Future Media Broadcasting 

September 2022 - March 2023
Funded by AHRC via XR Stories, York University
with Eleanor Dare and X||dinary Stories

This workpackage seeks to explore what children aged 7-11 think is the future of broadcasting. It sits alongside two other workpackages, one that looks at younger children and another at teenagers.

The project explores what children aged 7-11 think is the future of broadcasting. This will be done by running a series of public engagement activities for groups of children at the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford. Here, we will offer children the opportunity to explore their ideas on the future of broadcast media in relation to a series of new technologies such photogrammetry, Cardboard VR (age appropriate) and proto-metaverse platforms. These technologies will be explored through a series of hands-on art and design-based research methods.

The intention of these workshops is to seek an understanding of children's ideas for how they would like to consume future TV content. It builds on the decline of children watching linear TV and the planned closing of CBBC in 2025/6. In relation to this, we will introduce children to a range of new technologies and seek their ideas for other ways in which they might like to engage with TV content. There is a two-prong focus on engagement via immersion (i.e. VR) and via interaction (e.g. proto-metaverse like mass online gaming platforms).

Research Aims & Questions

• To undertake public engagement activities on the topic of future media broadcast
• To explore how children aged 7-11 years-old would like to consume TV content through interactive media and, or new technologies

Research Questions:
1. What are the elements most important to 7-11-year-olds when changing TV media to interactive media?
2. What are the elements most important to 7-11-year-olds when changing TV media to immersive media?
3. In relations to questions 1 & 2: What are the similarities or differences when the content is fact or fiction?
4. What aspects of consuming broadcast media through immersive media is engaging/ disengaging for children?
5. What aspects of consuming broadcast media through interactive media is engaging/ disengaging for children?

Public Engagement Workshops

Public Engagement Workshop 1 & 2: Dennis the Menace

The first two workshops will focus on changing fictional TV content, Dennis the Menace, into future broadcasting prototypes using photogrammetry and 360-degree virtual content.

Children who attend the public engagement workshops will be given a cultural probe. This is a collection of visual and physical materials that act as a prompt to engage non-design specialist participants in design processes (see images below). Specifically, for workshops 1 & 2 children will be provide with a story and a character from the Beano and asked to choose elements they would like to form part of a virtual world, and then to make them from a collection of arts and craft materials. They will then be shown how to film in 360 and view their creation in a cardboard VR headset.

In terms of research, the children's creations will be scanned using photogrammetry and also photographed. Children who consent to take part in the research will be informally interviewed about what they have created and why, to collect dialogue on their decision-making processes. They will also be asked for their thoughts on seeing their creation in the VR headset. These three things will form two datasets that will be analysed using thematic and visual content analysis. The findings will lead into the development of prototypes for use in workshops 5 and 6 (see below). 

Public Engagement Workshop 3 & 4: Blue Peter
The third and fourth workshops will focus on changing factual TV content, Blue Peter into future broadcasting prototypes in order to look for similarities and difference between how children might want to consume the two types of TV media.

Public Engagement Workshop 5 & 6: testing prototype future broadcasting media

The final two workshops will look to test children’s reactions to prototype future broadcast media made by Eleanor and myself (see below). 

By including techniques such as world-building in online gaming spaces, photogrammetry and software such as Blender in our data collection workshops, we will also be introducing children in Bradford to a range of techniques commonly used by adults in the design and production of cutting-edge media.

Developing Prototypes

We will use the scanned assets of children’s work taken using photogrammetry during the first four workshops within the prototypes. We will also draw in key ideas from the data analysis of the interview data. The intentions is to produce two protypes of content, one that is interactive and another that is immersive.

Images by Eleanor Dare