wAVE Immersive Experiences in Museums

The wAVE (AVE = Augmented and Virtual Experiences) Immersive Experiences in Museums Project is funded by the Coastal Communities Fund. The project brings together Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly’s coastal communities, heritage centres and academic experts to develop new and engaging virtual, augmented and immersive reality experiences within the five participating communities of Bude, Looe, St Agnes, Porthcurno and the Isles of Scilly.

wAVE has been developed by Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, Cornwall Museums Partnership, and Falmouth University. It aims to use Cornwall’s distinctive heritage to support digital innovation and economic diversification in five coastal communities by maximising Cornwall’s digital infrastructure, skills, and heritage for the benefit of the local economy.

The county’s distinct history coupled with its growing immersive-tech sector, presents a unique opportunity to position Cornwall at the forefront of the transformative potential of such technology.

wAVE follows three strands:

Digital Revival – Innovative technologies developed with Falmouth University’s research experts – such as VR headsets, HD projection, CGI and more – will allow visitors to explore heritage sites, see artefacts in their original settings and meet historical figures in new immersive visitor experiences.

Human-Centred Design – Working with staff, volunteers, and communities to ensure that the experiences meet the needs of their future users.

Impact and Legacy – wAVE will raise the profile of Cornwall’s unique culture and heritage offer. Local communities will be involved in a programme of digital training to allow wider tourism businesses to harness the opportunity presented by immersive technology. Allowing local people to add value to their businesses through future-proofing their offer by differentiating their product, becoming more visible and accessing new virtual experiences to entice new visitors.

The augmented and mixed reality experiences will be co-developed with the five participating communities to interpret the areas’ diverse cultural heritage in new ways. The aim is to provide enjoyable, contemporary and inclusive virtual experiences which will strengthen the local economies.

A further strand of the project will strengthen knowledge-sharing and digital skills development across Cornwall to help future-proof the visitor economy and develop a blueprint for replication across the UK.

The heritage of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly is extraordinarily rich but is at times under-promoted and inaccessible. wAVE seeks to redress this by bringing together technologists, research experts, creative industries and local community networks to take visitors on an interactive and immersive journey into the past, presenting new opportunities for year-round international and domestic tourism.

The experiences will launch at the various museums between August 2019 and December 2020.

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