EMOTIVE Meeting in Dublin

On 26 November 2016, the members from all eight partner institutions and companies gathered at the offices of the Athena Research Institute to meet, greet and plan the work ahead. A year later, this time in Ireland, the team met again to follow up on project work to date and plan for the review of its first year in action. The 2017 gathering took place on 2-3 November in Dublin, where one of our partners, Noho, is based. The meeting took place in the Science Gallery in the city’s famous university, Trinity College.  


Our first day began with a warm welcome from Noho, after which it was straight down to business. EXUS began with a review of project progress, summarising the achievements in year one and discussing overall workflow to date. We then moved on to WP2 and topics such as dissemination, communication and exploitation. This included a follow-up on the EMOTIVE Communications activities outlined in one of the public deliverables from earlier this year: D2.2 Communication material cycle #1.



After a break we began discussions on the preparatory work for the project’s annual review in early 2018. The last topic of the day was an update on the Çatalhöyük chatbot, ChatҪat, from the University of York. An online chatbot experience for Çatalhöyük, the chatbot was first trialled in June/July this year using Facebook Messenger. It is now being elaborated and further evaluated, and our preliminary results will be presented at the Computing Applications in Archaeology conference in March in Tübingen, Germany. In the meantime, you can find out about more about the EMOTIVE application of this type of experience in our public deliverable D5.1 Conceptual Framework & Guide.

The Facebook Page of the Çatalhöyük chatbot

In the evening of the first day, team members visited the Noho office for a drink before dinner. Some recent projects were set up for VR fun and play. As you can see from the pictures below, there was an abundance of screens, headsets & laughter!



Day 2 was largely dedicated to discussion of pilot experience prototypes with a focus on the onsite experience at the Hunterian and three different types of experiences at Çatalhöyük: onsite, co-located and virtual. There will be a new deliverable published on this topic in the next month or two – keep an eye on social media or our Publications & Deliverables to find out more!



Despite our busy agenda, several members of the EMOTIVE team managed to attend and present papers at the VSMM Conference 2017 during their visit.

The International Society for Virtual Systems and Multimedia is a unique cross-disciplinary organization for the exchange of cutting edge research in new media and virtual and augmented reality applied to everything from art to architecture, medicine to engineering, and archaeology to cultural heritage.

Below you will find the details of the three papers. Keep an eye on our Publications & Deliverables page, where we will add the papers once they are published.

Diakoumakos, I. P., Katifori, A., Kourtis, V., Karvounis, M., & Ioannidis, Y. (2017). Demonstrating the use of the alphabetic telegraph through a collaborative AR activity. In Proceedings of 23rd Int’l Conference on Virtual Systems and Multimedia -VSMM 2017 (forthcoming). Dublin, Ireland: IEEE.

Lambrakopoulos, G., Begetis, N., Katifori, A., Karvounis, M., & Ioannidis, Y. (2017). Experimental evaluation of the impact of virtual reality on the sentiment of fear. In Proceedings of 23rd Int’l Conference on Virtual Systems and Multimedia -VSMM 2017 (forthcoming). Dublin, Ireland: IEEE.

Perry, S., Roussou, M., Economou, M., Young, H., & Pujol, L. (2017). Moving Beyond the Virtual Museum: Engaging Visitors Emotionally. In Proceedings of 23rd Int’l Conference on Virtual Systems and Multimedia -VSMM 2017 (forthcoming). Dublin, Ireland: IEEE.




Showcasing EMOTIVE storytelling about Romans at the Antonine Wall at European Researchers’ Night – Explorathon 2017

European Researchers’ Night, or Explorathon as it is known across Scotland, has become an established event in researchers’ public engagement calendar going from strength to strength across Europe since 2005 when it started, and since 2014 in Scotland. It is funded by the European Commission under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie actions programme and it is an opportunity for researchers to showcase their work the last Friday in September in a public engagement extravaganza.

