Creative Spaces: Supporting Engagement for Arts & Education in Gather.Town

Wednesday 23rd February 2022

Abstract: Gather.Town is an online virtual world where communication occurs through proximity chat between nearby avatars. The platform can be used in place of a traditional video-conferencing system for meetings and education, and has a number of interesting affordances that provide both opportunities for social engagement during pandemic-related physical distancing situations. I have taught numerous large classes in Gather.Town, hosted conferences and an interactive art gallery in Gather.Town, and run studies to understand the impact on students and artists. In this talk, which will take place in a Gather.Town space, I will introduce attendees to the platform, and provide a brief tour of a GT classroom and a GT art gallery. I will then present some results from studies I have conducted with colleagues to investigate the artist and student user experiences in the platform, and present my reflections on designing spaces for creative engagement.

To attend/participate: join the Gather.Town space using the link provided. Please use Chrome or Firefox from a desktop or laptop computer (Gather.Town does not work well on mobile devices). When you first join there is a short, 3 minute tutorial that walks you through the basics of how to navigate with your avatar. I will guide you through other Gather.Town features as part of the presentation. A note on accessibility: Gather.Town is not screen-reader friendly, but there are other workarounds that can be used for sight-limited users. Please reach out to me ahead of time if you would like to join the presentation, but need assistance with accessibility. 

Bio: Dr. Celine Latulipe is a Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Manitoba, Canada. Her research spans three main areas: computer science education, aging & technology, and the intersection of technology & creativity. In the CS education area, her research involves developing and evaluating innovative learning environments and pedagogy, with a particular interest in learning how to support underserved populations learning computer science. In the realm of aging, Dr. Latulipe conducts research to investigate how older adults and their caregivers engage with technology, and how to develop systems and tools to support a partnership model for the older adult’s digital life. In the area of creativity, Dr. Latulipe studies the development and evaluation of novel interaction techniques for the arts, creativity support tools and measurement, and the study of how people learn and use complex software tools to support creative endeavours.