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Accelerate: Accessible Immersive Learning for Art and Design

People using virtual reality head sets
People using virtual reality head sets
Camberwell Illustration staff VR workshop, image courtesy of Chris Follows.

Developing innovative methodologies, tools, platforms, and resources for accessible immersive learning in art and design.

Project duration: June 2021 - May 2023
Funded by: Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership in HEI

Project summary

Starting in June 2021, this 2 year ‘Strategic Partnership’ brings together art and design lecturers, educational researchers, and learning technologists from the UK, Ireland, Poland, and Ukraine to reflect on the impact of COVID-19 on higher education teaching and to explore new possibilities for pedagogy and digital innovation. This project is jointly delivered by Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon Colleges of Arts London (Arts, Design and Performance programmes) and the Creative Computing Institute.

The Accelerate project in action: using VR in arts and design education

Project team

  • Chris Follows, Emerging Technologies Manager
  • Mick Grierson, Professor and Research Leader - UAL Institute for Creative Computing
  • Darryl Clifton, Illustration Programme Director
  • Matt Hawkins, BA Illustration Senior Lecturer
  • Katie Gardner, Digital Learning Producer
  • Amanda Dundas, Project Manager

Project aims

The project will focus on the potential transformative role of immersive technologies (augmented, virtual, and mixed realities, also known as extended reality (XR) in the teaching of art and design while recognising that many learners face significant challenges in engaging effectively with XR technologies: disabilities; complex personal circumstances; low quality devices; poor and unreliable internet access.

Approach and outputs

Accelerate will create a new prototype platform for accessible immersive teaching in art and design that aims to democratise XR technology rather than limit it to those with the best equipment and the fastest connections.

The collaborative development of this immersive ecosystem—open-source, scalable, sustainable—as a gateway for art and design lecturers and students with little or no previous experience of XR technologies will be informed by a considered evaluation of the impact of COVID-19 on art and design teaching at the partner universities, the co-drafting of a methodological guide (and the co-designing of a standalone online training course aimed at lecturers; it will be populated by teaching materials including co-created case studies that will draw on the shared expertise and perspectives of the project partners. By engaging with the layered complexities of XR accessibility and immersive learning, ACCELERATE has the capacity to be genuinely pioneering in its pedagogical and technological outcomes and to find new ways of engaging with art and design students from disadvantaged and underrepresented groups.


  • Camberwell-Illustration-staff-VR-workshop.jpg
    Camberwell Illustration staff VR workshop, image courtesy of Chris Follows
  • Engage-VR-with-WCA-Performance-on-stage.jpg
    Storytelling Frame VR performance, image courtesy of Chris Follows.
  • storytelling-FrameVR-WCA-performance.jpg
    Story telling frame of a VR performance, image courtesy of Chris Follows.


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