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ARC Laureate Felt Experience & Empathy Lab (fEEL)

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ARC Laureate Felt Experience & Empathy Lab (fEEL)

The ARC Laureate Felt Experience & Empathy Lab (fEEL) has been established through funding from the ARC Australian Laureate Fellowship awarded to Professor Jill Bennett, Director of the National Institute of Experimental Art at UNSW Art & Design.

The Experience & Empathy Lab harnesses emerging immersive visualisation technology, pioneering a new approach to the study of subjective experience. With the larger social goal of transforming our capacity to understand stigmatised and devalued populations, and of effectively remediating the effects of stigmatisation and prejudice, it will develop a transformative research tool—a virtual Perception Environment that simulates seeing through the eyes of another. The program will deploy this research tool to generate unprecedented insight into first-person perspectives and the dynamic connections that promote societal empathy.

This new approach is being developed through a comprehensive test case: the Australian Ageing Experience Project. A unique and globally pioneering study, the AAEP is designed to counter the stereotyping of ageing as mental decline. The goal of the AAEP is to delve deeply into the reality of the ageing mind, report experiences from those who are transitioning into the later stages of life; see how ageing affects them and what will surprise us about the ageing mind. With Virtual Perceptual Environment technology, the Australian Laureate researchers will bring to life insights from participants’ lived experience to facilitate ‘seeing from another’s’ point of view about the cognitive and perceptual aspects of ageing. The Perception Environment will be used to address a fundamental question beyond the reach of neurobiology: What is it like to live with an ageing brain? By translating neurological processes into correlates in lived experience we understand more about the real-life effects of brain aging or injury—and thus can better support the management of these conditions.

Driven by a social impact agenda, the ARC Laureate program will place Australia’s most advanced immersive visualisation technology in the public domain with the aim of making a difference in quality of life for ageing Australians and by extension for the whole-of-community.

People

Jill Bennett - Australian Research Council Australian Laureate Fellow. Chief Investigator for the Laureate Research Program that will trial the Australian Ageing Experience Project investigating immersive visualisation technology’s capacity to approach the study of subjective experience.

Volker Kuchelmeister - Research Fellow Immersive Visualisation. Lead design and development of immersive data visualisation, contributing to the project's Experience Visualisation and Empathic Computing research.

Natasha Ginnivan - Postdoctoral Research Fellow. Psychologist, interviewing and collaborating with older Australians on the subjective experience of the ageing mind to inform the visualisation components of this research.

Christopher Papadopoulos - Postdoctoral Research Fellow. Psychologist, participant recruitment and interviews, data analysis.

Bec Dean - Curator. Engagement specialist designing engagement programs.

Melissa Neidorf - Project Officer. Administration of activities, events and research.

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