Immerse UK teamed up with Barclays Eagle Labs for a free webinar on 27 May to explore the potential of VR for arts-based wellbeing experiences.

Watch the recording

About this webinar

Presented by Barclays Eagle Labs and Immerse UK, this webinar explores the opportunities virtual reality presents across creative expression, art therapy and arts based wellbeing experiences. Hosted by Immerse UK healthcare lead, Sarah Ticho, hear more from Rosie Collins (The Fred Company), Art Therapist, Matteo Merla and New Orleans-based new Media psychologist, Dr. Jed Walls on how VR has supported victims of Grenfell Tower, supporting people through the grieving process and helping to communicate, understand and manage pain.

Speaker biographies

Matteo Merla

Matteo is an art psychotherapist with 5 years experience working in the NHS. He has been working as a social artist with the aim to recover a concept of art as a real therapeutic intervention within communities. Such projects have taken place in many countries such as UK Italy Israel Palestine Greece – working with the most vulnerable population.His previous experience has included working with patients using virtual reality focused on VR as a calming technology.

Matteo has a number of practiced and proven clinical methodologies that help create a safe and healthy environment and to empower patients to use art as a therapeutic outlet.His role will be to guide the features and use cases of the application whilst keeping the product’s features safe and aligned with values of mental health wellbeing and mindfulness following Health Care Professional Council (HCPC) and British Association of Art Therapist (BAAT) guidelines.

Rosie Collins

Rosie is the Creative Director of FRED, an award-winning creative studio based in east London. FRED focuses primarily on incorporating positive psychology, fun and play into creative projects, to support wellbeing with commercial, corporate and public partners.

FRED has partnered with the Grenfell Health and Wellbeing Service since 2018, exploring the use of VR as an engagement tool with the outreach team supporting the community affected by the tragic Grenfell Fire in 2017. They’ve developed a series of VR/360 mindfulness films, intended to help open up the concept to a wider range of users – from sharing a body scanning session with a world-class ballet dancer in the Royal Opera House to sharing a mindful few minutes on a park bench with Lucius Malfoy. FRED has also been partnered since 2018 with The Children’s Society, exploring the use of immersive technology in their work supporting young people – winning the 2019 Vodafone Techstarter award for their first project, VR With You, which was co-designed with young people attending a mental health drop-in centre and looking at using VR to help support those with anxiety.

They also develop their own projects through the Fred Lab, touching on everything from laughter yoga to studying the effect of chilli consumption on actors, singers (and lovers). Fred is shortly publishing its first paper on the benefits of using VR as a relaxation tool in the workplace, launching the Fred podcast and soon to unveil their collaboration with a major broadcaster on a new digital show combining science and reality TV.

Dr. Jedediah Walls

Dr. Jedediah Walls is a media psychologist with the American Psychological Association where their work focuses on how digital technologies help people grow, evolve, overcome obstacles, and find happiness. Media Psychology is a brand new field that looks at how technology plays a role in the evolving human mind and brain.

Towards this end Dr. Walls has displayed art with museums in Budapest Hungary, helped organise the children’s education exhibition of Meow Wolf in New Mexico, collaborated on New Orleans Art festivals, and filmed circus performing arts across the United States. These journeys have driven their understanding how digital media and electronic arts can be used to address the biggest drainers of life years: depression, ptsd, addiction, and anxiety. Dr. Wall’s current projects are to help address the mental health curve because of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as exploring how virtual reality plays a role in grief, recovery, and joy.

They love a good beignet from New Orleans. Please email to contact them.

Sarah Ticho, Immerse UK

Sarah has spent her career working across the interdisciplinary arts, academia, healthcare and immersive technology as a producer, curator and researcher.

She is the founder of Hatsumi, a research and design studio that works at the intersection of arts, health and immersive technology to develop experiences that challenge how we think and feel about the world and imagine the future of health and wellbeing. They are developing Body Map – a virtual reality adaptation of an arts and health research method called body mapping. By enabling people to communicate the embodied lived experience of pain and mental health conditions through 3D drawing, this experience is contributing to a new paradigm in diagnostics, research and pain management.

Sarah is a freelance producer with Explore Deep, a meditative breath controlled virtual reality experience controlled by breathing. Developed in collaboration with the Games for Emotional and Mental Health Lab, Raboud University, extensive research has demonstrated its efficacy as a tool to help manage anxiety, and reduce disruptive classroom behaviour in students with complex needs.

Sarah is the healthcare lead at Immerse UK, supporting researchers, artists, startups and healthcare organisations to connect, collaborate and collectively create a future for virtual reality in healthcare.

She is a member of the Animation, Simulation and Visualisation Strategic Investment Area (SIA) Advisory Board at Bournemouth University and the Medical XR Council for the XR Safety Initiative. In her spare time, she is training to become a death doula, an emotional support to people going through the end of life process.

In partnership with Barclays Eagle Labs

Barclays Eagle Labs began from a simple idea of re-purposing under-used Barclays’s space, our network of Eagle Labs has expanded quickly since our launch in 2015. Its mission is to fuel the UK’s entrepreneurial community by accelerating high-growth businesses through collaborative innovation and provide access to emerging technologies. @eagle_labs_hlth