Virtual Reality is used extensively within healthcare, including phobia treatment, anatomy learning and surgery practice; it may also serve the medical community as a medium of autopoietic documentary that preserves and augments the voices of its makers/subjects, and is experienced through performance, with the gestures, gaze and actions of the body determining its choreography. There is evidence that an empathetic doctor will be more likely to offer treatments that are better suited to the patient, and Virtual Reality has been called an “empathy machine”, enabling the participant to walk in somebody else’s shoes, gaining insight and becoming more attuned towards them. A lot of emphasis is placed on visual immersion in VR, but there may also be ways of learning through listening, as well as learning to listen to the patient’s voice. Virtual Reality may present a unique opportunity to engage with patient narratives whilst being enveloped in their everyday or imagined personal spaces. An immersive experience that brings together spoken narratives together with real-time animation can be a collaborative medium that illuminates the personal whilst simultaneously offering the patient a prospect of offloading trauma and commencing a healing process.
Supervision Team: Dr Joanne ‘Bob’ Whalley (Director of Studies), Professor Mike Phillips