The VIP Studio is pleased to host six practice-as-research residents who will support our ongoing enquiry in to the critical and aesthetic potential of popular and emergent immersive technologies.

VIP Residents 2024


Dr Nina Willment

Virtual and Immersive Production: Critical reflections on sustainability

Nina Willment


‘Immersive technologies have the potential to revolutionise how we tell and engage with different stories, but we also need to reflect on the sustainability stories we tell about these technologies themselves. We need to be critical and recognise both the opportunities and challenges immersive technologies offer when thinking about sustainability.’

Dr Nina Willment is a cultural and economic geographer, interested in the intersections between digital technologies, audiences and climate action. She was previously a Research Associate with XR Stories, a £15 million Arts and Humanities Research Council Grant examining the social, cultural and economic impacts of immersive technologies. She is currently Researcher in Residence at the Virtual and Immersive Production Studio at the University of Nottingham. Her research fuses together critical reflections on sustainability and the climate crisis with creative making, using immersive technologies to examine the potentials of audiences to be affected to undertake collective climate action. She was awarded a PhD from Royal Holloway, University of London, where her research examined the varied forms of creative labour and expression undertaken by online content creators.




The project:

Immersive sector stakeholders are often overlooked within public discourses on climate change, yet immersive experiences have the potential to significantly impact public understanding of how to address sustainability challenges, and the environmental and social impacts of climate change. Whilst immersive technologies offer huge potential for climate education, they can have their own significant carbon footprint and contribute to e-waste (Woodhead, 2023). This residency project will use immersive experiences (in their creation and content) as a lens to look critically at the sustainability challenges and potentials of the virtual and immersive production (VIP) industry. It will investigate the impact of immersive technology as a medium for telling sustainability and climate change related stories, exploring and evaluating audience interactions with virtual and immersive production hardware and storytelling, audience connections to other everyday digital devices and the sustainability challenges (and circular economy potentials) associated with immersive and digital technologies.


Marina Wainer

Marina Wainer


‘I believe that immersive technology can be a powerful way to engage with communities, with the aim of developing new and inclusive imaginaries, narratives, and spaces of representation.’

Marina Wainer is a Paris-based multidisciplinary artist. For the last 20 years, she has been making interactive art, at the crossroads of creation and technology. The artist explores societal issues and spaces of representation to create new perceptions and open up perspectives.

Her approach is to imagine sensitive experiences where the public is placed at the heart of the work. The interaction proposed in her work, which encourages participation, has sometimes turned into collaboration, involving audiences from the very beginning stage (including working with different communities). MW has been developing transdisciplinary collaborations, with creators from other disciplines, researchers, and scientists. Her projects were shown in different cultural and academic contexts, in France and abroad.

Alongside her artistic production, MW has devoted part of her activity to teaching and designing events related to her practice.



The project

The starting point for my reflexion on this project is the way in which representations of the world through artificial intelligence are being produced. AI is shaping our narratives and perceptions, with known and studied biases. The idea is to explore how to broaden the spectrum, how to give a voice to low participation communities in this construction, and set up inventive and innovative processes to create new stories and renew representations.

The final outcome will be an immersive spatial experience, around urban and natural scapes representations created with AI by under-represented groups. This thematic ground propose an interesting potential, firstly because representations of landscapes (urban, natural, real, fictional, dreamt, allegorical, …) have become large playgrounds for developing imaginaries with AIs. Also because these spaces can speak to everyone wherever they live and therefore be easily appropriated by a wide audience as part of a participative and collaborative approach.

With this work, I would like to think about new ways of dreaming up these imaginary worlds.


Social media

Instagram: @marina_wainer



Jennifer Bell

Jenifer Bell


Jennifer is a senior lecture in Fashion Marketing and Branding at the Nottingham School of Art & Design, Nottingham Trent University, and a researcher and creative in the Web3 space working with spoken word and textile art.   

 Following an undergraduate degree in Theatre Design for Performance at Central St Martins, and masters from the London College of Communication in Enterprise and Management for the Creative Arts, Jennifer produced and created theatre, events and media content in diverse spaces and places including care homes, cultural institutions (Battersea Arts Centre, Whitechapel Gallery, Tate Britain, BAFTA and Somerset House) and YouTube.  

