Challenge: Bring to life the stories of the dead.
The Greater Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust sought a creative partner to help ideate, produce, and deliver a self-guided app-based walking tour of Fawkner Memorial Park. GMCT has a desire to activate cemeteries as public spaces for people to enjoy activities other than just memorialising their loved ones. They also wanted people to come on-site to discover their history and heritage. Collaborating with their learning designers, the vision for the app, Discover Cemeteries, is to bring to life the extraordinary lives of the people they have in their care, such as Revel Cooper, Alfred Tipper, Marion Bill Edwards, and Bill Bull.
Response: Using the future of technology to explore the past.
GMCT sought out our studio because of our breadth of capability, not only in animation and live-action but also in immersive video; augmented reality production. Augmented reality production was a unique and highly engaging medium that would set GMCT’s walking tour experience apart from others like it.
There were so many stories and so much information. Where did we start? With the first biography, and then the next. We needed to take the time to discover the depths and richness of history at play, so that we could deliver an engaging digital experience that melded seamlessly with a real-world exploration of Fawkner Memorial Park and its people.
GMCT’s aim was to represent the diversity of the Victorian community and the experiences they had had over time, since Fawkner Memorial Park’s first burial in 1906. As a result, our combined team of researchers reviewed records to find stories that would best represent that diversity. Once these stories were found, the next step was to consult with the appropriate family members, historians, communities, cultural and religious leaders, or societies in order to undergo consultation and gain approval to tell these stories.
The chosen stories were then turned from biographies on a page into scripts, then into creative treatments, and finally, they became the final activations within the app. While this may sound straightforward, each final activation required a different production pipeline, as the final medium ranged from animation, to augmented reality.
Outcome: Activations as unique as their stories.
Discover Cemeteries has provided Melburnians with a new and exciting way to engage with their history and culture. Every Melburnian who walks through Fawkner Memorial Park now has the opportunity to learn about its history, the history of cemeteries in Melbourne, as
well as that of notable Melburnians at rest on the grounds.
Discover Cemeteries has recognised and celebrated our diversity in the telling of stories from both indigenous and migrant communities. It has engaged and activated individuals in those communities through consultation, collaboration and feedback. As Discover Cemeteries is a first of its kind, it has put Melbourne on the world-stage for location-aware immersive experiences. More is on the way. We are talking to representatives from other cemeteries, from community groups, as well as curators of other public spaces. They say we’ve inspired them. There’s nothing to stop Melbourne from becoming the world-capital for location-aware, immersive experiences.
Our immersive media and technology project, ‘Discover Cemeteries’, has been selected as a finalist for the esteemed Melbourne Awards 2023!