Harmeet Chagger Khan, Artist & Resident at Pervasive Media Studio, will be the guest speaker for this week's talk.
Elixir of Life
How can experiential and ethical game play increase mental resilience, build protective behaviours and create positive behaviour change? Currently 1 in 3 people in the UK are afflicted by mental health issues with only 1 in 8 accessing treatment. Suicide is the biggest cause of death for young adults between the ages of 20 – 34 and a recent index of 301 diseases found mental health problems to be one of the main causes of the overall disease burden worldwide. (They were shown to account for 21.2% of years lived with disability worldwide). According to a report published by WHO in 2011, untreated mental health problems account for 13% of the total global burden of disease. It is projected that, by 2030, mental health problems (particularly depression) will be the leading cause of mortality and morbidity globally. Elixir of Life, is an augmented reality game set on the streets of Birmingham, where teams of players follow a quest for immortality, across 5 city locations. A mix of immersive, locative theatre and augmented reality, Elixir of Life is a social story-game, hero quest and an epic search for the potential within all of us. Interacting with real and virtual characters and objects to solve puzzles and collect totems of resilience, courage, compassion, trust and inspiration, will you save Dr Zara Myers, a bio-physicist whose being chased by notorious super-villains, 'The Mob' and find the elusive Elixir before it falls into the wrong hands? Working with 2 focus groups (young women at risk of sexual exploitation with Kairos Women Working Together and university students with mental health issues) and a behavioural psychologist, I want to develop a prototype of Elixir of life as an experience that catalyses change and an additional tool kit (a medicine box of tools and games for everyday resilience) to test out whether experiential gaming, can help people adopt new behaviours and increase resilience for those in alternative mental spaces and situations of risk and exploitation (UN Sustainable Goal 3 & 16).
Harmeet Chagger-Khan is an artist, creative producer and filmmaker who is currently a BOM (Birmingham Open Media) Fellow and resident at Pervasive Media Studio, Bristol, exploring how new technology, locative storytelling, immersive media (VR & AR) and theatre can create antidotes to life. Over the last 12 years Harmeet has facilitated and produced projects with a diverse range of individuals to harness their polymathic qualities and create subtle behaviour change within communities, organisations and cities. And has undertaken research at the Futurelab at Ars Electronica, worked as Digital Strategist at M&C Saatchi and with organisations including Sampad, RSA, Southbank Centre, THSH, Creative Partnerships, CAST and Saudi Aramco.