We are delighted to be part of the brand new ICONIC Project that will help everyone, no matter what their age or where they live, connect with the Ocean.

As society becomes increasingly digital, older people across the South West are being faced with the growing prospect of isolation and exclusion. In the past, growth in the digital sector has also led to younger people feeling they may need to leave the region in search of work in the industry.

The ICONIC (Intergenerational Codesign of Novel technologies In Coastal communities) will address both challenges by finding ways of engaging older generations with digital content, and encouraging younger generations to create it.

80 older and 40 younger people will work with researchers to develop novel technologies that will help participants connect with their community and the cultural landscapes in the region. It will enable those unable to leave their homes, or those without regular access to transport, to visit some of the UK’s most loved environmental and heritage sites across Devon and Cornwall, through enhanced virtual reality. Underwater cameras will also enable people to explore, and engage with the Plymouth Sound National Marine Park.

At the Ocean Conservation Trust, we believe that everyone should be given the opportunity to experience the wonders of the Ocean, no matter their age or where they live. Exploring the Ocean through digital and immersive technology is a great way to provide access to communities who may be excluded, and so we are excited to be part of this project! Watch this space for exciting project updates!

Nursing home residents immersing in the Ocean through a VR experience.

This project has been made possible through a grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, and is being led by the University of Plymouth, working alongside more than 20 partners from the public sector and the arts.