 In 2012 Jennifer was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship and left the UK to work toward her PhD and teach at Ohio University, with the remit to explore the export of British national identity to US markets through televised content. Her doctorate led her to comic-cons, living rooms and digital sites of pop culture fandom, as she continued to explore the intersection between digital and physical experience.   




Since joining Nottingham Trent University in 2020, Jennifer’s interest in digital environments has led her to Web3. Working as Jennifer Yellow-Hat, with collaborator DAO Jones, she has produced, exhibited, and sold NFT’s internationally, and engaged in Web3 communities on digital platforms, and at industry conferences in the UK, US, and Europe. She is an organiser of the NTU Web3 Festival, and a founding member of NTU NXT, a group of creative staff and students experimenting with Web3 and immersive technologies.

The project

Conversations with Myself is a series of research events exploring digital twinning in immersive environments. The project builds on a catalogue of spoken work poetry inspired by Web3 ideology and communities, open knowledge, digital realms and digital fashion, and casts Jen and different iterations of her virtual twin as dual performers in an emerging narrative. Through experimental forms of image capture and the programming of a Jen LLM (language learning model / AI), Conversations with Myself will play with and bend the parameters of truth and authenticity in virtual and immersive environments, and ultimately blur the boundaries of artistic ownership through outputs created collaboratively between humans and machines.






RUTH MARINER - Co-creative director / narrative designer 

Ruth Mariner is an award-winning writer & director creating story-driven experiences for opera, multimedia performance and immersive technology (XR). 

Ruth's collaborations include The Royal Opera House, English Touring Opera, BBC Proms, and the Eden Project. 

MAGGIE BAIN Co-Creative Director / Actor 

Maggie is a non binary actor, director, movement & XR practitioner with over 17 years experience in stage, screen and motion/performance capture. 

In 2021 they performed in DREAM a fully live streamed virtual theatre experience. They are the resident digital creative consultant to the Royal Shakespeare Company. 


DAVID GOCHFELD- Technical Director 

David is an award- winning immersive media creator, specializing in interactive narrative experiences. His work with live performance in VR has appeared at festivals and conferences worldwide, including Tribeca, SXSW and the Venice Biennale Cinema. He won an Emmy for his work on Zero Days VR. 

FREJYA SEWELL - Art Director 

 Freyja is an award winning futurist designer and artist with a focus on blending technology, nature and spirituality to nurture a positive future. 

With 10+ years industry experience; clients including Google, Southbank Centre and Finnish National Opera 

The project

“Growing up I would walk for hours around urban landscapes wondering what the hell was wrong with me. Queerness was always on the periphery of these spaces, something dangerous and outside the realm of “normal”. Walking in nature as an adult is healing because I’m surrounded by manifestations of sexual and gender queerness seamlessly integrated into the ecosystem, affirming the beauty of my identity. I view my queerness not as a problem, but as a creative offering from the natural world, a purposeful evolution that warrants exploration beyond society’s obsession with whether we have any right to exist.” — Maggie Bain  In our project, Pùca - a liminal shapeshifting nature sprite from Celtic folklore, helps us bridge the gap between the natural world and that of the human world immersing the audience in the new ways of seeing that our technology is offering us. This 40-minute location-based experience leverages live motion capture and VR headsets for up to 12 participants at a time. Led by non-binary actor and motion capture expert Maggie Bain as Pùca, we guide the audience through five diverse environments, showcasing nature's evolution beyond sexual and gender binaries. 

To realise Pùca’s abilities we are creating avatars that hack facial rigs, allowing Pùca to 'shape-shift' emotionally and expressively. The audience will interact within each environment, from traversing the veins of a decomposing leaf to exploring micro-macro aspects of nature. By weaving storytelling with immersive technology, we aim to highlight the often-overlooked diversity and fluidity of the natural world and how it can help us understand ourselves and our place within it. This project serves as a personal exploration of queerness in nature, and also as an invitation to reawaken our connection to the mystical power of nature, through a captivating and transformative experience. 

Web address: 

Social media: