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Five minutes with Peter Gardom, Director of This Great Adventure

June 23rd 2022

Post created by The Oxford Trust to give insight into the science and tech businesses they support in their innovation centres: the Oxford Centre for Innovation and the Wood Centre for Innovation.

We spent five minutes with Peter Gardom, Director at this great adventure ltd, a family-run company that works out of our Oxford Centre for Innovation.

“This Great Adventure” is a well-known song but the company of the same name has made a business out of technology-based story-telling. They work on commissions for museums, cultural and educational organisations, local and national authorities, and community groups, as well as securing funding for self-generated projects, to create immersive and interactive story-telling experiences – blending a traditional art with the latest technologies, including augmented and virtual reality.

The company has developed a number of storytelling platforms for placing rich multimedia and 3D media into the world, including augmented reality, and linking it to specific places, from building sites to university campuses, cities, museums and more. Alongside a range of ambitious collaborative and R&D project ideas, they are looking to raise funding and build partnerships to develop these further.

Their most recent project is called “Lichfield Time Travellers”. “It was commissioned post-Covid by Lichfield District Council to bring the historic city centre to life, including the Erasmus Darwin House, the cathedral and Samuel Johnson’s Birthplace Museum”, says Peter. “We did this through a compelling core narrative and time portal effect, and some technological wizardry using brand new volumetric video (3D film), creating an interactive location-based augmented reality trail experience that you can download for free on ios and android devices.”

For Oman’s Botanic Gardens, one of the largest ecological oases in the world, this great adventure is developing the multimedia app and digital companion for the visitor experience, that will also include a range of educational STEM and STEM augmented reality.

Aside from cultural and heritage projects, this great adventure helps companies with change management and brand experience by telling their story. Their team have worked with the likes of Stagecoach, Barcardi Global Brands and Aerospace Bristol, as well as working with the Gamesmaker volunteers for the 2012 Olympics in London.

Another aspect of their work is industry partnerships, supporting students on the MA Collaborative Projects at Loughborough University London and recently with Cardiff University, to respond to creative briefs based on real world industry challenges.

The projects are used to see how new generations of creatives might use storytelling techniques and technologies to make spaces more accessible, build communities, explore digital democracy, or to support participatory practise, art, health and wellbeing, and so on. “It is always exciting working with students”, says Peter, “you never know what they’re going to come up with next – windows can become theatres, walls can speak, augmented reality in the kitchen, and machines can even explain themselves.” The team also lecture on the MA Narrative Environments course at UAL Central St Martins, support a number of PhD research projects, and guest lecture at universities in the UK, Europe and the USA.

this great adventure’s sister company, TGAC, was set up by Peter’s parents’, Alison and Tim Gardom, in the early 90s after working with the Natural History Museum to create the iconic Dinosaurs exhibition, before going on to create the Faith Zone at the Millennium Dome for the millennium celebrations and other major cultural projects around the world. In 2008, the team created and launched their first digital storytelling platform, called City-Insights, and this great adventure was set up in its current form in 2021.

The team love working out of the Oxford Centre for Innovation and have had a long association with the site as they were involved in The Oxford Trust’s project to build a science museum and R&D innovation showcase experience on the site, called The Magnet.

Thank you for telling us your story, Peter.

For more information on this great adventure ltd, see here.

To find out more about our innovation centre, follow the links for the Oxford Centre for Innovation and its sister centre the Wood Centre for Innovation.

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