I’ve frequently blogged about the work of the University of Western Australia in Second Life; with an active presence in SL since 2009, the University has gained a first-class reputation for sponsoring and promoting art in virtual worlds through initiatives such as the MachinimUWA competitions, and activities such as their current Transcending Borders challenge, the Freedom Project, and Project Homeless, as well as supporting the LEA’s Full Sim Art series, all of which I’ve had the privilege of covering in this pages.
The UWA’s involvement in Second Life came about as a result of PhD student Jay Jay Jegathesan (virtual campus in Second Life, which has grown to include academic teaching activities across Business, Law (including the use of SL machinima in a post-graduate degree course), the Arts, Anatomy, Physiology & Human Biology, and Education (including providing resources essential it helping educators and new users get started with SL).), who founded the University’s
In particular, as a result of Jay Jay’s work the University has become recognised as a world leader in global community development through virtual worlds technology. This in turn has encouraged Jay Jay to make the topic of global community development and collaboration through virtual worlds, particularly in reference to people with disabilities, the focus of his PhD thesis.
Currently, Jay Jay is participating in the UWA’s 2014 3-Minute Thesis competition, in which students were asked to speak for 3 minutes on their PhD research using no technology or props aside from a single image. His presentation, directly referencing the power of virtual worlds to help those with disabilities – indeed, all of us -, is both beautiful and direct; so why not take a moment to listen to his impassioned explanation of the empowering freedom virtual worlds offer?
I’d also like to take this opportunity of thanking Jay Jay for his generosity and kindness in sending me a copy of the Freedom Project book, which is a fabulous publication, lavishly illustrated with pictures of the works submitted to the project, biographies of the artists, and much more besides. It is very much a must-have for anyone with and appreciation of virtual world art. Copies can be obtained for L$5000 (around $20.00 US), shipped anywhere in the world. Those wishing to purchase a copy should contact Jayjay Zifanwe in-world for ordering information.