Research Aim

The overarching aims of this research project were to understand how Arts and cultural organisations can access digital technology for creative play and learning, and how we can enable children and young people to access meaningful digital realm engagement.

In response to this our specific objectives were to create a mixed reality play system and support package that could:

  • Immerse participants in projected images and worlds
  • Enable children to invest in the imaginary dimensions and possibilities of digital play
  • provide a creative learning framework, tools, guides and manuals and an online community
  • Offer open source software, easy to use for artists, learning officers, teachers, librarians, children and young people

Three main innovations were identified that would enable the development of this package, these became the main thrusts of the work of each partners:

  • Innovation in practice and facilitation
  • Innovation in system design, user-bility and use-ability
  • Innovation in the theoretical framework underpinning all areas of Digital Creative Play

The research activities were underpinned with a 2 point manifesto:

  1. the digital fundamentally changes everything, fundamentally
  2. We needed to take the participant inside these mixed reality worlds and do something meaningful with them whilst inside.

The team at De Montfort University were primarily responsible for developing a "Digital Creative Play Research". This was a framework through which transdisciplinary innovation in practice, thinking, theorising, abstraction, action, applying, observing and more, could be synthesised into an appropriate theory with which all the aspects of innovation in Pop Up Play could flow.

The general areas of transdisciplinary research can be catagorised as:

  • Phenomenology & embodiment in mixed reality
  • Gaming and digital play incorporation
  • Pedagogy and play in digital education for the arts


The team at De Montfort University were Dr Craig Vear (Principle Investigator) and Dr Linda McConnon (Research Assistant). The methods were 'In the wild', Agile – iterative; evaluate regular and often; engage stakeholders, and inductive speculation/ deductive reasoning.

Research Timeline:

9 Work packages - March 2014 - March 2015