On January 13th, students from Coventry University met at Birmingham Airport anxious and excited for the trip ahead, which meant enduring a long 21 hours of travelling to Hong Kong.
Students from different courses in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities came together to work on the SPARK: the science and arts of creativity Festival that was hosted by the British Council. Coventry University (CU) with their academic partner Hong Kong Design Institute (HKDI) created ‘Prison Break’, a unique augmented reality experience for young learners and teachers of English. It consisted of a significant amount of planning, organisation and hard labour to make the experience as successful as it was.
However, the festival gave everybody the opportunity to work with a diverse group of people, all of whom had their sights on one goal, which was to create a memorable experience for the visitors, and for the students to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Creativity, innovation and diversity were very much in evidence at the festival, celebrating 70 years of the British Council being in Hong Kong. It is was a difficult but rewarding process, from sawing and drilling the timber to make the sets, to seeing the smiles and hearing the shrieks of the visitors who came to enjoy the experience.
To create ‘Prison Break’ a significant amount of work was undertaken. Before the exhibition started the narrative, set design and app design needed to be created and consolidated. Furthermore, with the help of the HKDI students we were able to film the videos needed for the Prison Break augmented reality app.
A full day’s work at Tai Kwun, a former prison and now a famous heritage site in Hong Kong, was the last step before the exhibition began. Everybody worked together amazingly well as a team to create the set including; walls, prison cells, props and costumes. By 11pm we were ready for our beds and prepared to add final touches in the morning.
Friday 18th January… day 1 of the SPARK Festival. The team were up bright and early adding final touches ready to welcome the public to ‘Penta Prison’. Both CU and HKDI students took on the roles of characters from the narrative, interacting with the visitors and making their experience a memorable and slightly frightening one! During the 3 days over which the festival ran, over 5000 people visited and took part in the ‘Prison Break’ experience. This was a truly remarkable figure and the fact that it was such a runaway success meant a lot to the team involved.
Due to the huge success of the exhibition, HKDI requested to keep the set and costumes so that they could replicate ‘Prison Break’ on their campus and share the achievement with more people. The students from both institutions celebrated their hard work and success with some well-earned drinks and a delicious dinner!