Historic tapestry studio viewed like never before

Edinburgh Napier team creates virtual reality window onto Dovecot Studio’s weavers and tufters

Date posted

20 December 2016


Last updated

14 June 2022

An innovative digital partnership is giving people the chance to view one of Edinburgh’s oldest and most prestigious tapestry studios like never before.

The city’s Dovecot Tapestry Studio has come together with Edinburgh Napier University to produce a virtual view into the studio, giving visitors the unprecedented opportunity to get closer to the process of tapestry and rug making.

Being showcased as part of the current Colour and Light exhibition which runs within the studio until 25 February 2017, an innovative 360-degree video forms part of an application which is on display within the space and has captured the inner workings of the studio.

The film highlights activity within the weaving floor at Dovecot and allows viewers to see the skill and work involved in contemporary tapestry making in close focus. A built-in ‘hot spot’ feature allows viewers to gain further insight from members of the studio’s team, with touchscreen technology adding to its interactivity. Both aspects come together to create a virtual window into the private world of Dovecot’s weavers and tufters.

Filmed and developed at Edinburgh Napier, the application is hoped to be the first step in accessing the studio in full virtual reality. This would eventually allow users to gain an insight into the space from their own mobile device with the use of a headset.

The application was created with an innovation voucher from the Scottish Funding Council and its development was led by Dr Tom Flint and Professor Kenny Mitchell from the University’s School of Computing. Videography was by lecturer Andrew McKelvey with the application development itself by computing student Zoe Wall.

Dr Tom Flint, programme leader of Edinburgh Napier’s Interactive Media Design course, said: “For us, this is an exciting opportunity. Our group looks into innovative ways of interpreting arts and culture. This is a new interaction that hasn’t been tried before and it’s a fantastic opportunity to explore the use of virtual reality.”

Sandra Crow, head of studio projects at Dovecot, said: “This project fuses the skills and market intelligence of Edinburgh Napier University with the traditional skills of the Dovecot weaving and tufting teams to produce a new tool for prospective and current audiences to engage with the work of the studios. It really has been a wonderful collaboration for us all.”

Dovecot Studio’s Colour & Light exhibition runs from 5 November to 25 February. For more information, visit here.

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