Philosophical issues caught in VR

I am thinking there are quite a few philosophical issues in VR and on writing just a few down methinks there is a potential book here for undergrads but the chapters will have to be reduced in number, to probably 6? 8? I wonder how big a chapter can be to be set for a class, 6000 words?

  1. Embodiment in Virtual Classrooms (Hubert Dreyfus on Second Life)
  2. Social media and Accountability in VR and Virtual Worlds
  3. Defining reality in Virtual Reality (various)
  4. Agreeing to Disagree on Presence, virtual presence, immersion
  5. Authenticity of the RECREATED Real and the BORN DIGITAL
  6. Social, technological, and cultural CONVERGENCE With VR (Jenkins)
  7. From Hegel to Jenkins: ISSUES OF CONTROL, RHETORIC, Narrative AND PEDAGOGY (Hegel, Jenkins)
  8. MIND-BODY-HARD-DRIVE: What VR does for the Mind-Body Problem
  9. Big Data and the Kantian SUBLIME
  10. Data, Metal, Plastic, and Obsolescence
  11. Privacy and the Augmented State
  12. Can We Place a Virtual Place? (Jeffrey Malpas)
  13. Culture, Where Art Thou? (Can ‘Culture’ really exist in VEs on the cloud?)
  14. Is Vision the Most Sense-ible in VR or too Dominant?
  15. Paradise, Purgatory and the Nietzchean Recurrence of the Eternal Loop: how to visualise them?
  16. ‘Technology is Dead.’ Signed, God: Is technology too teleological?

Other issues that interest me, what is a world? Do we need virtual rules for them? TO what extent is risk required? To what extent must the visitors/participants have agency and autonomy?

New UNESCO chair website

UNESCO Chair of Cultural Heritage and Visualisation news and projects will be listed at for the immediate future, and we hope to connect our prototype GIS+3D model website to that as well (when they work out access for me, hopefully soon).

Image by Professor Lisa French (RMIT). Dinner at ANU Canberra before meeting of Australian UNESCO Chairs: Erik Champion (Curtin), David Gibson (Curtin), Gary Bouma (Monash), Kerrie Wilson (QUT), Ana Filipa Vrdoljak (UTS), Lisa French, (RMIT), Imogen Bartlett (OPTUS), Gregory Andrews (Assistant Secretary, International Organizations Branch (DFAT)), Quentin Grafton (ANU), Ms. Sue Moore, (Secretary General of the Australian Commission for UNESCO).

major grant: Photogrammetry heritage and interaction design

Announced today-Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage 2018 Grant LP180100284 awarded $461,783.00

Dr Andrew Woods; Professor Erik Champion; Dr Petra Helmholz; Dr David Belton; Professor Derek Lichti; Ms Catherine Belcher; Dr Ross Anderson; Mr Ian Thilthorpe; Mr Danny Murphy; Adjunct Professor Alec Coles; Dr James Hunter; Mr Michael Harvey.

Photogrammetric Reconstruction for Underwater Virtual Heritage Experiences. This project aims to enable significant underwater cultural heritage sites such as shipwrecks to be recreated in immersive underwater virtual heritage experiences. Photogrammetric 3D reconstruction techniques will be used to generate complex digital 3D models of shipwreck sites from hundreds of thousands of underwater images. This will allow vivid experiences to be created which explain the stories of these wrecks. The project will conduct audience engagement studies to recommend the most appropriate methods to implement underwater virtual heritage experiences for Australian audiences. The sites which will be used as test datasets are some of the most significant Australian shipwreck sites, including HMAS Sydney (II) and HMAS AE1.

Institutes:Curtin University, WESTERN AUSTRALIAN MUSEUM, AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL MARITIME MUSEUM, and University of Calgary.

To 3D or Not 3D: Choosing a Photogrammetry Workflow for Cultural Heritage Groups

To 3D or Not 3D: Choosing a Photogrammetry Workflow for Cultural Heritage Groups, Heritage journal article by Dr Hafizur Rahaman and myself is out:

Rahaman, H., & Champion, E. (2019). To 3D or Not 3D: Choosing a Photogrammetry Workflow for Cultural Heritage Groups. Heritage, 2(3), 1835-1851. Retrieved from

The 3D reconstruction of real-world heritage objects using either a laser scanner or 3D modelling software is typically expensive and requires a high level of expertise. Image-based 3D modelling software, on the other hand, offers a cheaper alternative, which can handle this task with relative ease. There also exists free and open source (FOSS) software, with the potential to deliver quality data for heritage documentation purposes. However, contemporary academic discourse seldom presents survey-based feature lists or a critical inspection of potential production pipelines, nor typically provides direction and guidance for non-experts who are interested in learning, developing and sharing 3D content on a restricted budget. To address the above issues, a set of FOSS were studied based on their offered features, workflow, 3D processing time and accuracy. Two datasets have been used to compare and evaluate the FOSS applications based on the point clouds they produced. The average deviation to ground truth data produced by a commercial software application (Metashape, formerly called PhotoScan) was used and measured with CloudCompare software. 3D reconstructions generated from FOSS produce promising results, with significant accuracy, and are easy to use. We believe this investigation will help non-expert users to understand the photogrammetry and select the most suitable software for producing image-based 3D models at low cost for visualisation and presentation purposes.

