Mental health awareness in Second Life

Virtual Ability Island

The Virtual Ability community in Second Life is hosting its sixth annual Mental Health Symposium on Saturday, May 27th, 2017, commencing at 06:00 SLT.

Virtual Ability Inc  (VAI) and the Virtual Ability community hosts this annual Symposium to share information about mental health and mental disabilities with the general population. Within this cross-disability community are people who deal with a variety of mental health issues. So, not only is this an opportunity for community members to learn more about topics related to mental health from experts they probably would not have an opportunity to otherwise meet, it also  allows the general public to attend a professional conference for free.

The theme of this year’s event is I can relate to that. It features an international presenters offering a wide interpretation of the theme, based on their interests and academic backgrounds. Attendees will learn ways to promote mental health for themselves and their families, how diet affects mental health, and how first responders and medical clinicians can improve their own mental health.

Sojourner Auditorium

The schedule is as follows (all times SLT):

  • 06:00: Tracy Burrows –  Diet, Nutrition and Food Addiction.
  • 07:30: Sarah Henderson and Kristin Klimley – First Responder Mental Health: The Importance of Training and Intervention.
  • 09:00: Joel Edman – Nutritional and Holistic Approaches to Stomach and Intestinal Disorders: Practical guidelines that can also be helpful for chronic and/or complex health issues.
  • 10:30: A selection of tours of sites related to mental health in Second Life – see below for more.
  • 12:00 noon: Ian Colman – Mental health promotion: What can you do for you and your loved ones?.
  • 13:30: Karen Davison  – Bridging the Divide: Exploring research in nutrition, mental health and food security.
  • 15:00: Diana Anderson – Virtual Windows: Design solutions to improve the mental health of clinical staff.
  • 16:30: Namaara MacMoragh  – Mental Health Following Brain Injury.

The Symposium takes place in Virtual Ability’s Sojourner Auditorium, on Virtual Ability island.

Mental Health Awareness exhibits, HealthInfo Island

May has traditionally been designated as Mental Health Awareness Month; so in addition to the symposium, and as noted above, the Virtual Ability community has a series of exhibits and displays related to mental health on its Healthinfo Island. Open to the public, these comprise:

When visiting an exhibit, click the title poster or display to get a full text note card; click each poster for live links and text chat. Other exhibits and displays on Healthinfo Island during May include:

About Virtual Ability

Virtual Ability, Inc. is a non-profit corporation, chartered in the state of Colorado, USA.  We are a non-profit tax exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code. This means that for US citizens, contributions made are deductible as a charitable donation for federal income tax purposes.

For further information on the board of directors, please visit the Virtual Ability About Us page.

For those wishing to keep up with Virtual Ability news and updates when on the move, you can follow them on Twitter.

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Virtual Ability: 2015 IDRAC in Second Life

Virtual AbilityVirtual Ability has announced the speakers and schedule for the 5th International Disability Rights Affirmation Conference (IDRAC), which will take place in Second Life on  Friday, November 13th and Saturday, November 14th, 2015, with the theme It’s All About the People.

The conference will take place at the Sojourner Auditorium on Virtual Ability Island, and will feature presentations from Canada, Italy, Japan, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom and the United States. Presentation will be of around 90 minutes duration, including time for discussion and breaks between, with the first session on each day starting at 09:00 SLT and the last at 15:00 SLT.

IDRAC 2015

Schedule of Sessions

The conference schedule, as it stood at the time of writing, was as follows. Please visit the conference page on the virtual Ability website for any updates and to read the biographies of the individual presenters. All times are SLT.

09:00 Effectiveness Study of a Community-Based Pain Clinic – Muhammad Abdul Hadi
10:30
The Edge of Normal – Hana Schank
12:00
The Right to be Rescued – Jordan Melograna
13:30 WORLDS APART: Why SL Makes Me More Normal Than RL – Mook Wheeler
15:00 Disability at Intersections: International Conversations on Disability in Relation to Other Identities and Social Justice Spectrum – Akemi Nishida

Friday. November 13th

The Sojourner Auditorium
The Sojourner Auditorium, virtual Ability Island

Saturday, November 14th

09:00 Who is The Sojourner? What is Dreams? – Golda Stein
10:30
Making a Difference, One Line of Code at a Time – Captain Code
12:00
People Helping People – Down to the Marrow – Katsii Tennen
13:30 Freaks: Stories of People on the Fringes of Life – Slatan Dryke
15:00 3:00pm – Closing Performance: ~DRUM~ (Divine Rhythms of Universal Music)

 

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Artistic timbres in second Life

 

Slayton Drake: A Palette of Timbres, Cape Able Art Gallery
Slatan Dryke: A Palette of Timbres, Cape Able Art Gallery

Saturday, June 20th saw the opening of a new exhibition featuring the art of Second Life photographer and sculptor, Slatan Dryke.

