Digital Creativity Labs is helping cultural organisations harness the power of virtual reality (VR) to engage, entertain and inform. Working with leading UK aquarium, The Deep, and researchers in environmental and conservation psychology at the University of Plymouth, DC Labs created a VR experience called Jellyfishin’: The Secret Life of an Ocean Drifter.

Designed to complement and enhance the impact of traditional exhibition displays, Jellyfishin’ immerses visitors in a beautifully-realised world where jellyfish of various kinds are able to speak. Challenged to search for a particular species within the VR world, users come across a range of fascinating creatures ready to chat about their lives and the threat of plastic pollution.

Jellyfishin’ was created from the cutting-edge Mutator VR engine, developed by DC Labs researchers at Goldsmiths University to generate a unique virtual experience for each user. In Jellyfishin’ the experience is enhanced by DC Labs characteristic fusion of technology with evidence-based creative techniques: anthropomorphisation to alter perceptions of the animal world; gaming principles to focus attention; and audio-visual cues to stimulate memory.

Now offered as an educational resource to the 35,000 schoolchildren who visit The Deep each year, Jellyfishin’ has been hailed as ‘a new frontier in teaching and learning’ by Graham Hill, Head of Animal Care and Research at the aquarium. Attracting television coverage on BBC Look North, the project also secured an invitation for DC Labs to present its work at the prestigious Falling Walls Conference in 2019.