Conjuring Magical Experiences for Kids VR— Part I

Oct 4, 2018 · 7 min read

Chapter 3 of our UK ‘Roadshow of Research in VR+Kids’ for the Children’s Media Foundation — hosted by Immotion in Manchester.

Chapter 3 of our invitation-only events to discuss and debate best practices around Kids + VR, was hosted at Immotion in Manchester. As always, the conversation was passionate, informed and by no means conclusive, continuing our 2018 research for The Children’s Media Foundation that hones in on 3 core goals:

1. Appropriateness: the evolution of best practices for the design of VR content for children that compares duration, immersion, story-centered, learning-based experiences.

2. Cognitive and Sensory Health & Safety: scientific progress and studies into overloading children through VR experiences along with best practices.

3. Eye health & Balance: scientific progress and research into ongoing visual and balance implications and best practices .

This 3rd UK event took place on Tuesday 25th September 2018 and our knowledge share was instigated by

Alison Norrington — storycentral, Peter Caddock — Immotion, Dylan Yamada-Rice — Dubit, Rob Scott — BBC & VRManchester, Martin Percy— VR Filmmaker & Director

Our format is 4x15 minute conversation-starters followed by 15 minutes of discussion, debate and conversation.

The conversation was energetic, loaded with questions and debate between the group, with thanks to the collective brainpower of our presenters and participants…

Zoe Hitchen — BBC, Ian Liddell — Immotion, Dr Emilia Djonov — University of Macquarie, Australia, Paul Bason — Manchester Metropolitan University, Ryan Tinsley — BBC, Chanelle Pal — BBC, Will Brenton — Wish Films

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Alison Norrington, Creative Director & Storyteller, storycentral Ltd

Alison is a writer/producer, Founder & Chief Creative Director of storycentral, a London-based entertainment studio that incubates and develops ground-breaking transmedia properties with global partners in film, television, animation, publishing, advertising, branding, theme parks, Virtual Reality and gaming. She specializes in storytelling that amplifies fan incubation and engagement, experience design, extending IP & franchises, community build through story and storyworld strategy, incubation & development — all centered around a strong robust core of story architecture, theme, awareness of audience and experience design.

Peter Caddock, Director of VR, Immotion

Peter has acquired a unique breadth of experience over almost four decades of designing, developing and producing bespoke, interactive software solutions and entertainment experiences for a variety of clients and audiences. His work has gained him multiple awards. He commenced his career as an applications and games developer and has also worked as a broadcast film and VT editor working on regional and national television series. His talent for developing and designing content and experiences has seen him deliver entertainment, games, training and education, advertising, IP/brands and simulations for such clients as Merck Pharmaceutical, American Genetics (AMGEN), Saatchi Health, Digitas, AstraZeneca, the National Space Centre, the Science Museum, THQ, CBBC, the Royal Institute, Great Britain Museum and York Museum. In terms of VR, Peter developed a hybrid PC-based VR headset with gyroscopic tracking for a historical educational project as far back as 2003. He has been part of the Studio Liddell team for fourteen years, becoming Head of New Technologies in 2008 and Director of VR for Immotion in 2018.

Dr Dylan Yamada-Rice, Research for Dubit / Senior Tutor — Information Experience Design RCA

Dylan is Senior Tutor in Information Experience Design as well as a Senior Research Manager for Dubit. Her research is at the intersection of experimental design and social sciences, focusing on the design of digital storytelling, games and play on a range of platforms such as apps, augmented and virtual reality, as well as new content for television. She specialises in experimental visual and multimodal methods.

Rob Scott, UX Architect, BBC UX&D

Rob is a UX Architect for BBC UX&D, most recently within BBC Education. He is currently leading the UX for an experimental xR workstream, which (so far) includes two Augmented Reality prototypes. As well as putting together flows and wireframes, he also develops Information Architecture Principles for Bitesize, as well as consulting on the day-to-day development of the product’s web application. He is also the organiser of the VR Manchester Meetup Group.