A Palette of Timbres, hosted at Virtual Ability’s Cape Able Art Gallery, presents 27 images captured by Slatan together with a number of his still and animated sculptures. As might be taken from the title of the exhibition, each of the images on display features strong tonal colours which mark them as much as – if not more so – than their subject matter.

Slayton Drake: A Palette of Timbres, Cape Able Art Gallery
Slatan Dryke: A Palette of Timbres, Cape Able Art Gallery

The result is a series of pictures, many of them of familiar places across Second Life, presented in the most striking of ways, where the choice of colour both projects a sense of texture and tone of mood – much as musical timbre is used to describe the deeper sense of tone and quality evidenced in the sound of music – light, dark, warm, bright, cool, and so on.

Of course, we’re all familiar with seeing colour in art, responding to its use and the way in which the artist makes use of his or her palette; but within several of the pieces here, there is the deliberate over-emphasis of certain colours and shades to present the subject matter in such a way as to almost give it a voice, a sound; perhaps even a harmony. Thus, the observer is offered a glimpse into the world of psychoacoustics which is in many respects, entirely in keeping with the place in which the exhibition is being hosted.

Which is also not to say that one needs to be deeply immersed in the theory of timbre and sound or the use of colour in order to appreciate the pieces on display. Slatan has a fine eye for composition – as fine a composer’s ear for music, one might be tempted to say –  and his images are exquisite in their detail and beauty, which makes them tempting additions for any collection or home.

Should you be interested in owning a copy of any of the pieces displayed, please keep in mind that Virtual Ability is a non-profit 501(c)3 organisation, and is prevented from allowing third parties such as artists from selling directly on their regions; so please contact Slatan directly.

Slayton Drake: A Palette of Timbres, Cape Able Art Gallery
Slatan Dryke: A Palette of Timbres, Cape Able Art Gallery

While visiting Cape Able, do make sure you visit the resource centre there, and learn more about Virtual Ability’s work with the hearing impaired, including their Deaf Chat Coffee house – see iSke’s comments following this article on the work there. Also be sure to visit the Fenimore Art Museum, which is currently hosting an exhibition of the work of American artist and illustrator, Maxfield Parrish.

SLurl Details

Virtual Ability announce IDRAC speakers and schedule

Virtual AbilityVirtual Ability has announced the speakers and schedule for the 4th International Disability Rights Affirmation Conference (IDRAC), which will take place in Second Life on October 3rd and 4th, 2014 under the title of “Technically, we’re accessible… right?” Exploring True Inclusion in the Digital World.

The conference will take place at the Sojourner Auditorium on Virtual Ability Island, with the first presentation taking place at 05:30 SLT on Friday October 3rd. Speaking at the event will be:

  • Babar Shahzad Chaudary. a Doctoral Researcher for Mobile Computing/Embedded Systems at University of Oulu, Finland
  • Catherine Easton, who will be speaking on access to the Internet and human rights
  • David Sloan, who will present From Checklist Accessibility to Accessible User Experiences
  • Dr. Edmund F. LoPresti, an adjunct faculty in the Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology at the University of Pittsburgh, who will be speaking on Assistive Technology for Computer Access
  • Gregg Vanderheiden, who will be discussing AutoPersonalization in Real and Second Life
  • Laura Hall, who will be presenting Fun for Everyone: Assistive Technology for Video Gaming
  • Gunela Astbrink, an ICT policy advisor and researcher
  • Brian Kelly, presenting Web accessibility is not (primarily) about conformance with web accessibility standards
  • Tim Creagan, Sr. Accessibility Specialist at U.S. Access Board
  • Anthony Giannoumis, presenting A Revaluation of the Cultural Dimension of disability policy in the EU: the impact of digitization and web accessibility
  • blondieCART, iSkye Silverweb, and Gentle Heron from Virtual Ability, presenting Hear With Your Eyes – How It’s Done
  • Joel Foner, presenting Wait, what was that? Using inclusion to create a huge win for everyone, not just those who ‘need it’
  • Tom Boellstorff, presenting Bytes and Pixels: The Social Impact of Digital Inclusion.
The open-air Sojourner Auditorium, Virtual Ability Island, location for the 2014 ISRAC conference, to be hosted by Virtual Ability Inc
The open-air Sojourner Auditorium, Virtual Ability Island, location for the 2014 ISRAC conference, to be hosted by Virtual Ability Inc

Full details of the two-day programme, which will include social activities as well as the main speaker programme, can be found on the Virtual Ability blog. Attendance for the event is open to all, and Virtual Ability extend a warm invitation to anyone wishing to attend.

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