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News article

Praise for inspiring and innovative VR art experience created by York St John University students  

Published: 18 April 2023

A man wearing a VR headset in a busy gallery setting

York St John University students have impressed audiences with an innovative virtual reality (VR) experience in conjunction with the highly influential Aesthetica Art Prize 2023.  


The VR exhibition at the York Theatre Royal was based on the work of the Aesthetica finalists. The students used innovative technology to create a unique fully immersive art experience, allowing visitors to explore a virtual world of stunning visuals and intricate details. It received widespread acclaim from audiences and the artists themselves.  


One of the shortlisted finalists in the Aesthetic Art Prize 2023, Rosie Sherwood, described the VR project representation of her "Sea Grass" art installation as “inspiring”. Cherie Frederico, the Director of Aesthetica, also commended the students: “They’ve done a wonderful job working to the brief and delivering a high quality and engaging interactive experience. It was brilliant, the work is superb and I was so impressed with everyone." 


The project, funded by XR Stories, gave students the opportunity to gain experience in working on a live project and working to an employer brief. It was created by students from a range of disciplines, including Games Design, Animation, and both the MA in VR and Augmented Reality and MA in Composition.   


The VR exhibit created by the York St John University students is a testament to the university's commitment to fostering innovation and creativity in its students. It also demonstrates the important role that technology can play in the world of art, and how it can be used to create new and exciting experiences for audiences.  


Andy Sandham, Games Design Subject Lead said: "Our thanks to Cherie from Aesthetica for giving the students such a great opportunity to work to a real time client brief. The students always conducted themselves with the highest level of professionalism. They used game design, animation and sound composition skills learnt across their time at York St John to great effect, while self-managing their time across the project. 


“The result was a fantastic multi discipline immersive experience that was not only a huge hit with the client, but also the artists it was inspired by and the public. Fantastic work." 


Suzanne Dickinson, York St John University Employer Engagement and Student Opportunities Manager said: “The students have been outstanding, creating an experience which could now be used to inspire a future generation and showcasing art as an accessible medium. Experiences like these are invaluable for developing professional skills and preparing for future aspirations.”  


The 2023 Aesthetica Art Prize Exhibition, a celebration of international contemporary art, is on at York Art Gallery until 4 June 2023. The 2023 exhibition brings together 21 talented artists in a show that offers creativity as a form of expression, with projects spanning the boundaries of genre – from painting, photography and sculpture to installation, mixed-media and video. The Art Prize is now in its 16th year with 2023 marking the 20th anniversary of Aesthetica Magazine.  

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