All posts by Kathy Bisbee

Community XR 2019 & February Training & User Group Event

At BIG and the Public VR Lab, one of our primary goals in 2019 is to support community media centers, libraries, museums, youth, arts and cultural organizations, and community-engaged filmmakers to understand, create, and provide community access to emerging media equipment, training, and content in all its forms, continuing to build a field for community-based VR, AR, 360, and MR (XR).

We call it Community XR, and we hope you’ll contribute to building the field too!

We hope you’ll join us this year at sessions at national conferences, at regional user group events, and for hands-on training programs to share what we and others have learned as emerging best practices in the field, and in developing staff and organizational capacity to utilize new ways to create media, tell local stories, and attract new partners, members, funding and other resources to our community media centers.

Stay tuned for other conferences and regional training from the Public VR Lab in 2019. Please let us know if you are already implementing 360, VR, AR or MR at your organization or school so we can add you to our growing international directory for Community XR!

We kick off 2019’s events in New England on Friday, February 8th from 10:00 am – 6:00 pm:

Join BIG at our innovative VR Lab partner organization, Westford CAT, for a day of learning how to implement Community XR at your arts, media or cultural organization at a hands-on training from 10-3pm, and/or for our free community XR users’ group discussion from 4-6pm!

From 10-3pm, BIG & the Public VR Lab’s team will offer a low-cost training custom-designed for media-makers, 360 Filmmaking & VR Storytelling Training for Media Professionals (registration below).

In the afternoon, Westford CAT & BIG will co-host a free Community XR users group where community media centers who are using 360, VR and AR (XR) will share current XR projects, challenges/successes, equipment, education programs and best practices for implementing emerging media at your community media center.

Read more & register here.

Discount available for Alliance for Community Media members (may be up to 50% off). Email Erin Kinney, at erin at for more details and eligibility requirements.

360 Filmmaking & VR Storytelling Training for Media Professionals

Friday, February 8th from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Well-designed immersive reality (VR, AR, 360) experiences can invoke a powerful sense of wonder and empathy and have a transformational effect on the viewer. In this half-day, hands-on training, you will learn how to use these emerging media tools to create immersive stories using 360 videos and applying it to your current media production work.

This workshop will cover the following topics:

-Overview of 360, AR & VR basics
-Examples/use cases of immersive stories in 360 video, VR and AR 360 cameras,

-Capturing high-quality footage, hands-on exercises using the Nikon Keymission 360 camera,
-Editing in 360 – learn how to edit your videos, experimenting with text, transitions, etc., and uploading 360 videos to the web,

-A (very) quick intro to WondaVR for our more advanced users to understand the possibility to create branched narrative stories in VR.

Please note: The February 8th events take place at Westford Community Access Television, 487 Groton Rd, Unit B Westford, MA 01886

VR/AR Scholarship Fund to Launch at the Public VR Lab

Learn VR & AR at BIG/The Public VR Lab

VR/AR Scholarship

Download and share the VR/AR Scholarship flyer here!

VR/AR Scholarship at the Public VR Lab Launching Seed Round

What: The VR/AR Scholarship at the Public VR Lab is the first of its kind, focused on helping Brookline and greater Boston residents to pursue careers in VR/AR through higher education opportunities to learn about the industry and gain new skills. 

Building on BIG and the Lab’s paid youth job training program on traditional and emerging media training and soft/hard job skills, the XR in the Public Interest Scholarship focuses on underserved youth who are interested in pursuing careers in emerging media as programmers, producers or creative designers. 

 Who: This scholarship fund is for youth ages 17-21, and the applicants will be asked about how they will use their new skills and education to promote inclusion, civic engagement and VR/AR in the public interest. 

The Lab seeks donations from Brookline and Boston residents, regional VR/AR enthusiasts, professionals in the industry, and former participants of the Lab’s programs, Meetup groups, and hackathon attendees to help support the new scholarship program. 

Learn VR & AR at BIG/The Public VR Lab

 Donate: All donations are tax-deductible as BIG is a 501(c)(3) organization.

Donate online or send a check to BIG, 46 Tappan St, Brookline, MA 02445 with “VR/AR Scholarship” in the memo. 

 Apply: Applicants can sign up to be alerted when the application process begins, in Spring of 2019, at or by emailing to get on our alert list for the application period.

Dev Jam & Advanced Unity Class: Saturday, December 8th, 2019

Dev Jam on Saturday, December 8th, at the Public VR Lab

Dev Jam on Saturday, December 8th, at the Public VR Lab

Come join us and HTC’s Dario Laverde for a whole day of creation and collaboration with HTC Vive along with the other AR & VR devs at Brookline Interactive Group (BIG), Public VR Lab and BostonVR.

Register here!

