The University of Western Australia 3D Art Challenges: Virtual Promotion of an Art Community

By Merle Hearns and Jegatheva (Jay Jay) Jegathesan.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Communication

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Multi-user virtual environments (MUVEs) are growing in popularity with the emergence of faster broadband Internet access and more powerful computer technology. Virtual worlds are used extensively for social networking, business, and education. The virtual world (VW) of Second Life has 12 million residents (a resident is a person represented within the VW by an avatar). The 3D Art Challenges started at the University of Western Australia in Second Life (SL) in 2009. Since that time, UWA has rapidly emerged as a central hub of art activity in SL. A survey was conducted in SL by UWA to understand the demographic who are regular participants in the Art Challenges. It was hoped to determine virtual age, ethnicity, experience, education, insights into virtual art, and opinions regarding the Art Challenges from as wide a sample as possible. It was hoped that the information obtained would further enlighten researchers regarding the role of large social networks and communities in achieving collective intelligence. The survey was aimed at increasing understanding of how practical art and design skills could be developed within the visually rich, immersive SL environment, facilitated by the networking of a community of global art practitioners.

Keywords: Second Life, Virtual Worlds, Art, Virtual Art, Community, Survey, UWA, University of Western Australia

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Communication, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp.1-21. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 15.600MB).

Merle Hearns

Senior Lecturer, Foundation Studies Department, Manukau Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand

Ms. Merle Hearns is a senior lecturer at Manukau Institute of Technology in Auckland, New Zealand. She teaches computing and communication in the Foundation Education (enabling/bridging) Programme. She was a lead educator for the Second Life Education in New Zealand Project in Second Life, and is currently starting on a Ph.D looking at the transferability of skills learned in a virtual world to the real world.

Jegatheva (Jay Jay) Jegathesan

School Manager, School of Physics, University of Western Australia, Crawley, Australia

Jay Jay Jegathesan, school manager of Physics University of Western Australia (UWA), is the owner of the UWA presence in Second Life and the winner of the 2008 Google Earth Build your Campus in 3D Challenge and shortlisted into the top 10 for the 2010 Linden prize. Jay Jay and his team have been driven by expanding the focus on teaching, research, art, and architecture in virtual worlds.