Their memory: exploring veterans’ voices, virtual reality and collective memory

Iain Donald*, Kenneth Scott-Brown

*Corresponding author for this work

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This paper focuses on the virtual reality (VR) project Their Memory and details the development and evaluation of virtual reality environments and experiences with respect to its impact on young people (14-35 demographic) with the narratives of veterans in Scotland. As part of the AHRC Immersive Experiences program, Their Memory was created to explore how game design techniques and immersive technology could be used to enhance existing historical research and enrich narratives to bring expansive experiences to hard-to-reach audiences. The project worked directly with the veterans’ charity, Poppyscotland, to create an environment and experience that would resonate with new audiences, and explore documentary and storytelling techniques for the commemoration of war and conflict. The design of the project evolved through co-design sessions with veterans and young people and culminated in the creation of a short, thought-provoking, narrative-driven experience. The VR experience enabled players to connect with the memories of veterans in Scotland and exploring the different conflicts or situations they experienced and how they make sense of them. The project brought together cross-sector expertise to research how immersive experiences can help memory-based organizations in engaging with wider audiences, raise awareness, and diversify current learning outputs. The paper details the design and development of the Virtual Reality project, through co-design, and how this engaged the audience and evolved the experience created. The paper includes a summative evaluation of events conducted with schoolchildren to assess the project and concludes with how the project evidences impact upon audiences and the potential for both technology and the experience.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Virtual Worlds Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 18 Sept 2019


  • Game design
  • virtual reality
  • Engagement
  • Veterans
  • Immersive experiences


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  • Their memory: exploring veteran's voices

    Donald, I., Houghton, E. & Scott-Brown, K., 10 Dec 2021, Return to the interactive past: the interplay of video games and histories. Ariese, C. E., Boom, K. H. J., van den Hout, B., Mol, A. A. A. & Politopoulos, A. (eds.). Leiden: Sidestone Press, p. 31-44 14 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

    Open Access
  • Their memory

    Donald, I. (Producer) & Houghton, E. (Developer), 2 Dec 2018

    Research output: Non-textual formDigital or Visual Products

    Open Access

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