The EMOTIVE team spans France, Greece, Ireland, Italy and the UK which gave us the opportunity this year to take part in European Researchers’ Night more than once in the same day across Europe. The Glasgow University team jumped at the chance to set up a stall in the Hunterian Museum, one of the Explorathon venues, in order to let museum visitors be the first to try out the prototype of our EMOTIVE digital story about Ebutius, a Roman centurion who left his mark on the Antonine Wall. Visitors were able to hear Ebutius tell tales of his time in the Roman army stationed in Caledonia while looking for evidence from objects on display that have inspired our research.

Meanwhile, in Athens, our ATHENA research team took the opportunity to show Ebutius’ story to Greek visitors to their stall, in a remote demonstration of the same story at the local European Researchers’ Night.

In Glasgow, apart from a range of adult visitors visiting our stall and the exhibition and giving us valuable feedback, the Explorathon team and Ruth Fletcher, the Hunterian Student Engagement officer helped us also arrange a visit from a primary school class from Castlemilk in East Glasgow. A group of 27 keen and enthusiastic 11-year-olds accompanied by their two teachers helped test Ebutius’s story using the app in the exhibition. Not only that, but they also participated in the story-design process assisting us in the development of a new story about Verecunda, a local slave girl who also lived during that period and whose gravestone is on display.

The Glasgow EMOTIVE team was assisted on the day by Sara Perry from the York team, who travelled north to give us valuable insight about the whole process, and 12 student volunteers from Glasgow University’s Museum Studies MSc, who were at least as enthusiastic and keen as the schoolchildren and did an excellent job facilitating the story-design process and evaluating the use of the app.

The Hogwarts-like entrance to the Hunterian Museum and some of the amazing objects on display from the collection of William Hunter, the museum’s founder, were not missed by the pupils who appeared initially awe-struck by the whole experience.

Once settled in the main hall of the museum, we split the class in two groups and asked the first to try out Ebutius’s story on the android handsets we had set up, and invited the other half to engage in some creative writing and drawing to test some of our research on writing stories about historical characters, in this case, Verecunda. The groups then swapped over so that everyone could try both experiences.

Judging by the relative silence and engaged concentration from the Ebutius group in the Antonine Wall display and the audible debate and creative buzz from the Verecunda end of the museum, the engagement with both activities from the school group was a great hit! One pupil commented that “I felt like I was there. It was quite strange because it felt like he [Ebutius] was talking to you in real life”, reassuring us that we are on the right track with our EMOTIVE research, testing the potential of digital storytelling for bringing history to life and encouraging an empathetic engagement with heritage and the past.

We followed our morning session with an afternoon introducing general museum visitors to “Ebutius’s Dilemma”. We gave this title to the story we designed together with Breffni O’Malley, from our NOHO partners in Dublin, as we set the scene a few days before the Romans abandon the Antonine Wall to retreat further south, so Ebutius needs to decide if he will follow the army and leave the family he has created with a local Caledonian girl, or if he should become a deserter and stay with his family. This resonated with most of our visitors and encouraged strong emotional responses. A lot of them were keen not only to take part and try the story but also to talk to us about why we had developed it and what they enjoyed about it. They were also eager to share with us what choice they had made for Ebutius’s dilemma. A lot of them filled in the feedback postcard we had designed expressing how the story made them feel. Some mentioned that the story made them consider the objects on display differently and pay closer attention to objects that they would have otherwise overlooked. One visitor wrote “I thought this was really good! It broke the glass wall that separates the viewer from the object in a museum. Really interesting!”

The experience helped us identify some glitches with the audio and the navigation of the app, but much fewer than we expected from an early prototype.

Nearly 40 visitors tried out our EMOTIVE digital story in the Antonine Wall display at the Hunterian Museum on that day, providing us with valuable insights from actual visitors about what they enjoyed, didn’t like and early formative evaluation that we can feed back into our next steps in the design and evaluation process.

All in all, a very successful event that helped us engage with a variety of our end users and target audience and gave use a lot of ideas for our future work.

Blog post written by Maria Economou and Hilary Young from the University of Glasgow EMOTIVE team.