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


Six creatives with a making practice experimented with immersive technology, individually and in collaboration for two months (March – April 2021). Learn about the ways in which they have applied virtual reality applications and used immersive technologies to think about new ways to prototype work, collaborate at distance, and share craft processes and creations in the recordings from the Phase 1 dissemination event that took place on Wednesday 28 April 2021.

We are grateful for the enthusiastic participation in Phase 1 by Inge Panneels (glass artist), Maija Nygren (Alma Borealis, knitwear designer), Eleanor Symms (jeweller), Kate Livingstone (visual artist & surface pattern designer), Chris Hunt (fashion & interiors; pottery) and Chris Harrison (lighting sculpture). What a journey!

Phase 1 was funded by Creative Informatics via the University of Edinburgh.


We are looking for eight makers to join us over a period of seven months to experiment with immersive technology. We will provide the technology for to you to use as you wish. We will introduce the technology to you through a series of guided workshops, where we will describe the applications available on the headset and ways to work with these alone or in collaboration with others. The content of these workshops will evolve to accommodate the needs you identify as you explore your practice within the immersive technology space. You will then be matched with another maker into a collaborative pairing, which will allow you to learn together and consider how you share information and experiences with each other. We will come together monthly throughout the project to share what has been learned, and you will document your learning to share with the wider making community.

Watch and listen to the experiences of Maija Nygren, participant in Phase 1, and find information on applying for Phase 2 below.

How to Apply

Applications for DISTANCE2 are now closed and applicants will be notified of the outcome on Wednesday 19 May 2021.

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