Professor Shankar Srinivas, Dr Tomoko Watanabe, and Dr Claudio Cortes Rodriguez presented the collaboratively developed virtual reality experience to the young people of Body Politic, a dance group involved in the Shaping Destiny project.
Shaping Desiny is a public engagement project led by Professor Srinivas and Dr Watanabe in collaboration with Professor Wes Williams, Director of TORCH, to raise awareness of the biology underpinning our form, and the different perceptions of form, to the local Oxford community.
This Spring, Shaping Destiny engaged with two community youth groups - Body Politic, a local hip hop dance group, and Parasol Project, a charity for disabled and differently abled young people - to co-create movement pieces based on research concepts from the Srinivas and Williams groups. The young peoples’ movements were inspired by biology and humanities research on dynamic biology, and historical understanding and perceptions of human forms. Working with VR specialist Kostas Pataridis of Andromeda Software Development and the Alexander Whitley Dance Company, the young people’s movements were digitised to create an interactive and immersive VR experience.
The VR experience was launched at IF Oxford in October 2022 by Professor Srinivaas and Dr Shifaan Thowfeequ, where they engaged visitors about how the body forms, from dynamic embryonic development processes to historical perceptions.
On 21 November 2022, the DPAG team were joined by Professor Williams, TORCH project officer Jane Castree, Kostas Pataridis, and Megan Goundry-Napthine, a student volunteer. They showcased the VR experience at Pegasus Theatre as a second major engagement to the general public following IF Oxford.