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Co-Creation of VR and 360 Video

Spring 2020


Visual and Media Arts

Class Sponsor

Nurturing Fatherhood Program at the U.S. Probation Office


Mehvish Ali
Noah Braun
Kathleen Carroll
Cynthia Cazanas Garin
James Curry
Ivaldo Dasilva
Rakshya Devkota
Sumali Dey
Hassan Hassan
Asma Nobari Khoshmehr
Wen Ou


  • Larry Bogarty
  • Darren Franklin
  • Michael Gaines
  • Love/James Glover
  • Troy Armstrong
  • Jason Nelson
  • Jeff Smith
  • James Pace

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In Spring 2020, Emerson students partnered with the Nurturing Fatherhood Program at the U.S. Probation Office – which included Federal Probation Officers and formerly incarcerated men in Boston – to share their stories of the common thread between them. They are all fathers, no matter on which side of the prison system. Their stories are brought to you through the philosophy of co-creation and design justice.

Social Impact

We chose Augmented Reality as the vehicle for their stories for the power of experience it brings. Seeing the world from someone else’s eye level reduces the distance between the subject and the witness. It can help us understand and empathize, making ‘the other’ a little less removed from our reality.

Our project was not halted due to COVID-19 restrictions, just our modes of communication and presentation changed. The fathers’ stories developed via remote means, but it brought all of us closer as we discussed their childhoods, their own experiences with their fathers, their time incarcerated away from their children, their transition out of prison, and their evolving relationships with their children. They grapple with the societal bounds of masculinity and what it means to be a successful parent.

The experiences of the fathers willing to share their stories do not exist in a vacuum; while their lives are unique, they are representative of the mass incarceration problem facing Americans that disproportionately affects Black men. According to the ACLU, one out of every three Black boys born today can expect to go to prison in his lifetime. These stories demonstrate that for each statistic, these are people with families, just trying to learn from their mistakes and circumstances to become a better person.

Role of Technology + Media

The fathers’ stories were transformed into triggered AR experiences using tools like Unity and Tiltbrush. Presenting their stories through Augmented Reality has given us endless possibilities to immerse ourselves into a mixed reality. AR is also easier to access than other immersive techniques, which would allow for more people to experience their stories. We believe in the AR experience’s ability to shape the way we communicate and gain knowledge, and its power to tell compelling, moving stories.

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