December 23rd, 2021 | by Mathieu Gayet

Building the metaverse responsibly with Women in Immersive Tech Europe (WIIT) and Meta

WIIT, standing for Women in Immersive Tech Europe, is the first European NGO that Meta chooses to collaborate with to address Meta’s new goals outlined for building the metaverse responsibly. The WIIT Meta Grant includes both a new fund to support key European festivals in developing XR projects by women, non-binary and diverse gender creators as well as the launch of several in-house creative labs to better define and represent the digital self in the metaverse.

On the 28th of October, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook will become Meta. Meta’s focus will be to help bring the metaverse to life and help people connect, find communities and grow businesses. Meta will build the metaverse together with other companies and partners in a responsible way and has published a set of “Responsible innovation principles”, taking into consideration the individual and creating safe and inclusive environments. Todoso, they launched a 2-year $50million initiative called the “XR Programs and Research Fund” establishing collaborations with industry partners, civil rights groups, governments, non-profits and academic institutions.

WIIT is delighted to benefit from this program, as its vision is to amplify the potential of talented females and underrepresented groups who are driving Europe’s virtual, augmented and mixed reality sectors.

With Meta’s support, we will be able to expand our reach to help female content creators. The program includes grants to female lead projects, workshops with female creators and maximising visibility of their work at festivals and conferences.
- The Co-Founders of WIIT

The first part of the WIIT Meta Grant will be distributed to key European XR festival labs under the form of a special fund dedicated to European based women, non-binary and diverse gender XR creators who submit their projects to these festivals. The goal of this fund is to help in the development of their projects/prototypes and to offer more visibility in the industry. Three festivals have been selected so far: the Biennale College Cinema VR, the European Creators’ Lab and the Booster Lab.

The second part of the WIIT Meta grant will fund different workshops organized by WIIT and dedicated to its members. It includes the launch of WIIT’s Metaverse Creation Lab, a month-long lab that enables ten women, non-binary and diverse gender individuals to create their unique, virtual identity. This new lab headed by Sara Lisa Vogl, Co-Founder of WIIT together with other metaverse experts, will offer a series of workshops around the definition and representation of “self” in a digital context as well as around aspects of responsible creation for online, social XR spaces. It is centered around building a virtual avatar that might express a female or diverse identifying individual better in comparison with existing models whilst above all ensuring safety in the metaverse.

Individual self-expression in immersive, online social spaces as well as learning new skills and creating content with new peers is at the heart of this Lab. With Meta’s funds, we at WIIT want to support a diverse group of people to participate in the responsible creation of the Metaverse.
- Sara Lisa Vogl, Co-Founder of WIIT

The exact start date and call for submission will be announced soon across the WIIT channels. Additional labs are being scheduled focusing on young female creators with the purpose of helping the young generation envision the future of the metaverse and encourage entrepreneurship spirit in the metaverse economy.

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