FALMOUTH UNIVERSITY: wAVE PROJECT
Falmouth Univeristy’s Games Academy wAVE Project
COASTAL TIMETRIPPING – IMMERSE YOURSELF IN CORNWALL’S PAST – TODAY
Funded by the Coastal Communities Fund, and delivered by Cornwall Museums Partnership, Falmouth University and Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, the wAVE Project brings truly cutting edge, immersive ‘new world’ tech, and corresponding personal experiences, to Cornwall. Within this critical project, the county’s distinct history is coupled with its growing immersive-tech sector, presenting a unique opportunity to position the area at the forefront of the transformative potential of such technology.
Placing coastal communities, and five small museums on a par with cultural experiences that you might find in the leading cities of the world, the wAVE Project pushes cultural boundaries using immersive tech in ways it has never been utilised before. A pioneering concept from the get-go, the wAVE project is a fusion of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly’s coastal communities, museums and heritage centres and its academic and gaming experts.
For the past two years, these teams have been working together with innovative technologies developed with Falmouth University’s research experts – such as VR headsets, augmented reality, haptics, and more. Following Human-Centred Design principles, the Falmouth immersive and gaming teams have been working with museums staff, volunteers, and people in the communities to ensure that the resultant experiences meet the needs of their future users through a succession of community consultation, focus groups, and user testing days.
Now embedded within the five participating communities of Bude, Looe, St Agnes, Porthcurno and the Isles of Scilly, these new, cutting edge experiences transport users to a time past, in turn, unwrapping new understandings of the people, the lives and the stories of the ones who existed and have gone before us. Each destination allows visitors to explore heritage sites, see artefacts in their original settings and meet historical characters in new immersive visitor experiences, developing new and engaging authentic and bespoke digitally-led experiences.
The brainchild of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership alongside Falmouth University, the resultant programme, delivered to the heritage and museums sector through Cornwall Museums Partnership (CMP), wAVE fits within the organisation’s thinking that museums create moments of wonder which enrich people’s lives. Following CMP’s belief that museums play a critical role in linking our past to the present, in turn, helping us to shape the future, these special destinations, help users explore the most profound and enduring questions humans can ask about why we are here and our place in the world. wAVE adds a whole new dynamic, exciting, experiential layer to the opportunity, helping visitors of all ages ‘move through time’, experiencing Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly’s dramatic and vivid past in our advanced modern day.
Launched to the travel market and media as ‘Coastal Timetripping’, a new online travelogue (www.coastaltimetripping.com) and accompanying Instagram feed (@coastaltimetripping) provides in-depth information on all five places and immersive experiences, acting simultaneously as a guide to the museum locations as well as connecting the history, heritage and landscapes in between. Extensive hints, tips and recommendations regarding the best places to stay, wine, dine, hang out and explore in each location is also available, as well as suggestions of other relevant places to stop on journeys between the spots. An accompanying roadtrip-worthy Coastal Timetripping playlist is also available on Spotify, featuring a selection of musicians and bands who are either from Cornwall, or have connections to the area.
In addition, wAVE’s impact and legacy commitment has successfully raised the profile of Cornwall’s unique culture and heritage offer. Local communities have accessed a bespoke programme of digital training to allow wider tourism businesses to harness the opportunity presented by immersive technology. This is continually allowing local people to add value to their businesses through future-proofing their offer by differentiating their product, becoming more visible and accessing new virtual experiences to entice new visitors.
In lockdown, the project has also given birth to a new global network from Cornwall: the Museums Interactive Network (MIN.) The network has been established to promote and share best practice, new developments, skills development opportunities, and potential collaborations with immersive technology and museums. Two successful digital events have already amassed over 300 attendees, all of whom are global technology-led pioneers, working together in the sector. Similar online and in-person events are planned for the future.
Tanya Krzywinska, Professor of Digital Games at Falmouth University and the director of the university’s Games Academy, says: “Virtual and immersive technologies afford fantastic new opportunities for tourism and the heritage sector in response to changing consumer behaviour. Putting museums at the forefront of immersive design to engage and excite diverse audiences can help them overcome the challenges of Covid by increasing visitor footfall and supporting the wider local economy.”
Issued by Excess Energy Communications on behalf of the wAVE Project for Cornwall Museums Partnership. For further information, images or interviews please contact Rhona Gardiner on Rhona@excess-energy.co.uk or 07740 410052 or Sarah Harrington on Sarah@excess-energy.co.uk or 07714 634945
Cornwall Museums Partnership is an independent charitable incorporated organisation, formed in 2015 to provide leadership for Cornwall’s museums; to support them, represent them and give them a voice. We are a sector-leading charity which is not afraid to think differently. Our values of collaboration, inclusivity and innovation inform everything we do.
Our ambition is to be recognised nationally and internationally as a pioneering model of collaborative leadership which promotes innovation and resilience in the museums’ sector and beyond. We want to shift the dial in terms of the impact and value museums create. By working in partnership with museums, we want to help them to use their collections effectively to foster happy, healthy and prosperous communities where heritage is valued and celebrated.
Cornwall Museums Partnership, Studio 101, Krowji, Redruth, Cornwall, TR15 3GE
Cornwall Museums Partnership receives core funding from Cornwall Council and Arts Council England and the wAVE Project and Coastal Timetripping is financed by the Coastal Communities Fund.
About Coastal Communities Fund
The Great British Coast has enormous economic potential and this government is determined to see it thrive all year round.
That’s why by 2020 the Government will have invested over £200 million in our much loved seaside areas through dedicated programmes like Coastal Communities Fund to help in generating jobs and boosting businesses.
So far, analysis has shown that this has been money well spent with every £1 invested having the potential to create an up to £8 boost to our coastal economies. To find out more visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coastal-communities-fund
Grant recipients are free to publicise their project award however best suits their needs. But if you would like some further facts about the Fund, or the wider regeneration work going on across the country, MHCLG is always happy to help.
Some additional key facts:
- More than 11 million people live across the Great British Coast.
- The coastal tourism industry contributes £8 billion to the economy each year.
- The first four rounds of the Coastal Communities Fund invested over £173 million in 295 projects across the UK. Those projects are predicted to create or safeguard up to 18,000 good jobs UK-wide.
• Across our Great British Coast we’ve got heritage hooks to be proud of, but some of these places need some tender, loving, care. That’s why MHCLG has also invested £7.8 million through the Coastal Revival Fund to get 189 brilliant British coastal heritage assets back into ship-shape.