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Immersive Storymaking: An Emerging Art Form for Virtual Reality Learning Environments

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

  • Karen Rosemin
Publication date10/02/2024
Number of pages223
Awarding Institution
Award date10/02/2024
  • Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Virtual Reality (VR) technologies are moving stories from non-participatory to participatory formats through the effects of immersion, interaction, presence and agency. The study’s thesis therefore is that the shifting storytelling paradigm from teller-listener to participant-builder requires a new art form that includes a grammar of making. The study presents the concept of storymaking as this emerging art form. The first objective was to develop a conceptual framework for a storymaking practice, and secondly to implement this framework to determine if it satisfied the need for a new paradigm. To do this, the works of key narrative theorists such as Aristotle (2016) and interactive narrative practitioners such as Louchart and Aylett (2005) were referenced in defining a story and making grammar that resulted in the Storymaking Framework. This Framework was then applied to the creation of a 360° VR experience on traditional Trinidad Carnival characters. The method of autoethnography captured important lessons from this practical exercise through researcher-as-instrument. However, to determine the relevance of storymaking, a small group of nine participants (6 students pursuing Caribbean Studies, 2 administrators and 1 teacher) evaluated the experience. The results from pre- and post-experience surveys revealed that the experience did in fact contribute to significant levels of immersion, interaction and presence in participants. Eight participants felt immersed; all nine participants felt sure they were moving through the experience on their own and all participants indicated that they had learned something new from being a part of the narrative. This study therefore pinpointed that the key factor that justified the need for the new storymaking art form was the embodiment of the participant in the story. The inclusion of a participant moved a story from artefact to process, facilitated by narrative and technical elements for an emotional connection to the story and memory making.