Immersive Empathy: diving into the study of well-being via XR at the 7th edition of NewImages Festival

10 April 2024

As the 7th edition of the NewImages Festival gets underway, the “Immersive Empathy” section of Industry Days is preparing to open up new perspectives on the use of extended reality (XR) to cultivate empathy, understanding and well-being. This theme invites us to explore how XR can benefit mental health, the representation of LGBTQ+ communities, and inclusion more generally.

XR for empathy and understanding

On April 25, visionary artist Victoria Bousis will host a captivating keynote on how XR can foster empathy and understanding between individuals. Through her talk, we’ll discover how XR enables different perspectives to be experienced in a profound and empathetic way, breaking down barriers and promoting social change.

Round tables: an enriching exchange on empathic immersion

Industry Days discussions will explore several aspects of empathic immersion. A round table moderated by André Fisher will focus on the integration of LGBTQ+ narratives into the intersection of art and technology, revealing new avenues for the artistic representation of LGBTQ+ individuals.

Mental health and XR content therapy will be at the heart of another discussion, with Marie Blondiaux of Coven, Delphine Beauchamp of La Piscine, and Barry Threw of Gray Area exploring how new technologies can help, heal, and cure.

Creating empathetic XR: towards safe experiences

The construction of safe spaces in XR will be addressed in a round table, where Marion Burger, Joséphine Dérobe, and Adelin Schweitzer will discuss inclusivity in XR works and devices, contexts for receiving works, and the use of content warnings.

Workshops: Reinforcing accessibility and inclusion in XR

Complementary workshops will offer opportunities to deepen understanding of accessibility and inclusion in VR experiences. Organized by Chroniques, a workshop led by Ilaria Bondavalli and Colline Perraudeau will look at the analysis of accessibility and inclusion in VR experiences, highlighting the importance of creating safe spaces and facilitating a smooth return to reality.

Building an immersive culture of empathy

Through these exchanges and workshops, Industry Days aims to inspire and educate on the transformative potential of XR as a vehicle for empathy and inclusion. These discussions are part of NewImages Festival’s broader ambition to promote immersive creation that is engaged and meaningful, opening up to contemporary cultural dynamics enriched by immersive empathy.

Join us from April 24 to 28 at the Forum des images to take part in these moments of exchange and reflection, and to discover the ways in which XR is shaping a more inclusive and empathetic future.

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