BIG and the Public VR Lab Launch First National Collaborative Project to Capture Immigration Stories in Virtual Reality

Immigration Timeline in XR

Brookline Interactive Group (BIG) and its project, the Public VR Lab, are proudly launching the first of many parts of their Immigration in Full Frame project, the first national Virtual Reality (VR) filmmaking collaborative, which is curating immigration stories of Americans from pre-1620 through 2018 and incorporating them into a visual XR timeline. On Friday, Sept. 14, they are offering a sneak peak of 360 and VR stories created locally from families have recently migrated to America and others who have been here hundreds of years.

Their Brookline and Boston-based work is part of a national project titled Arrival: Immigration in Full Frame and is comprised of a diverse cohort of over 15 artists, librarians, journalists, media practitioners and filmmakers from Alaska to North Carolina to Maine. This project will create the first immersive experience of immigration stories in 360/VR, collected from immigrant families arriving in 1620 to present-day United States as well as First Nation families who have migrated throughout North America and within the U.S. This immersive storytelling project demonstrates the broad diversity and beauty of American immigration, the ways we might re-imagine migration, and outlines a visual narrative of where and how Americans came together. Thus, everyone, whether they just immigrated to the United States, has family roots in this country that go back for centuries, or whose family arrived some time in between, is welcome to participate in this project by sharing their family’s immigration story.

While the first component of this project includes deeply compelling 360 and VR stories, Immigration in Full Frame is also ultimately building the field of Community XR through the development of story-based curriculum and production strategies for emerging media practitioners, and through the distribution of an XR experience at film festivals, community screenings with facilitated public discussions, and as a participatory StoryCorps-style installation at museums and at arts and cultural organizations.

BIG and The Public VR Lab will also be showcasing the first release of stories in their container at Hubweek from Wednesday, Oct. 10 through Sunday, October 14, 2018. In addition to watching these stories, visitors will also have the opportunity to share their own families’ immigration stories on film as part of an interactive component of BIG’s exhibit. These new stories will be included in the XR timeline, which is scheduled to launch as a separate immersive project in late 2019-early 2020.

“Nearly all Americans were once immigrants or migrants, but this project will view our individual immigration stories through the lens of history, the stories of local residents, and in the context present-day U.S. experiences of immigration. While these experiences have varied based on what was allowable at that time period, federal policies, what the obstacles were, and the unique passages taken to arrive on the shores of America, we are all Americans and have an arrival story,” said Kathy Bisbee, the Arrival product’s producer/director, executive director at BIG and co-founder of the Public VR Lab.

In addition, Aakanksha Gupta, a fellow at the Public VR Lab and recent graduate of Emerson College, has launched a Community Storytelling Guide as a resource to support storytellers and media-makers as they interview migrants who want to share their stories online in journalism stories. The guide is designed to help interviewers be better prepared to work with a wide range of migrants and effectively capture the details and nuance of their stories.

“This is especially important in the U.S., a country built on voluntary and involuntary migration,” says Gupta. “Through this guide, I want to help storytellers learn how to be more inclusive and responsible, and to help keep minority communities safe.”

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About Brookline Interactive Group (BIG):

Brookline Interactive Group (BIG) is an integrated media and technology education center and a community media hub for Brookline, MA and the region. BIG facilitates diverse community dialogue, incubates and funds hyperlocal storytelling, arts, journalism and technology projects, and serves over 500 youth and adults annually through innovative classes and partnerships. BIG offers extensive multimedia training, Virtual Reality (VR) and 360-video cameras and training, access to high quality filmmaking equipment, production grants, and provides low-cost professional media services to non-profit organizations, education partners, businesses, and to local government.

About the Public VR Lab

The Public VR Lab is growing a field for Community XR that promotes accessibility, digital inclusion, and diversity. The Lab is disrupting traditional media communications in community-based civic media, journalism and arts, cultural and educational organizations by providing XR Toolkits, equipment, training, cohorts, artists residencies, fellowships and content in the public interest. The Lab is a project of Brookline Interactive Group, a next generation public access community media arts center.

Contact Person: Kathy Bisbee
Company Name: Brookline Interactive Group
Telephone Number: 617-731-8566
Email Address:
Website address:

Source: Brookline Interactive Group


Categories: Educational Technology, Multi-Media

Tags: Brookline Interactive Group, immersive, immigration, Public VR Lab, storytelling, virtual reality, VR

About The Public VR Lab at Brookline Interactive Group (BIG)

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The Public VR Lab is the next iteration of participatory community media in VR/360/AR; Growing next generation of content creators in the public interest, digital inclusion & collaborative exploration. Project of Brookline Interactive Group (BIG).

The Public VR Lab at Brookline Interactive Group (BIG)
46 Tappan St
Brookline, MA 02445
United States