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CALL: Immersive Arts for Health Student Design Competition

Anyone interested can email with questions.

A new international student design competition that ILyn Godley, together with Tom Igoe, from NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program, have put together. Sponsored by the new Jefferson Center of Immersive Arts for Health, the competition is a research-based challenge to use dynamic and/or interactive light to positively impact users within a healthcare environment. Research resources will be provided.


Research shows that art can have a positive impact on human health, specifically in healthcare environments. Most existing research focuses on static art (paintings, prints, or sculpture) or, more recently, Distraction Therapy through virtual reality which shows promising benefits in pain management and lowered anxiety. One of the main features of this method is the creation of an immersive experience.


We believe similar outcomes, with direct sensory experience of dynamic or interactive art — unmediated reality, as contrasted with VR — could engage the patient in such a way as to positively affect the overall healthcare experience. This could result in an improved physiological and psychological impact on clinic visits. By removing the need for a VR headset, the artwork becomes more inclusive and the encounter with it more casual and spontaneous. Interactive elements offer the possibility for the visitor to affect the work directly.  This allows a larger number of visitors to experience the work than VR does, at varying levels of participation. Some might choose to engage directly with an interactive work, while others might enjoy watching others interacting with it. Unlike VR Distraction Therapy, the clinic visitor could choose their level of engagement, thus adding a level of agency to the experience.


“Access to positive distraction techniques, together with a sense of perceived control over the environment results in lower stress and improved overall patient well-being”.                   

 (Ulrich, 1984, 2004)


The competition will go live January 6, 2022 with final submissions due May 1, 2022. Winning entries will be exhibited at HOTBED Gallery in Philadelphia, PA in the fall of 2022. See attached brief for details.

Students affiliated with a higher ed institution during Spring 2022 to be eligible.


Please share with your students and colleagues who may be interested, and let me know if you have any questions.


All my best,



Lyn Godley

Professor of Industrial Design

Director, The Jefferson Center of Immersive Arts for Health

Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce

Thomas Jefferson University

East Falls Campus

4201 Henry Avenue

Philadelphia, PA 19144

610-703-3218 cell