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Agog Aims To Help Immersive Projects Focused On Social Good

Agog Aims To Help Immersive Projects Focused On Social Good

Agog: The Immersive Media Institute wants to empower social activism using XR technology.

Announced by co-founders Chip Giller and Wendy Schmidt, Agog: The Immersive Media Institute is a new philanthropic organization that aims to promote social justice and equality using immersive media. The effort aims to open "new avenues for empathy, understanding, and activism" while promoting positive social transformation. Advisers to the effort include Jared Cheshier, Courtney Cogburn, Nonny de la Peña, Loren Hammonds, Amy Seidenwurm, and John Vechey. 

Detailing its key focus areas, the institute seeks to support creating XR content that "builds empathy and explores ways to address social and environmental challenges." Alongside partnering with researchers to explore how XR can foster empathy, the group also aims to set up workshops, training programs and educational outreach initiatives.

We asked about the amount of support creators can expect from the group and received the following prepared statement over email:

We intend to empower creators with resources that will help them take their work to the next level. Beyond financial support, and just as important, we see ourselves as connectors—we want to foster collaborations between creators and nonprofit leaders, offer technical support, and create opportunities for folks to come together and share learnings about the best ways to XR for social good.

Amy Seidenwurm was executive producer on the VR For Good program at Meta and, in a prepared email to UploadVR, commented on why the market fails to support projects like the ones Agog is trying to champion:

A lot of what we have seen is disconnection across the market. Those making impactful XR content may not be connected to those who are working on related issues everyday. There’s no centralized place where you can go to discover immersive media projects that are focused on social good, and the distribution systems are few and far between. At the same time, there is a burgeoning XR-for-good community that is dedicated to expanding this space, given the opportunity and the resources. We envision Agog as a hub for collaboration, cultivating partnerships among XR creators and nonprofit leaders, and providing resources to turn their ideas into reality. Really, we want to do our best to respond to what the various communities need. The good news is that the community is starting to form alliances around sharing resources and best practices. New collaborations are springing up every day, like the Immersive Experience Alliance, which brings together universities with immersive media programs. To take another example: The Royal Shakespeare Company is joining forces with a whole bunch of prestigious schools and performing arts organizations to imagine new forms of immersion.
There are so many wonderful humans that are dedicated to using XR tech to connect and inspire. I’m super inspired by them and can’t wait to see what happens when we work together to build a better world.

While today marks the Immersive Media Institute's first official announcement, this isn't the first time Agog has supported XR projects. Previously, it assisted with Impulse (Preview) - which is currently being exhibited at South By Southwest (SXSW), MIT Reality Hack, the Social Impact BuildFest, Forager, and more.

You can learn more on Agog's website.

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