  • 9:30am – Doors open.
  • 10:00am – 12:00pm Dario will teach this two-hour class, Unity Programming for the HTC Vive, Vive Pro, Vive Focus and Vive Trackers, for all who are interested. We strongly recommend that you bring your own laptop for this class.
  • 12:00pm – 9:00pm – We hack! Just invent projects, do tutorials, work on personal projects, etc. It’s OK if you decide to only come to this part of the jam.

During the Dev Jam:

~Dario will be around to mentor you as you work on your projects

~You will have the chance to check out the Vive Pro

~You will also be able to check out the Vive Focus

~This is a “Dev Jam” not a “hackathon”! That means there will be no assigned teams, no assigned project, no judging, no prizes. Just work on anything you want to, with whoever is interested, and have a good time!

~We’ll have plenty of coffee, snacks, and pizza

Boston VR, HTC Vive, and BIG will be providing some Vives, Vive Pros, Vive-Focus, and computers which you can use to work on your projects. But if you have your own gear, please bring it!

Click here for directions, parking is free.


Brookline Interactive Group

46 Tappan Street

3rd Floor

Brookline, MA 02445

View Map

Civic XR Meetup on December 10th, 2018 at the Lab

Civic XR: Creating VR/XR in the public interest!
Civic XR: Creating VR/XR in the public interest!

Civic XR: Creating VR/XR in the public interest!

Civic XR: Using XR in the Public Interest

Join Boston VR & The Public VR Lab on Monday, December 10th from, 5:30-9 pm to demo and hear about ways civic-focused technologists are using VR/XR in the public interest space. Register here:

CivicXR Presenters
Dave Maass, Senior Investigative Researcher at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), from San Francisco, CA who will present on how EFF is protecting our digital rights and demoing Spot the Surveillance, a virtual reality experience that teaches people how to identify the various spying technologies that police may deploy in communities.

Dave Maass is a senior investigative researcher for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, where he covers issues related to police surveillance, criminal justice, free speech, transparency, and government accountability. In addition to deep-dive investigations, Dave coordinates large-scale public records campaigns, advocates on state legislation, and masterminds special projects, such as a science fiction collection and EFF’s first VR project, Spot the Surveillance. Prior to joining EFF, he worked as a reporter for alternative newsweeklies in every state along the U.S.-Mexico border. He is also one of’s correspondents for San Diego Comic-Con.

Kathy Bisbee, founder of the Public VR Lab, will present on how the Lab is building a new field for Community XR, developing a global network of training programs, accessibility, and digital inclusion. The Lab’s facility will host the Meetup, share how users can become members to use free and low-cost VR equipment, and will offer demos of the Lab’s Hubweek-featured immersive installation, Arrival: Immigration in Full Frame,the first national virtual reality (VR) filmmaking project gathering and curating immigration/migration stories of Americans from pre-1620 through 2018 and incorporating them into a visual XR/VR timeline and a curriculum for facilitating community dialogue about immigration/migration at community hubs such as museums, libraries and arts centers across the country.
Other presenters include researchers Jennifer Gradecki and Derek Curry from Northeastern University who created the Crowdsourced Intelligence Agency project designed to engage the public around surveillance and national security issues; Jeff Jacobson from BostonVR and Boston Children’s Hospital; a representative and demos from Planned Parenthood’s VR team, and other interactive audio, 360, and VR/AR developers who are using XR for civic-minded projects and solving public interest problems.
BIG, the Public VR Lab, BostonVR and HTC VIVE are hosting a Dev Jam on Saturday, December 8th, 10am-9pm, the weekend before the meetup, and will be offering special advanced Unity classes with HTC Vive senior developers.
Contact Erin at if you have a civic XR project you’d like to demo at the Meetup!

Learn how to create content in VR, VR, MR, WebVR & immersive 360 films at the Public VR Lab

Learn VR & AR at BIG/The Public VR Lab
Learn VR & AR at BIG/The Public VR Lab

Learn VR & AR at BIG/The Public VR Lab

The Public VR Lab has seven different ways you can learn to create in VR, AR, MR and immersive 360 videos, and equipment you can use to create! Whether you’re an educator, a developer, a programmer, or a traditional media maker, we’ve got a class, a hackathon or an informative event for you to learn!

360 Filmmaking & Storytelling Training for Media Professionals
Friday, November 30th, 12:30-4:30 pm
Description: In this half-day, hands-on training, you will learn how to use emerging media tools to create immersive stories using 360 videos and apply to your media work.

Practical Online Virtual Reality in Higher Education
Thursday, December 6th, 7:00-10:30 pm
Description: This workshop provides an introduction to the use of Multi-User Online Virtual Environments (MUVEs) in the classroom and the basic ways they are used to convey information and opportunities for project-based learning with commonly available platforms.
Dev Jam for the Vive and Vive Focus 

Saturday, December 8th, 9:00 am-9:00 pm
Description: Come join us and HTC’s Dario Laverde for a whole day of creation and collaboration with HTC Vive and BostonVR. This jam runs all day, and Dario will teach a two-hour class, Unity Programming for the HTC Vive, Vive Pro, Vive Focus and Vive Trackers, for all who are interested in the morning.

