Last month Prof Sylvia Xueni Pan—Associate Professor and Programme Leader for the MA/MSc Virtual & Augmented Reality—gave an inspiring talk to a group of young kids, ranging from 12 to 15. The event was organised by The Royal Institution, with a focus on outreach and science communication.
Sylvia talked focused on the “The Psychology of the Metaverse”, exploring how we can us VR and AR technology to understand how people think. This is a topic Sylvia herself explored deeply in both her research and practice at Goldsmiths.
«I loved the metauniverse talk I think it was really interesting to listen to someone who doesn’t just do maths, it was more of a wider range of topics.»
—Feedback from one of the young kids attending
In case you missed it, the entire event was also recorded. “The Psychology of the Metaverse” starts at 14:46.
If this is a topic that fascinates you, and you would like to steer your career towards practical applications for VR & AR technology, you should consider applying to the MA/MSc Virtual & Augmented Reality here at Goldsmiths.
Dr Jamie A Ward—Lecturer and Researcher in wearable computing, activity recognition & social neuroscience—gave a talk on his Royal Society-sponsored work studying cognition and social behaviour using wearables and theatre at a symposium on the opportunities and challenges of real-world data collection.
Dr Laura Rai—PostDoc and Researcher from the Department of Psychology—presented the first results from the ERC-funded Neurolive project at a symposium on the neuro-aesthetics of dance.
The event was also attended by PhD Candidate in Psychology Merritt Millman, who presented a poster on her work on bodily awareness in depersonalization-derealization disorder.
«It was such a joy to present at an in-person conference again for the first time in over two years. So much of my work with theatre—and in particular the work we do on the Neurolive project—is about liveness and what makes the live experience special.
A huge part of that is the social experience, which participating at a conference like this, with the double bonus of being surrounded by loads of smart and interesting people, really brought home to me.»
Last week Clémence Debaig brought her latest performance—STRINGS—to the Escapade Escape Arcade, a creative exhibition featuring experimental games and alternative controllers.
STRINGS is an interactive performance inviting the audience to control the movements of the dancer through networked wearables. It explores themes of agency, control and bodily autonomy. And it was presented in person in London for the first time!
The idea was born as a final project for Physical Computing 2, a taught module strongly connected to the MA Computational Arts, which explores creative ways to use electronics for alternative controllers, installations and performances.
At the time, Clémence was still a student on the course, and had performed STRINGS online due to the pandemic. Now Lecturer & Senior Research Assistant at Goldsmiths, Clémence Debaig is also running her own dance company called Unwired Dance Theatre.
Besides STRINGS, The Escapade Escape Arcade features many other interesting installations and playable experiences, including an escape the room game titled “The Keeper and The Fungus Among Us”, and a rather unusually shaped pool table.
Last week hundreds of students from the Department of Computing attended their graduation ceremony. This year the event took place at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre, in the very heart of Westminster.
The ceremony was presided by Dinah Caine CBE, the Chair of Council, who opened with a passionate speech about the achievements students have accomplished.
This ceremony has been an opportunity for the students to celebrate their academic success along with their families. And as Professor Frances Corner OBE highlighted in her opening speech, it is made much more significant by the many challenges they have faced during their journey: from COVID to the recent war in Ukraine.
The Department of Computing was represented on stage by Dr Edward Anstead (BSc Computer Science), Fede Fasce (MA Independent Games & Playable Experience Design) and Alan Zucconi (Director of Postgraduate Studies, MA/MSc Computer Games). Dr Jennifer George, as Head of Department, had the privilege of inviting the students on stage one by one.
Imogen Burman, the Events Manager for the Department of Music, acted as College Bedel, guiding the staff through the crowd and holding the ceremonial mace.
«I adore graduation ceremonies—this is the reason why we are in education, to be with the students on their journey, and, like fledgling birds, they are then released into the world.
I always find it a wonderful occasion, especially this year where we celebrate those graduands who have struggled through the pandemic finally being awarded their degree, it is a great honour to bear witness to their achievements.»
— Imogen Burman, Events Manager & College Bedel
The entire event was also live streamed, for all the ones who unfortunately could not attend.
«It was a pleasure to join the graduation party and share in our graduates successes. This year’s ceremony was an especially joyous occasion as it included students from the classes 2021 and 2022 able to collect their degrees in person after the pandemic.»
— Dr Edward Anstead, BSc Computer Science
For many of you reading, this is not just the end of a long journey, but also the start of a new chapter. If you are coming to the end of your time at Goldsmiths, remember you can stay in touch by joining our alumni community.
Every year the Department of Computing is organising field trips to various art and games-related events. This week it was Develop:Brighton, the largest UK-based event for game developers.
