perception and Audience Research Studio, Live Experience Studio, Film Essay Studio, Interactive Narration, Digital Publishing and UX Studio. The official part ended with a presentation by Dr Katarzyna Kope? from the Jagiellonian University’s Institute of Culture, during which she talked about the history of the Jagiellonian University, its potential, and in particular, she described the structure of the Faculty of Management and Social Communication and the Institute of Culture.

After the break, the participants again returned to the meeting on the MS Teams platform, from where those interested in the project could log on to the Gather platform. The Gather platform, like MS Teams, allows for real-time, webcam-based conversations, and there is also a chat facility. This part of the meeting was informal. The organizers of the meeting created a space imitating a coffee shop, which was divided into zones-tables, and their names corresponded to the names of the working groups to be created within the project:
– CinematicVR,
– Immersive experience – level 1,
– Immersive experience – level 2,
– Production management (workflow),
– Financing (green production, business models and European policies),
– Legal, social and political aspects of immersive media production.
Everyone logged in could move freely between the tables and take part in the discussion. Of particular interest were tables where the potential of production using augmented reality and virtual reality was discussed. The meeting inaugurating the project “Experience and immersive technologies – from creative practice to educational theory” was aimed at generating interest and an invitation to joint work on the implementation of tasks in separate working groups devoted to specific issues related to new immersive technologies.