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A gift-giving experience at climate summit

A digital platform called Gift is allowing visitors to the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) to share climate issues and themes of interest with friends and loved ones.

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The Gift digital platform is making its own unique contribution to the COP26 held in Glasgow, Scotland, between 31 October and 12 November. As COP26 brings heads of state, climate experts and campaigners together to accelerate action on climate change, Gift is giving them the opportunity to create and share personalised digital content from the conference. The aim is to get others involved in the climate conversation. The Gift platform was developed by researchers from the University of Nottingham’s Mixed Reality Laboratory and interactive artists from the Blast Theory artist group as part of the EU-funded GIFT project. As noted in a press release posted on the University of Nottingham’s website, “Gift draws on the practice of gifting as a way to facilitate personalisation and social sharing in museums and exhibitions.”

What aspect of the conference would others be interested in?

By simply scanning a QR code to open the platform, visitors can start making their own customised tour of the summit that they can share with, or gift, to friends and family. “Gift takes the deeply personal process of choosing, making and giving a gift to someone you love and transposes this to the experience of exploring exhibitions, museums and galleries,” explains Blast Theory artist Nick Tandavanitj in the press release. “COP26 is a context where the ideas that are shared will potentially have a global impact,” Tandavanitj goes on to say. “So, for COP26, we’re rewriting Gift to invite delegates and the public to reflect on someone they love as they explore the exhibitions and displays of the conference. What are the things they find that will be important to someone they love? We hope this will be an opportunity for those attending to share the experience with those close to them and remain focused on what is crucial in the context of the climate emergency.” Mixed Reality Laboratory Head Prof. Steve Benford remarks: “It’s really exciting to have Gift at COP26. Making an exhibition a shared experience not only extends the reach of COP26 and its important topics and themes, but is also a way for visitors to look at it from a different perspective – through the eyes of someone they love. This may make them think more deeply or differently about a climate issue, or lead them to look at something entirely new.” Over a period of three years, the GIFT (Meaningful Personalization of Hybrid Virtual Museum Experiences Through Gifting and Appropriation) project brought together internationally renowned artists, designers, museum professionals and researchers to help museums create hybrid experiences, combining the physical and digital to create personal encounters with cultural heritage. The Gift platform is already in use in museums across Europe. For more information, please see: GIFT project website


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