Researchers and practitioners in the growing area of ‘serious games’ are using video game-based technologies such as virtual and augmented reality – more widely associated with entertainment – in order to make breakthroughs in many aspects of healthcare and education.
A leader in the field is the University of Huddersfield’s Professor Minhua Eunice Ma (pictured above) who has published a large number of articles and books, including Serious Games and Edutainment Applications and Virtual, Augmented Reality and Serious Games for Healthcare 1, which has contributions from almost 100 global experts and is aimed at healthcare professionals, scientists, researchers and students.
Combating domestic violence in the East Caribbean and the UK
Gaming is often associated with encouraging violence, however a project at the University of Huddersfield will lead to the development of a serious game that aims to prevent violence, by helping to reduce levels of domestic violence, generate empathy and change players’ attitude to domestic abuse. The game will be used as part of a project in both the Eastern Caribbean and the UK.
A team headed by the University of Huddersfield’s Professor Adele Jones – an expert on social work and issues including child protection – includes Professor Minhua Eunice Ma, who has a global reputation in the field of serious games designed to bring about improvements in fields such as healthcare and education. The inter-disciplinary group has been awarded €400,000 via the European Union’s Delegation to the Eastern Caribbean Research Programme: Towards a Future Free from Domestic Violence.
(Pictured from left: Minhua Eunice Ma, Adele Jones and Gill Kirkman)
This will fund a multi-faceted investigation of domestic violence in the Caribbean countries of Grenada and Barbados. The research will be mirrored in the UK by another member of the team, Gill Kirkman, who is Subject Leader in Social Work at the University’s School of Human and Health Sciences. Also taking part in the project is Reader in Criminal Psychology at the University of Huddersfield Dr Daniel Boduszek.
Data will be used to develop an interactive, role-playing computer game designed to educate and influence attitude change among potential perpetrators of violence while seeking to empower those who are at risk of victimisation.
Professor Ma’s goal for this new project is to use games to change young people’s behaviour and attitudes to domestic violence.
The project has been named None-in-Three, derived from the finding that one-in-three women and girls experience violence in their lives.
The University of Huddersfield will implement the project in partnership with the Grenada-based Sweet Water Foundation, which campaigns on child sexual abuse, while Huddersfield’s links with the University of the West Indies will help to ensure that the research outcomes have maximum impact across the region.
When the computer game has been developed it will be piloted among groups of young people in the Caribbean. Its language would be adaptable for different countries, although the basic content would likely remain the same.
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Professor Eunice Ma