The DISTANCE Project (Digital Immersive Technologies and Craft Engagement) offers makers opportunities to collaborate and to share experiences and objects in new and exciting ways through immersive digital technologies.

A woman wearing a VR headset stands with her hands outstretched in front of a 3D dress created using VR applications. Above her is the text Digital Immersive Technologies and Craft Engagement <DISTANCE>.

This project builds on our experiences of supporting international, cross-cultural residencies and the Scottish making community throughout lockdown periods during the global pandemic of 2020-21. Through this, we recognised the clear need for makers to share their skills, processes and creations with a range of audiences and colleagues at distance. This might be with an international collaborator when you cannot travel or with someone in the same street during periods of physical distancing.

Immersive digital technologies offer opportunities to collaborate and to share experiences and objects in new and exciting ways. Through collaboration with Soluis Heritage, a recognised innovator in enabling access to digital experiences and content for audiences of all kinds, this project aims to provide an accessible introduction to immersive technologies. We will explore the ways in which makers could and would want to use immersive technology to engage themselves and others with their craft practice.

Soluis Heritage testing VR headset and controllers for DISTANCE Project

The Project

The aim of the DISTANCE project is to introduce accessible immersive technology to makers – in the form of virtual reality headsets pre-loaded with a range of creative applications – in order to assess the ways in which makers do and might use it to share aspects of their craft practice:

  • What aspects of craft practice do makers want to be able to share, and with who?
  • (How) does the available technology support makers to do this? What are its limitations?
  • What aspects of makers’ practice cannot be shared in this environment, as currently available?
  • What else might makers need (in terms of equipment, applications, training) to support any ongoing use of immersive technologies?
  • What, if any, of this would makers consider adopting as a routine part of their practices?

Participating makers’ learning, findings and responses to these questions, as well as any others that arise, will be collected during the project and will be shared with the wider making community.

Virtual dress created using Tilt Brush 3D software package

Call for Makers – Phase 1 – OPEN NOW

To help us answer the above questions, we are initially looking for six makers to join us for a period of two months (March – April 2021) to experiment with the immersive technology, individually and in collaboration. Participating makers will be provided with the necessary technology, primarily a virtual reality headset to use as they wish, and will be introduced to it through worksheets and online workshops. Participating makers will be paid for one day’s work at Scottish Artist Union rates.

To be eligible to apply for phase 1, makers must live or work within one of the six local authority areas that make up the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal area: Edinburgh, East Lothian, West Lothian, Midlothian, Borders or Fife. This is in line with funding for this first phase of this project from Creative Informatics via the University of Edinburgh.

How to Apply

Information about eligibility, selection, the project timeline, the application process, and who to contact with any questions about this opportunity is provided in the ‘DISTANCE 1 – Call for Makers’ document, available in standard or large text.

The deadline for applications is 18:00 on Sunday 24 January 2021.

Call for Makers – Phase 2 – COMING SOON

A call for eight makers from across Scotland to participate in phase 2 of this project (running over six months) will be available here in March 2021. Details to follow.

Phase 2 is supported by The National Lottery through Creative Scotland.