Masters by Research opportunities

XR Stories is pleased to be able to offer a number of funding opportunities for Masters by Research projects. Please see below for information about current opportunities.

MSc by Research studentship: Lag-free audio communication in a multi-user virtual reality environment – a collaborative Masters by Research between New Moon Studios, XR Stories and the University of York Department of Electronic Engineering AudioLab.
Application deadline: 31 July

Stories in the Sky

Augmented, Virtual and Mixed Reality are increasingly being used at heritage sites and also in the medium of story-telling, and the screen industries are making exciting advances in this area. This studentship based in the Department of Archaeology (University of York) will allow testing of how audiences interact with immersive storytelling through a case study focussed on Sheffield’s Park Hill Flats – Europe’s largest listed building and undergoing radical redesign by award-winning urban regeneration specialists Urban Splash. You will undertake primary research on the stories of the residents, working with the Park Hill Flats Residents’ Association, and will undertake a feasibility study to create a prototype AR experience for smartphone app. Regeneration is creating a diverse community, in a building that embodies a strong sense of local identity in Sheffield and regional identity in Yorkshire; Park Hill thus offer an ideal testing ground for this new form of story-telling, given the community of long-term residents, socially aspirant newcomers, students, owner occupiers and social housing tenants. For over 50 years the flats have been re-imagined in visual narratives delivered through a range of screen and other media, and this is an exciting opportunity to explore in microcosm the potential for immersive experiences to challenge how Yorkshire’s regional identity is experienced and articulated. The MRes is timely given the critically-acclaimed Chris Bush/Richard Hawley musical Standing at the Sky’s Edge, which premiered at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre in 2019; it portrayed three overlapping timelines, and interwoven stories of Park Hill residents, set in one flat and bound together by the power of place, imagined futures and shattered dreams. The Park Hill Residents Association are enthusiastic to contribute their stories to ongoing re-conceptualisation of Park Hill; are starting to tell these stories to organised tours of the building for diverse audiences interested in photography, architecture or heritage, and school groups. A feasibility study for an interactive platform for capturing and disseminating these stories, with capacity for the user to consume and combine the stories of their choice would provide the Residents’ Association with additional resources and facilitate access to their community through a mobile digital platform.

You will be supervised by Prof. Dawn Hadley and Dr Catriona Cooper, with co-supervision provided by Nick Bax from Sheffield-based creative industries sector SME Human, where a short placement will also be undertaken. You will also have the additional support of staff from the York XR Stories team; XR Stories is a £15 million investment by AHRC, the University of York, BFI and Screen Yorkshire and a wide range of creative and cultural industries partners and Yorkshire Universities, set up to understand and exploit the potential of immersive and interactive technologies for storytelling. The Dept. of Archaeology will provide training in digital modelling, user interface design and community engagement to prepare you for your research project, and you will develop your technological skill-set through a placement with Human, based in the Park Hill Flats.

Eligibility

Applicants may be of any nationality, and have an undergraduate or Masters degree in a relevant subject. Fees will be paid at the Home/EU level (Overseas applicants would be required to meet the difference between the Home/EU fee and the Overseas fee) and there is a maintenance stipend equivalent to the UKRI rate. The studentship is available from 1st October 2019, and must be taken up no later than the 1st December 2019. It is for one academic year and must be taken up full time.

How to apply

Please email a covering letter (no more than 2 pages of A4) expressing your interest in and suitability for this studentship along with a CV detailing your academic record and any relevant work experience to Ms Helen Chan (Postgraduate Administrator) by Wednesday 31st July. This should be emailed to Helen.Chan@York.ac.uk; please put ‘XR Stories MRes’ as the subject. Interviews are expected to take place in York on Tuesday 6th or Wednesday 7th August, 2019.

This MA by Research is subject to the Department’s regulations: https://www.york.ac.uk/archaeology/postgraduate-study/research-postgrads/research-degrees/mabyresearch/


 

Digital Storytelling with Amarna3D

This funded studentship, based at the Department of Archaeology at the University of York will explore digital visual storytelling using Amarna3D (http://www.amarna3d.com/). Amarna3D is an immensely detailed and archaeologically rich virtual recreation of the main city complex of the ancient Egyptian city of Akhetaten (modern day Amarna), birthplace of Tutankhamun and short-lived capital city of Egypt (1353-1336 BCE). The city has a fascinating history and is also the location where the famous bust of Nefertiti was discovered. Created initially as an independent research project, it was further enhanced by data from the official findings of the Egypt Exploration Society and the present day Amarna expedition team. An emerging challenge within archaeology is to engage in digital visual storytelling; though the model of Amarna is extensively realised, it remains an environment relatively empty of people and stories.

You will undertake research that explores modes of storytelling using the existing Amarna3D models to comprise a VR experience, with a specific output as a second screen experience to explore the site. This is an ideal case study to enhance and translate existing archaeological models to more interactive storytelling environments. The primary research questions are: 1) How can storytelling be introduced to VR reconstructions of archaeological sites? 2) Can reconstructions of archaeological sites be repurposed for storytelling? 3) Can future virtual reconstructions of archaeological sites incorporate elements that make them more suited for repurposing by the creative digital industry?

You will be supervised by Dr Colleen Morgan and BetaJester partner Ryan Lay, who has extensive experience in creating engaging VR and AR experiences. There will be additional support of staff from XR Stories. The Department of Archaeology will provide training in digital modelling user-interface design, and critical, theory-based interpretation and storytelling in archaeology.

Eligibility

Applicants may be of any nationality, and have an undergraduate or Masters degree in a relevant subject. Fees will be paid at the Home/EU level (Overseas applicants would be required to meet the difference between the Home/EU fee and the Overseas fee) and there is a maintenance stipend equivalent to the UKRI rate. The studentship is available from 1st October 2019, and must be taken up no later than the 1st December. It is for one academic year and must be taken up full time.

How to apply

Please email a covering letter (no more than 2 pages of A4) expressing your interest in and suitability for this studentship along with a CV detailing your academic record and any relevant work experience to Ms Helen Chan (Postgraduate Administrator) by Wednesday 31st July. This should be emailed to Helen.Chan@York.ac.uk; please put ‘XR Stories MRes’ as the subject. Interviews will be held by Skype in the second week of August.

This MA by Research is subject to the Department’s regulations: https://www.york.ac.uk/archaeology/postgraduate-study/research-postgrads/research-degrees/mabyresearch/