Sign up here for ONLY the jam:

Civic XR: Using XR in the Public Interest

Join Boston VR & The Public VR Lab on Monday, December 10th from, 5:30-9 pm to demo and hear about ways civic-focused technologists are using VR/XR in the public interest space. Register here:

Lab Founder Kathy Bisbee Presents Keynote to National Telecommunications Professionals

Kathy Bisbee, Founder, Public VR Lab

Our founder and executive director, Kathy Bisbee presented a riveting talk on why the time is right now for community media and local government organizations to invest in a grassroots movement for community-based virtual reality, in the creative economy of VR, and in VR/XR storytelling.

Arrival: Immigration in Full Frame’s Participatory Media Installation is a Featured Artist at Boston’s Hubweek!

Arrival: Immigration in Full Frame
Arrival: Immigration in Full Frame

Arrival: Immigration in Full Frame

BIG and our project, the Public VR Lab, are proud to announce the launch of a participatory media installation on immigration and migration stories in Brookline and beyond. We’ll be sharing the first release of Boston and Brookline stories from Arrival: Immigration in Full Frame in our container at Hubweek from Wednesday, October 10th through Sunday, October 14th, 2018! 

In addition to watching these compelling XR/VR stories, visitors will also have the opportunity to record their own families’ immigration and migration stories onsite as part of an interactive component of BIG’s exhibit. These new stories will be included in a broader national project that features a VR/XR visual timeline, scheduled to launch as a separate immersive storytelling project in late 2019-early 2020 at film festivals, libraries, museums, and arts and cultural organizations nationwide. 

Please come by Hubweek October 10th-14th in Boston’s Government Center, check out the stories and share your own American arrival story!

XR Storytelling Professional Development Workshop for Educators

Come be curious and play with us for two days of professional development in VR, AR and 360 storytelling in Boston this summer!

Sign up here, and email Erin [at] with any questions.

Learn new skills, experiment, and gain curriculum and units for your classroom!

We’ll have two tracks on the Basics of Unity and another on creating 360 digital storytelling projects using personal narratives with your students in the middle school, high school and college level classroom.


ACM-Community XR Webinar Wrap-up & Links

The staff of Brookline Interactive Group and its project, the Public VR Lab.

Thank you to everyone who joined our co-founder and director, Kathy Bisbee, on today’s Alliance for Community Media webinar. We’ve added links to some of the resources she mentioned below, and have linked to her presentation here.

The Public VR Lab is also available for training, consultation, equipment discounts, curriculum development and support for arts, media and cultural organizations moving towards an emerging media practice and bringing Community XR to your community. More about our campaign to build a field for Community XR here.

CONTACT: Feel free to be in touch by emailing Erin Kinney [at] or info [at] You can reach Kathy on Twitter or LinkedIn @KathyBisbee and @PublicVRLab.

Resource Links & Workshops

Learn more about the Lab’s VR Toolkits:

Sign up for the August 6 & 7th workshop in Brookline, MA: VR Storytelling & Filmmaking for Educators 


Weather Channel Video using Mixed Reality-Used Unreal programming to code/create a “virtual studio” that then blew up the virtual studio on a live broadcast.

Google 360 Tour Creator

‘Oculus TV’ Brings Live & On-demand Video to Oculus Go, Now Available:

Google Offers AR Content Creation Training:

Does Medium Matter? -VR Research & Report from Frontline and Nonny de laPeña funded by The Knight Foundation.

Immerse Publication at MIT: Many stories about the use of VR in filmmaking and documentary,  including this one the Public VR Lab was mentioned in around DIGITAL INCLUSION

Kamal Sinclair, Director of the New Frontiers program at Sundance, has an exceptional resource bank here of digital inclusion, equity, -especially in the VR/XR space etc.

Collaborations, XR for Change & Job Training Programs for Youth

As June ends, we’re celebrating all things Community Media and Community XR! Join us today at 3 pm EDT I’ll be presenting on Community XR today on a national webinar for the Alliance for Community Media (ACM). Register here for:

Community XR: How VR/AR/360 Can Extend Your Community Media Mission

This week we’ll be at XR for Change in NYC, launched this years’ Crowdsourced Boston community arts project to have 40 teams remake a scene from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

We taught a media training to our job training youth program who then successfully pitched a reporter on their story before taking them on a career eye-opening trip to meet and learn about VR, marketing, and diversity initiatives from Colin Burch, VP of Marketing & Broadcasting at the Red Sox!

This month we were also featured on Hubweek’s blog, an amazing festival here in Boston focused on the synergy of art, technology, advocacy, community-building and health that we’re honored to be a partner with and a collaborator. This interview focuses on our new artist-in-residency pilot and our collaboration with talented artist, Nathan Miner.