As always, Goldsmiths had a strong presence, with a small delegation of staff and students from various programmes!
MA/MSc Computer Games & MA Indie Games
Professor William Latham
Dr Lance Putnam
MA/MSc Virtual & Augmented Reality
Dr Sylvia Xueni Pan
The biggest Develop yet! Great bumping into so many people from when I was in consoles games development over twenty years ago! The message on the floor that I heard again and again is that there is currently a massive skills shortage in the UK Games Industry which bodes well for our games students and Alumni. Great seeing our star Goldsmiths PhD Students Gorm and Tara present to full rooms! – Professor William Latham
Several students were also volunteering. If you are a student yourself, this is a great opportunity to attend the event for free and establish a solid networking base!
Two of our fellow scholars also had a chance to talk about their research.
The Goldsmiths computing department has recently received wonderful news from 3 previous MA students who have had their research papers accepted in the IEEE 2022 Conference
What is the IEEE?
IEEE stands for International Conference on Computational Intelligence and Virtual Environments for Measurement Systems and Applications. The organisation boasts nearly 2,000 annual conferences and events worldwide for all of the technical fields of interest within IEEE.
The organisation annually allows new submissions of research projects, articles and more to be submitted for publication followed by a paper-selection process and are peer reviewed before they are published.
Due to the pandemic, the conference wasn’t held in New Zealand as previous advertised. The event was instead held via a unique virtual experience.
3 Goldsmiths Alumni’s had the pleasure of attending the event, share their experience of it and their excitement when finding out that their paper’s were accepted in this year’s intake.
Meet Sasha Jiang who recently graduated from the MA/MSc Virtual and Augmented Reality at Goldsmiths. She now works in an Ad agency as a junior designer where she explores how to include VR work into advertising. Her accepted poster in the IEEE was titled “Rereading the Narrative Paradox for Virtual Reality Theatre – collaboration with Prof Jonny Freeman, Goldsmiths Psychology”.
Meet Celine Yu who recently graduated from the MA/MSc Virtual and Augmented Reality at Goldsmiths. With a background in film and TV, Celine was drawn to explore how VR and AR could affect different ways of story telling. Her accepted poster in the IEEE was titled “A validation study to trigger nicotine craving in virtual reality” in collaboration with Prof Daniel Freeman, Oxford University.
Meet Fang Ma who recently graduated from the MA/MSc Virtual and Augmented Reality at Goldsmiths. Fang’s interest in VR and AR explores avatar fidelity and making the whole VR experience more immersive. Her accepted poster in the IEEE was titled “Visual Fidelity Effects on Expressive Self-avatar in Virtual Reality: First Impressions Matter”
What happens after?
Now that the papers have been accepted they will be peer reviewed and then published by the IEEE. This is a big ordeal for our Alumni students as less than 10 papers per conference are accepted.
The university is incredibly proud of the achievements of our Alumni students and would like to say a big congratulations to all those involved!
Meet Rose, a programme representative for MA Computer Games: Art and Design. Rose, recently organised a social event for the department which garnered a lot of attention. We sat down to interview Rose about the event and what student’s can continue to look forward to.
Rose stated that “The main theme of the event was dress up and storytelling and a lot of snacks! All students from the masters computing department were invited to come. Students spent their time chatting, sharing stories about their lives as well as cultures and indulged in the chocolate fountain.”
Rose’s motivation for creating the event was to help form a community amongst students that would create a pleasant atmosphere while studying and make lasting connections among themselves.
At the events students were encouraged to play on the switch together, engage with icebreaker activities and in the story telling sessions which combined both worldly and personal stories.
Rose has noted that her most memorable experience from this event was when they all shared their unique life stories as she got to connect with her fellow class mates and computing students better.
“There were a few challenges when organising the event”.
Rose noted, with the most challenging being finding an appropriate place to host the event. However, this logistical challenge was soon resolved.
Rose confessed to us that by creating the event, she had developed new skills. “I would say that I definitely learnt a lot about time management whilst hosting this event. I had to plan accordingly in order for the timing to work well with people’s schedule and I also had to make sure that the pacing of the event was enjoyable.”
Rose’s successful delivery of this event has prompted her to create more gaming and social events for the computing students to participate in in the future. Rose stated;
“I have several ideas for new events such as a group cinema outing, a psychology and board games event and so much more! I am planning to host one event at the end of Easter Term, as well as other events in term three. If anyone would like to get more information about future social events, please either contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org.”
We encourage other all computing students to engage in these social events as they are a great way to meet fellow students! You can also join the Goldmsiths’ Student discord and keep up to date with the Computing announcement emails.