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Antarctia VR experience close up 16 1920

Techweek TV: Hillary’s Hutt VR project

Bringing our heritage to life through art and science partnerships

This event does not require registration.

Tuesday 25 May
1:30pm - 2:30pm


Nationwide (more than one region)
Free event
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Antarctia VR experience close up 16 1920

What's it all about?

Antarctic Heritage Trust partnered with AUT researchers and StaplesVR to create a Virtual Reality experience showcasing every nut and bolt of Hillary’s Hut in Antarctica. It was launched in 2020, and has been used by 100s of people since, including school children around New Zealand.  

Join Associate Professor Barbara Bollard, Senior Lecturer Greg Bennett and Antarctic Heritage Trust General Manager Operations and Communications Francesca Eathorne to learn how art and science can both conserve and encourage engagement with our heritage, what’s next for Hillary’s Hut VR and where art and science can take us next.

You can Explore Hillary’s Hut - Antarctica in VR at AUT City Campus on May 25. Visit the event listing for full details.

Visit the project webpage for more information.


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Barbara Bollard

Associate Professor, Drone Lab, AUT

Associate Professor Bollard has an outstanding record of research success spanning geospatial science, ecosystem management and spatial ecology. She has over 20 years’ experience working in government, NGO's and academia in both Australia and New Zealand. Her research focus has been the identification, selection and environmental monitoring of Protected Areas, using remote sensing technology, such as UAV, to map habitats and landscapes for conservation planning and integrating social data with environmental and biological information using decision support systems, multivariate statistics and GIS.

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Francesca Eathorne

General Manager, Operations and Communications, Antarctic Heritage Trust

Francesca was Antarctic Heritage Trust’s project lead for the Hillary’s Hut Antarctica – Virtual Reality Experience and enjoyed working closely with the AUT team to develop such a unique piece of content. Francesca was lucky to travel to the Ice to work on the Trust’s conservation team for the 2019-2020 season. She got to visit Sir Edmund Hillary’s hut in real life and was excited to see how closely it reflected the digital experience. Francesca is now focused on supporting the Trust’s VR team as they travel around New Zealand sharing the VR experience in schools and at community venues, making Antarctica just that little bit more accessible for everyday Kiwis.

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Gregory Bennett

Head of Department, Digital Design, AUT

Gregory Bennett is Senior Lecturer in the Digital Design Department and a practicing digital artist who works with 3D animation, motion capture, projection mapping, interactive media and virtual reality. He has a Masters degree from the Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland, and has a background in both fine arts practice and moving image production and post-production. His video work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally, and is represented in both public and private collections in New Zealand and overseas. He has been teaching in the Digital Design Department since 2011 where he has developed the first courses in motion capture.

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Katarina Markovic

PhD candidate, AUT

Katarina has a Master of Digital Design (First Class) awarded in 2018 by Auckland University of Technology. Katarina’s current study focuses on object ontology within museum studies, specifically on developing a philosophical paradigm for understanding historical artifacts using virtual reality as a visual communication media. Her goal is to develop a paradigm that is able to challenge today’s views on preservation, digitalisation and concepts like materiality and authenticity.

Krystal Paraone

Studio Manager/Game Developer - Staples VR

  • AR/VR
  • CreativeTech
  • Education Technology
  • Geospatial Information
  • Tourism
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