UNESCO CHAIR Projects (September 2016-June 2019)

Mafkereseb Bekele (centre) winning a Young CAADRIA award


2019 Time-layered cultural map of Australia (Erik Champion and research assistant): 2018 ARC LIEF LE190100019  grant (hosted by Newcastle), $420,000 awarded GIS Programming and VR/MR mapping. URL:


2019 GIS AR and mapping (Curtin Institute for Computation grant) (Erik Champion, David McMeekin, Hafizur Rahaman). Linked Open Data for 3D Heritage ARC grants Moviemap Geolocated Datasets and XR-Makerspace, Workflow and Web Portfolio Platform Development), $30,263.88.


2018 PhD project (Ikrom Nishanbaev): 3D/GIS Semantic Web-3D repository and Website-interface for cultural heritage objects and associated paradata.


2019 MCASI grant (Hafizur Rahaman, Michelle Johnston): AR-triggered language guide (mobile device to recognise 3D objects, play associated sounds and display associated text helping a user to understand a language) $2000.


2018 Erik Champion With Research Fellow (Dr Hafizur Rahaman). Open source photogrammetry to 3D digital models to augmented and mixed reality.

Mafkereseb Bekele (centre) winning a Young CAADRIA award
Mafkereseb Bekele (centre) winning a Young CAADRIA 2019 award (Hafizur Rahaman L and Marc Schnabel R).


2017 PhD project (Mafkereseb Bekele): Collaborative Learning with Microsoft HoloLens (sites: WA Museum-Xantho steam engine and Duyfken)-, can augment scale and create interactive map-based historical journeys as well. Featured in papers at CAADRIA (best student paper: Mafkereseb Bekele) and Computer Applications in Archaeology (Erik Champion).



2018 Summer intern (Corbin Yap). Latest Unreal game engine ported to 4 stereo and non-stereo displays of Curtin HIVE VR centre.


2017 Software Engineering project (with co-mentor Dr Karen Miller) gesture-based interface to Minecraft and other game engines.

Things I am working on..

I may be traveling to Italy start of September, NZ or Australia mid November, and possibly South America (it is complicated).

Just submitted a tricky paper on a difficult topic to a farway place I have always wanted to go to, but logistically shouldn’t. Cancelled a paper to a conference in a country I used to work and love, trying to cut down travel and grant reviewing for other people (two this week to do, sigh). Also have 3 or 4 draft grant applications to get back to which is a bit insane as I am already waiting on the final verdict of 4 others!

But I may apply for a Future Fellowship this year. Wish me well. Thinking of a theoretical and applied evaluation study of cultural presence in interactive heritage/digital archaeology projects. I have a lot of questions here since I first wrote about it in 2001, and just trying to decide if it can be scoped in such a way that reviewers from other, sometimes-related fields, agree with me. Anyway. The below are being reviewed or in press. And I just realized there are 5 book chapters in the list. I told myself not to write any more book chapters, in fact to slow down on the writing. Well there is also a journal article or two about to be published but those can wait for a later mention. Hmm, it is really time to cut back on the writing. I apologize to anyone who tries to wade through my books and papers trying to find a specific something…

  • BOOK Champion, E. (2020). Rethinking Virtual Places. Indiana University Press, Spatial Humanities series. Final blind peer review, due back July, I hope.
  • BOOK Lee, C. & Champion, E. (Ed). (2020: pending). Screen Tourism and Affective Landscapes. May be changing publishers.
  • CHAPTER Champion, E. (2019: in press). “From Historical Models to Virtual Heritage Simulations”. Open access book chapter for The Virtue of the Model 2.0 → From the Digital 3D Dataset to the Scientific Information Model V.2, Heidelberg University Press, Germany, March 2019. URL:  Should have been printed by now! Open access.
  • CHAPTER Champion, E. & Foka, A. (2020: in press). “Chapter 19 Art History, Heritage Games, and Virtual Reality”, in Brown, K. J. (Ed.). The Routledge Companion to Digital Humanities and Art History. Routledge, UK. With editor. Still to be reviewed I assume.
  • CHAPTER Champion, E. (2020). Games People Dig: Are They Archaeological Experiences, Systems, or Arguments? In S. Hageneuer (Ed.), Communicating the Past in the Digital Age: Proceedings of the International Conference on Digital Methods in Teaching and Learning in Archaeology, (12th-13th October 2018). London, UK: Ubiquity Press. URL: Being reviewed.
  • CHAPTER Champion, E. (2020 (pending). Title to be advised (Is 3D a new form of DH Text?). In B. Mauer & A. Salter (Eds.), Texts & Technology: Inventing the Future of the Humanities. TBA. Chapters due 15 July 2019. Oh better finish this.
  • ARTICLE Champion, E. (2020). From Cultural Significance to Cultural Presence: How Computer Games Can Facilitate Cultural Heritage. International Journal of Heritage Studies. Extended abstract accepted. Due 31 July 2019. Also finishing this submission. Abstract accepted but full paper needs to be reviewed.
  • TALK/WORKSHOP Champion, E. (2019). Invited Professor to Summer School: Cultural Heritage in Context. Digital Technologies for the Humanities. To be funded, invited. Host: Rosa Tamborrino Politecnico di Torino – Castello del Valentino, Turin Italy, 1-8 September 2019. Cultural Heritage in Context. Digital Technologies for the Humanities. Learning by gaming, partners: POLITO, UCLA, AISU, Museo del Cinema and the Italian Association of Urban History (AISU). Topics: Virtual Heritage (lecture); Gamification and Cultural Heritage (workshop).