Background Image

BBC VR Demonstrations

To complement Jane Ellison’s keynote presentation, the BBC will be holding demonstrations throughout Tuesday 20 November of the various virtual reality initiatives they have developed from their own archival material.



12:30 – 13:00 :: Mercian Suite

Digital Storytelling, Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality at the BBC
Peter Rippon, Executive Editor, Archive, BBC

This presentation will give a demonstration of some of the award-winning digital storytelling tools being used at the BBC. It includes an Archive Search tool that uses artificial intelligence to find assets at unprecedented speed and scale. It is unearthing valuable content we did not even know we had; the Civilisations Festival that used the BBC’s digital storytelling tools in partnership with museums and galleries, including an augmented reality App that projects museum artefacts directly into a room; also BBC Music Memories an online tool to help people living with Dementia find the music they love.


VR Demonstrations


Nothing to be Written is the first-ever virtual reality experience from the BBC Proms.

This seven-minute immersive experience created by Anna Meredith and 59 Productions is a contemporary response to the First World War taking the ‘field postcard’ as its inspiration.

In Nothing to be Written it’s not just the visuals that surround you, it’s the music too. The BBC’s Research & Development Audio team used this to create an immersive soundscape that changes and responds instantly to your movements in VR.

Session length: 5 minutes
Registration: sign up during the conference or drop in



The BBC has brought one of its most fearless World War Two reports to life in virtual reality in 1943 Berlin Blitz.

In 1943, war correspondent Wynford Vaughan-Thomas and sound engineer Reg Pidsley boarded a Lancaster bomber set for Berlin. It was one of the most ambitious and dangerous reports made during WW2 – but gave crucial insight into the war to those listening at home.

As the raids against Berlin reached a climax in the so-called Battle of Berlin over the winter of 1943-4, typically 5% of the Lancasters would be lost in any one night. 2,600 British airmen were killed and another 1,000 taken prisoner after successfully bailing out of a stricken aircraft.

Session length: 15 minutes
Registration: sign up during the conference or drop in



Make Noise is a unique virtual reality experience that uses the power of your voice to smash through the barriers the suffragettes faced during their fight to win the vote for women.

‘Make Noise’ uses original archive material from British suffragettes to retell the dramatic story of how a few women started one of the most important movements in history.

Session length: 10 minutes
Registration: sign up during the conference or drop in
Participants: up to two participants per session


BBC exhibitor stand

Delegates can visit the BBC’s stand in the main networking space to find out about the various technological initiatives that the BBC has produced to dynamically bring its archive material to new audiences.

The BBC’s Archive Search tool uses artificial intelligence (AI) to find and deploy items with a speed and ease that transforms what is possible. This tool has led to the discovery of precious archival material that had until recently been hidden, and has inspired a major new initiative for the BBC Centenary to gift back large amounts of social history content to communities throughout the UK.

BBC Music Memories is a tool that sits across the BBC vast Music Library, helping to create a national database of playlists for use in reminiscence therapy.

The BBC’s Civilisations Augmented Reality App is a collaboration between BBC Arts, BBC R&D, Nexus Studios and around 30 museums and galleries from across the UK, which allows users to virtually interact and examine extraordinary artefacts from their mobile phones.