Slice of Life
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Slice of Life (SOL) is an online platform that will host a collection of immersive 360⁰ videos capturing eveyday life in the two Cypriot communities.
Research from the social sciences documents that where ethnic, sectarian, or other intergroup conflict is present, contact between the members of the involved groups, leads to more positive attitudes and increased trust. The problem is, however, that in most places where such conflicts exist, the opportunities for contact are minimal. In Cyprus, Greek Cypriots (G/C) and Turkish Cypriots (T/C) have been segregated for decades; although crossing from one side to the other has been allowed since 2003, the vast majority of people on either side rarely (if ever) cross. As a result, intergroup contact is generally experienced only by a relatively small number of people. A precursor, but also a consequence, of the lack of contact with the other community is that G/C and T/C, especially those of young age, don’t know much about each other. Thus, although a number of remarkable initiatives in Cyprus have been successful in promoting contact across the two communities, most young Cypriots have limited cultural understanding and knowledge about the everyday life of people in the other community. SOL aims to increase knowledge about everyday life in Cyprus across communities, with the long-term goal of reducing outgroup negativity and increasing contact.
SOL consists of an online platform that will host a collection of spherical 360⁰ videos that capture everyday activities from the two communities (e.g., family gatherings, classroom activities, excursions etc.). Users may view the videos on their computers and mobile devices; however, the SOL prototype will link the platform to a Virtual Reality (VR) Head-Mounted-Display (HMD) though which users will immerse themselves in the scenes and look around in them by physically rotating their body. This protoype will be made available to users at different locations in the two communities and its effectiveness in promoting physical contact will be evaluated by planned scientific research.
Importantly, the goal of the SOL is not to capture sightseeing locations or other points of interest, but to provide “slices of life” from each community. We expect that through this virtual interaction people will develop understandings about the culture and habits of the people in the other community and note the similarities and differences. Such understandings may clear misperceptions about the other community's culture, which as documented by research in the social sciences, is an important prerequisite of seeking actual contact and reconciliation.
SOL will be an open-source, non-profit, community project, to which any interested individual may contribute.
Lucy Avraamidou is the coordinator of the project. Lucy has research interests in the use of technology in curriculum and instruction and holds an Associate Professor position in Education at the University of Nicosia. She will be responsible for the planning and organization of activities and will contribute on issues relating to the theoretical underpinnings of life history as well as on human-computer interaction (HCI).
Andria Shimi, a School Psychologist and a Cognitive/Developmental Neuroscientist, will also contribute her expertise on issues relating to HCI particularly with users of young age. Andria is currently a post-doc at the University of Oxford. Being an amateur photographer, Andria will also help with the development of content.
Marios Avraamides, Kleanthis Neokleous, and Yiorgos Chyrsanthou will set-up the on-line platform and oversee all technical work entailed by the prototype. Marios is a Cognitive Psychologist who uses VR for his research. He is an Associate Professor at the Department of Psychology of the University of Cyprus and the director of the Experimental Psychology Lab (http://www.experimentalpsych.com). Kleanthis has extensive experience with VR equipment. He has a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Cyprus and is the co-founder of Silversky3D Virtual Reality Technologies Ltd (http://www/silversky3d.com). Yiorgos is an Associate Professor at the Department of Computer Science at the University of Cyprus, heading the Computer Graphics Lab (http://graphics.cs.ucy.ac.cy).
Charis Psaltis and Maria Ioannou will be responsible for selecting content that fits the scope of the project; both Charis and Maria are Social Psychologists with research interests and expertise in intergroup contact and intergroup relations. Charis is an Assistant Professor at the University of Cyprus and he is the founder and director of the Centre for Field Studies (http://ucy.ac.cy/pakepe) and the Genetic Social Psychology Lab (http://www.ucy.ac.cy/sdp/en/genetic-social-psychology-lab). Maria is a senior researcher at the Centre for Sustainable Peace and Democratic Development (SeeD) and holds a PhD from the University of Oxford.
Maria Arettines will consult the group on issues related to publicity and dissemination. Maria is a counselor and instructor at the Department of Applied Psychology at New York University. She has worked with countless non-governmental organizations, non-profits, and public and private institutions as an educator, coordinator, and researcher across the US, Latin America, and Cyprus.
Sholeh Zahraei and Kamil Saldun are the founders of Lupa Pictures (http://lupapictures.com), an art production team. They have produced several short films and documentaries and have won various awards at international film festivals. Their latest film is ‘Letters to Cyprus’ which is based on original letters from 1974 found in Cyprus. Sholeh and Kamil will contribute to the promotion of the prototype through short professional video clips.
A social psychologist with an interest in conflict resolution and prejudice reduction via various...
Charis Psaltis was born in Cyprus. He is an Assistant Professor of Social and Developmental...