Horizon CDT Research Highlights

Research Highlights

Accessibility and Mixed Reality in Museums

  Ashley Graham-Brown (2023 cohort)

As mixed reality technology continues to become more prevalent in museums there are continuing questions on its accessibility and useability by the general public. This research aims to find some of these problems and investigate how we design solutions and create processes that support these minority experiences. Researching the effect of mixed reality in museums is still reasonably new and so bringing questions of accessibility in early supports the creation of equitable experiences.

It will be disability-led research that includes multiple disabled voices to create and research in a way that supports the problems they face, using participatory research methods. Specifically supporting ground-up designed-in accessibility in practice based mixed reality applications, especially for cultural heritage contexts.

The PhD aims to create guidelines or frameworks to create future installations in settings like museums to ensure they are as accessible as possible. It also aims to directly suggest and influence where the technology might be most helpful in future. It also wants to support the creation of design processes that lean into accessibility problems and integrate marginalised experiences. Not seeing accessibility as a boundary to get over but an opportunity.

The other side of this is looking at the presentation of the work, and how this kind of research can be made useful to a lay population, or professionals outside of research. Not picking or choosing what we think they can understand but making as much as possible available and accessible to wider audiences. It is essential here to recognise the non-academic expertise these groups may have. While it is almost certainly beyond the scope of the PhD to fully investigate bridging this gap there is an aim for it to form part of the basis of this integration in future.

This author is supported by the Horizon Centre for Doctoral Training at the University of Nottingham (UKRI Grant No. EP/S023305/1).