Dr Richard A Cole

BA(Bristol), MA(Bath Spa), PhD(Bristol)

  • BS8 1TB

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Personal profile

Research interests

My research specialises in the history and culture of classical antiquity and how this intersects with new media, in particular video games, virtual reality (VR), and artificial intelligence (AI). I have developed a unique, interdisciplinary approach, combining digital humanities with cultural studies and sociological theories of framing to demonstrate the impact that immersive experiences of antiquity have on different communities. I am also interested more broadly in the interplay between history and fiction in different forms of historical fiction. My PhD (University of Bristol, 2019) made the case for the existence of the ‘historical frame’, defined as an (in)tangible border around historical materials that shapes their reception, and explored how this frame functions in historical fictions set in late antiquity.

I have published in high impact journals and key edited volumes on how video games and VR experiences are shaping new forms of public history. I have also published on the ways in which historical fictions impact the historcial imagination. Currently, I am writing a chapter that looks at how questions regarding the authorship of the Iliad and Odyssey can help us better understand AI generated texts today.

From 2020-2023, I worked as a postdoctoral researcher on the multidisciplinary, AHRC-funded project The Virtual Reality Oracle (VRO): An Immersive Experience of the Ancient Greek Oracle at Dodona, which created a ground-breaking VR experience of ancient divination that aims to improve educational outcomes in schools.

My research has also been instrumental in establishing the Bristol Digital Game Lab (2022), which I co-direct. Based in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Bristol, the Lab brings together researchers and practitioners from a radically diverse range of perspectives, including history, translation, comparative literature, film and television, law, computer science, AI, game design, and beyond. The Lab has succeeded in charting new possibilities for collaboration, both across disciplines and between Higher Education and the gaming industry, with digital games as a shared object of interest.

Structured keywords and research groupings

  • Institute of Greece, Rome, and the Classical Tradition


  • Video Games
  • Gaming
  • game design
  • Classics
  • Ancient History
  • Greece
  • Rome
  • VR
  • AI
  • Creative Technologies
  • Historical fiction


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