Funding and focus

We were awarded Google and Institute of Strategic Dialogue Innovation Fund in early 2018 to develop 360 degree videos to address hate and extremism in schools. The Innovation Fund to Counter Hate and Extremism was launched in late 2017 to support civil society as they work to prevent the rise of hate and extremism online and in communities.

Our brief was “Through three 10 minute 3D, multi-user VR experience young people will be able to experience first-hand the “lives” of people from socially excluded communities. This project will pilot using virtual technology to combat extremism among vulnerable young people.”

About the project

Our project is aimed at children from 9 years to 11 years of age. The 360 videos, are viewable via virtual reality viewers (e.g. Google Cardboard) or via YouTube, capture the experiences of children who find it difficult to connect with others from different backgrounds.

We are hopeful that the immersive experiences will help to generate empathy for others and to promote values of tolerance and anti-hate. The 360 degree videos in this project allow students and the wider public to experience a “day in the life” of a young person from a socially excluded community, and in doing so foster social inclusion in a new immersive and engaging way. More details of the project are at this link.


An Open Educational Resource on The Open University’s OpenLearn platform: How would you respond to social discrimination?

A report with our collaborators Demos: Virtual Inclusion: Testing the use of VR in Resilience

Reflections by our developers Animorph Co-op: Virtual Inclusion, a featured project.

BBC News Item: Virtual reality to stop bullying: Tech tested in schools

Our project (pages 42-43) is featured in the impact report downloadable from this page: ‘Innovation fund to counter hate and extremism in the UK’, impact report’

Project team

Colleagues involved at The Open University were: Professor Peter Bloom (earlier at The Open University’s Business School and now at University of Essex), Dr Evangelia Baralou (The Open University’s Business School) and me.

Tony Coe of Two Cats Scan and the team at Animorph designed and developed the 360 degree videos and the App.