Step-change for Heritage and Art
The Art of the Burns Supper in Virtual Reality
Edify was delighted to join the Centre for Robert Burns Studies at the University of Glasgow for ‘The Art of the Burns Supper,’ on 25 January 2022, a celebration of Scotland’s national poet in virtual reality and the result of our long-term collaboration with the University, where we worked with the University and with Robert Burns expert Dr. Pauline Mackay, to create Burns Beyond Reality. A uniquely immersive presentation of Scotland’s literary heritage, Burns Beyond Reality combines Burns’s Romantic poetry with cutting-edge computing technology, bringing the work of Scotland’s national poet into the twenty-first century. It vividly depicts Burns’s 1790 poem ‘Tam O’ Shanter’ and the wild imagery of “Alloway’s auld haunted kirk” in VR - for more information and to see it in action, visit our Case Study page.
“Immersive technology enables us to access and experience Burns and his legacy in exciting and innovative ways, no matter where we are in the world. It really is Burns for the twenty-first century.” Dr. Pauline Mackay, Centre for Robert Burns Studies.
The event also marked the culmination of the Centre for Robert Burns Studies’s two-year project, The Burns Supper in History and Today. One of the outputs of this project was a map of Burns Suppers across the world, which gathered data, images and video from more than 2,500 Burns Suppers held across the world. The map showcases the global reach of the Burns Supper, and features events from Glasgow to Ghana, from Svalbard to eSwatini.
In celebration of this achievement, sculptor and artist David Mach also unveiled ‘Flying Haggis,’ which was commissioned by the Centre for Robert Burns Studies. ‘Flying Haggis’ features crowdsourced images and footage of Burns Suppers from around the world, many of which were held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. First time in the history of art and heritage, the artwork's official reveal was hosted on the Edify Virtual Reality platform and live streamed to audience of over 700 attendees from 49 countries.
Edify’s CEO and co-founder, Martin McDonnell, said: “It's inspiring to be working with Dr. Mackay and the University of Glasgow to bring Robert Burns's poem and the wild imagery of "Alloway's auld haunted kirk" to life in virtual reality.
“VR represents a step-change for heritage and arts professionals, enabling them to create immersive, interactive experiences that showcase the past and works of art in unprecedented ways; fostering learning, creativity, and collaboration, and removing the limitations of physical environments, time, or distance. But the really exciting part for us at Edify is the unique opportunity to engage with a global audience and, using the superpowers of VR, share an experience that would be impossible to take part in any other way.”
Want to experience Burns Beyond Reality for yourself? Download Edify’s new BETA app to see “Alloway’s auld haunted kirk” and much more in VR.
Edify BETA is available for VR and desktop users, so you can experience the magic of Burns without a VR headset. As a special gesture to Robert Burns and VR enthusiasts, we are offering a free, no commitment, 90-day license to Edify’s full BETA version.
Check our how-to video guide on how to make the most of the experience.