The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama has won the Jisc-supported Guardian University Award 2020 for teaching excellence, in recognition of a project that incorporates augmented and virtual realities into teaching practices.
Hospitals can feel like scary places, especially for people with dementia. But if patients are agitated it can be harder for health staff to administer treatment.
Through learning new techniques introduced to their applied theatre course, students studying at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama have been able to give these patients moments of escape and wonder.
At the same time, they have developed skills in augmented and virtual reality that are becoming increasingly important to careers in the creative industries.
The work with dementia patients, which involves students recreating experiences such as a patient’s favourite walk-through 360-degree film, supplemented with touch and smell, is one of a number of projects introduced to the school’s applied theatre courses.
Others include using virtual reality videos to engage special school pupils studying Shakespeare and involving children on an augmented reality trail around their community, using QR codes.
The University of Huddersfield was shortlisted for its simulation-based learning, using specialised manikins to enable health professionals to learn without harming patients.
Middlesex University was another runner-up. It’s MDX Living Pavilion – a 70m squared timber pavilion with a green roof, flooring made of recycled plastic and sides open to the elements - was designed to be an evolving space, responsive both to the needs of the people using it and to the environment. It has since been an exhibition venue, a background for graduation photos, a location for a Jewish society festival, and a platform for fitness classes.
This is an edited version of an article from The Guardian.