Martin Percy, BAFTA-winning VR Director

Martin is Freelance Creative/Director, BAFTA Winner, 6 x Webby winner and TEDx speaker. He is a multidisciplinary creative/director with a range of experience encompassing VR, film and interactive. He specialises in using the latest technology to create new kinds of learning and storytelling, focussing on combining emotion, narrative and interaction. He has worked with many brands, charities and other organisations, including Google, British Telecom, 7–11 USA, Jamesons Whiskey, the National Theatre, the British Film Institute, Tate Modern and Tate Britain. And I’ve directed talent including Daisy Ridley, Gordon Ramsay, Tracey Emin, Julie Walters, Sir Derek Jacobi and Sir Ian McKellen.

Zoë Hitchen, UX Delivery Manager, BBC

Zoe is an experienced Freelance Creative with a demonstrated history of working in the Design, Fashion and Media industries. Skilled in Design, Art Direction, Photography, Production, Filmmaking and Editing she is also a Higher Ed. Lecturer with an Academic Research focus on Diversity, Inclusion & Cultural Awareness for Classroom and Outreach Education. Zoe is also a professional workshop facilitator incl. the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® methodology.

Ian Liddell, Group Creative Director, Immotion Group and CEO, Studio Liddell

Ian has played a key role in the growth of the company, building a team of CGI experts and a solid production pipeline which, has helped attract projects from major global clients, including: CGI TV series for Nelvana(Canada),Zodiac Entertainment, BBC and Chapman Entertainment. Lego Games Cut-Scene animation content for Travellers’ Tales & Warner Bros. 4D Ride Movies for Jora Entertainment, Dymo Rides and The museum of The Bible. VR & AR projects for English Heritage (a 360 degree visitor experience at Stonehenge ) & Historic Scotland (The Engine Shed — AR project) plus numerous interactive projects for Merck, Pfizer, Grohe & Geberit as well as Saatchi Health, Digitas, Publicis and Sudler & Hennessey healthcare agencies.

Now, with a world class team of CGI expertise and a pioneering coding team behind him, Ian brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the creative direction for the immersive experiences Immotion will focus upon.

Dr Emilia Djonov, University of Macquarie, Australia

Dr Emilia Djonov is a researcher and senior lecturer at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia, with interests in multimodal communication and multiliteracies, language and literacy in early childhood, social semiotics and semiotic technologies.

Paul Bason, Director of Digital Innovation, Manchester Metropolitan University

Paul Bason has a background in managing complex multimedia projects for prestigious museums and galleries around the world. This includes being Creative Director for the world’s largest audio-visual exhibit at Expo 2000 in Hannover. He first worked on an immersive experience in 1993 as part of the team producing a 360 degree projected environment for the Museum of Natural Sciences in Taiwan. As Director of Digital Innovation at Manchester Metropolitan University he has responsibility for building relationships with broadcasters, agencies and other companies in the North West’s digital media sector. He has a particular interest in usability and service design and how these principles can be applied to harness technology for new approaches to education and economic growth. Paul is currently also leading aspects of the university’s new School of Digital Arts, a new £35m future media school due to open in 2021.

Ryan Tinsley, Senior UX Designer, BBC Education

Ryan is an enthusiastic Senior UX Designer currently working for BBC Education. He has years worth of industry experience creating compelling digital products for brands such as the BBC, British Land, Volkswagen, Unilever and Formula 1/E.

Chanelle Pal, UX&D Trainee, BBC Bitesize

Chanelle recently left the world of education with a Masters in Digital Design, and now joins the BBC as a UX&D Trainee. Winner of multiple awards, including the De Montfort University Pitch2Win competition and Top Postgraduate in the DMU School of Design, she is now determined to make an impact in the world of business and design as she progresses in her career.

Will Brenton, Wish Films

Will is best known for being the co-creator of great kids characters such as ‘The Tweenies’ ‘Boo!’ and ‘Jim Jam and Sunny’ as well as adapting books for TV including ‘Wibbly Pig’ and ‘Wanda and the Alien’ He also writes and directs theatre and arena scale shows for brands including ‘Doctor Who’, ‘The Hairy Bikers’ and ‘CBeebies’. When he’s not doing any of that he directs the soaps!


Part II of this report details Peter Caddock’s great talk on Ontological Design & Spatial Awareness, which surprisingly sparked some deep discussion on the embedding of (potentially fake) memories — and can be found at


Written by

Transmedia Storytelling, Narrative, Experience & Emotional Design, Creative Direction, Franchise Development, StoryWorld Conference

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