Making Sense of Space

Making Sense of Space

The Design and Experience of Virtual Spaces as a Tool for Communication

1st Edition - April 18, 2014

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  • Authors: Iryna Kuksa, Mark Childs
  • eBook ISBN: 9781780634067

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The use of Virtual Worlds (VWs) has increased in the last decade. VWs are used for communication, education, community building, creative arts, and more. A good deal of research has been conducted into learning and VWs, but other areas remain ripe for investigation. Factors from technological platforms to the nature and conventions of the communities that use VWs must be considered, in order to achieve the best possible interaction between virtual spaces and their users. Making Sense of Space focuses on the background to these issues, describing a range of case studies conducted by the authors. The book investigates the innovative and creative ways designers employ VWs for research, performance-making, and audience engagement. Secondly, it looks into how educators use these spaces to support their teaching practice. Lastly, the book examines the potential of VWs as new methods of communication, and the ways they are changing our perception of reality. This book is structured into four chapters. An introduction provides a history and outline of important themes for VWs, and subsequent chapters consider the design of virtual spaces, experience of virtual spaces, and communication in virtual spaces.

Key Features

  • Written by two experienced academics and practitioners in the field, offering different perspectives
  • Uses a multidisciplinary approach, drawing on: education; scenography; performance studies; disaster management; and computer science
  • Provides multiple viewpoints on the topic, gained through interviews and contributions from a range of experts, as well as several co-authored chapters


Lecturers teaching in any discipline who plan to use virtual worlds as a space for learning activities; e-learning practitioners; developers of virtual worlds needing to gain a user perspective on their work; and students.

Table of Contents

    • List of figures
    • Acknowledgements
    • About the authors
    • Introduction
    • Part 1: Spaces, presence, realities …
      • Chapter 1: Remediating technology, translating experience, immersing in spaces
        • Abstract:
        • A history of virtual spaces and definitions of basic terms
        • Spaces in virtual and augmented reality: an explanation of the concept of telepresence and mixed reality
        • Cultural use of cyberspace – paradigms of digital reality
        • Remediation and translation: the different theoretical approaches adopted in this book
        • Conclusion
    • Part 2: Creating virtual spaces
      • Chapter 2: Virtual spaces – ‘work-in-progress’: software, devices and design principles
        • Abstract:
      • Chapter 3: Art, history and culture in digital spaces
        • Abstract:
      • Chapter 4: Theatre in the virtual day and age
        • Abstract:
        • Conclusion
        • Note
    • Part 3: Experiencing virtual spaces
      • Chapter 5: Two models to conceptualize space
        • Abstract:
        • Living in virtual spaces
        • The experience of spatiality
        • Emotional agency in virtual spaces
        • The engagement of belief
        • To Activity Theory and beyond
      • Chapter 6: Other spaces, and other ways of making sense of them
        • Abstract:
        • Entering into a world of make-believe
        • Neither here nor there – the state of metaxis
        • Passing between: crossing the threshold between realities
        • More spin on the concept: the dichotomy between apparent and actual intent
      • Chapter 7: First, second, third and fourth places – making extra sense of space
        • Abstract:
      • Chapter 8: Virtual worlds in education
        • Abstract:
        • The status of virtual worlds c. 2010
        • Conclusion
    • Part 4: Making sense of space – the practitioner perspective
      • Chapter 9: Moving towards the alien ‘other’ …
        • Abstract:
        • Conclusion
    • Part 5: Conclusion
      • Chapter 10: The future of spaces – physical or virtual?
        • Abstract:
        • Digital to virtual: is cyberspace a space?
        • Moving from physical to virtual: losses and gains
        • Psychological and perceptual immersion in physical, virtual and augmented realities
        • Learning in virtual worlds
        • Communicating history in virtual worlds
        • Communicating performance in virtual worlds
        • Is the future ‘phyrtual’?
    • Glossary
    • References
    • Index

Product details

  • No. of pages: 206
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Chandos Publishing 2014
  • Published: April 18, 2014
  • Imprint: Chandos Publishing
  • eBook ISBN: 9781780634067

About the Authors

Iryna Kuksa

Dr Iryna Kuksa holds a permanent Senior Research Fellowship in art and design at Nottingham Trent University, UK. Educated at Oxford, LSE and Warwick, she has extensive research expertise in industrial design, digital and social media, and digital humanities. Her influential book Making Sense of Space: The Design and Experience of Virtual Spaces as a Tool for Communication (Chandos, 2014) redefined the use of digital spaces for communication and creative practice. Her innovative approach to understanding the role of design in social media and consumer culture, led to the launch of a new research field of design for personalisation (Design for Personalisation, Routledge, 2017). Iryna’s research on 3D visualisation and digital design as a tool for education has been recognised by the prestigious award of Harry Ransom Fellowship. Her 3D reconstruction of 1921 Norman Bel Geddes’ set design for Dante’s The Divine Comedy has been part of the first exhibition of Bel Geddes’ industrial and theatre designs ‘I Have Seen The Future: Norman Bel Geddes Designs America’ in Austin, USA. In 2019-2020, she was a Visiting Scholar at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and acts as a guest reviewer for the Master in Design Engineering program. Iryna leads a major ECR development initiative; co-leads the Design Research Centre and is a Board member of the Creative and Virtual Technologies Lab at NTU. In 2021, she was elected to the National Research Centre on Privacy, Harm Reduction and Adversarial Influence Online College of Peer Reviewers.

Affiliations and Expertise

Nottingham School of Art and Design, Nottingham Trent University, UK

Mark Childs

Mark Childs is a Senior Research Fellow at Coventry University, UK, where he develops and researches online synchronous learning experiences and virtual collaborations, with 15 years experience in this field and work on over 30 educational technology projects. He holds a PhD on learners’ experience of presence in virtual worlds, and his research interests include virtual collaboration; digital identity; embodiment; and telepresence. Mark also works as an independent educational consultant, conducting evaluation and writing on behalf of funding agencies, universities, private sector technology companies, and museums.

Affiliations and Expertise

Coventry University, UK

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