Assembling with VR: Dancing in a more-than-human world

Lisa May Thomas*, Debbie L Watson, Lois Peach, Nina Ross, Naomi Clarke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


In this paper, we consider the claims that constellate around the concepts of immersion, presence and empathy that have been made about virtual reality across many disciplines of study, including psychology, criminology, immersive film and media. These claims are applied to an interdisciplinary, collaborative project: VR Dance; which engaged young people (11-16 years) in hip hop and immersive technology workshops over a six-week period. We discuss the ways in which co-created immersive environments which centre the body offer potential to tune into and re-calibrate our sensitivities and modes of engagement with each other and the environments we are in. We argue that this is not simply as a result of technology’s effects on individuals but constituted in wider assemblages of human and nonhuman actors. We make the case for virtual reality, not as a tool for ‘becoming other’, but as part of wider assemblages in ongoing transformations, relocations, and calibrations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-83
Number of pages29
JournalExchanges: The Warwick Research Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 2024

Structured keywords

  • SPS Children and Families Research Centre


  • virtual reality
  • Dance
  • embodiment
  • empathy
  • immersion
  • Barad
  • intra-action
  • assemblage


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