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Making immersive experiences accessible

Digital Catapult is committed to supporting and developing activities that values equality, diversity and inclusion both in the workplace and in the innovative programmes and projects it is developing or partnering in.

facilitated new distribution models, upskilling of creators from many diverse backgrounds across the UK
In year 3
partnered with 39 community partners in 2020 to reach new inclusivity and diversity targets
nationalities represented in the Digital Catapult workforce
of the total Digital Catapult team makes up the Employee Voice Network

CreativeXR was absolutely transformative for the Hatsumi project – we were able to take risks and try experimental new approaches to develop a novel experience that has the potential to reach beyond the creative industries. We are extremely grateful for the mentoring support that helped shape the project and where we go next, as well as offering opportunities to learn from industry leaders across the globe.

Sara Ticho

Supporting creators from diverse backgrounds

Digital Catapult’s equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) activities have continued to grow over the last years, partnering with Inclusive Employers to run workshops and training sessions with staff and promoting a culture of EDI across internal networks.

This has included inclusive leadership training for all line managers and webinars supporting topics related to Black Lives Matter and Pride. The Catapult is a very multicultural organisation with more than 30 nationalities represented and they are proud of their open and inclusive approach to hiring, believing that building a truly diverse team benefits everyone who works at the Catapult as well as their partners.

In 2020, the Catapult conducted research on how they can continue to build their EDI programme, to work towards achieving an accreditation under their Inclusion Standard. This led to the establishment of the Employee Voice Network, created to engage with and hear from all people at all levels within the organisation and different backgrounds.

As well as an established programme of work to create an inclusive organisation and culture where all employees can thrive, Digital Catapult is also ensuring the impact of these principles spread beyond the workplace. One key example is the CreativeXR accelerator programme developed jointly with the Arts Council England to provide prototype funding and support to creators working with immersive technologies in the Arts and Culture sector.

Through the CreativeXR programme, the Catapult dedicated time to a workshop on Making Immersive Experiences Accessible. The workshop connected creators on the programme with XR Access- a community committed to making virtual, augmented, and mixed reality (XR) accessible to people with disabilities, providing knowledge on topics such as inclusive design, dexterity and cognitive issues.

Furthermore, a number of the projects supported on this programme have enabled creators from many diverse backgrounds to tell their stories in creative ways. Some global stories have been highlighted:

o Munkination centres on the Khoisan tribe from Southern Africa combating the climate crisis in a hip-hop opera
o SONG explores the intersection of Korean Pop music, politics and military technology
o Blood Speaks follows the story of a Nepalase superhero who draws her strength from menstruation
o A Place to Be takes us back to the 80’s at the heart of a Carribean Shebeen
o Child of Empire sheds light on the partition of India – Pakistan
o New World uses the Amazonian rainforest as a location to tell stories for neurodiverse children
o Hatsumi creates a tool for people suffering from chronic pain

In 2021 projects continue to tackle important issues in the areas of sexism, neurodiversity, mental illness, racism, migration and the climate crisis.

An amazing and worthwhile experience from the start to the end. It has opened new opportunities, insights and connections that will support our company’s growth

Debbie Bandara
New World