Layered Horizons

“Layered Horizons” is a Research through Design and digital humanities project that brings together disparate data sets from linguistics, anthropology, geography and archaeology—within virtual reality (VR)—to create interactive information visualisations which use gesture-based controls to allow a user to interact with information in an embodied manner. A user is literally surrounded by the information as environment and interacts with it in a direct and embodied manner.

This project is an ongoing outcome of “Waves of Words, Mapping and modelling the history of Australia’s Asia-Pacific ties ”, a research project investigating the extent and nature of ancient contact between First Peoples of Australia and the Asia-Pacific region. As such, Layered Horizons is continually being iterated upon as both a research outcome and toolset for research. The project aims to use design and digital humanities research as a way to surface novel insights into interrelated data, to communicate these insights using the unique affordance of VR, and for the infrastructure of this VR experience to be transferable to other forms of data. This goal of creating a toolset for research that is useful beyond the scope of “Waves of Words” allows for a wide range of research questions to be investigated using the project outcomes.

Layered Horizons is a project by Andrew Burrell (University of Technology Sydney), Rachel Hendery (Western Sydney University) and Ali Chalmers Braithwaite (University of Technology Sydney).

Waves of Words is funded by the Australian Research Council (DP180100893) and we are grateful for the input of the other project team members: Patrick McConvell, Laurent Dousset, Antoinette Schapper, Michael Falk, Billy McConvell, Matthew Spriggs and Tim Denham

For an introduction to this project, see the following paper: Layered Horizons: a Geospatial Humanities Research Platform