In 2011 Jane founded the internationally recognised empathy project In My Shoes. In My Shoes is an ever-expanding collection of first-person documentary style interactive performances, which guide participants through the beautiful, the challenging, the mundane and the surreal aspects of being human.

Jane is currently working on In My Shoes: Intimacy. This new 360 experience explores the power of human connection. It delves into the importance of intimacy in survival, relationships and sexuality from a first-person perspective. Jane's work focuses on narrative, and explores using technology as a way to intensify audience experience. Jane is currently designing interactive experiences, but has also worked in interactive theatre, game and film. 

Since 2009 Jane has been working with story, audio technology and video goggles (Vuzix); she has gone on to design experiences for Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR headsets. Jane likes to play with ideas, write stories and experiment with alternative platforms, she is currently exploring virtual reality, augmented reality, artificial intelligence & Haptics.

Five Things I Learned

1. Since the In My Shoes project began Jane has worked with 100 different people to create 100 experiences themed on the subjects of trauma, arguments and accidents. Her first piece, In My Shoes: Waking in Slough, is about her experience of waking up in Slough and having no idea how she got there after experiencing an epileptic fit. 

2. Jane wanted to push how realistic she could make the piece for the user by stimulating other senses such as touch, taste and smell. During In My Shoes: Waking in Slough Jane would give the user objects to hold that mimicked what she held that day, such as a bottle of water and a handbag and would also simulate the wind of the train as it shoots past. It was made on a just £50 budget.

3. Jane went on to use the piece as a training tool to communicate with her doctor what it’s like to experience an epileptic seizure. It had a hugely positive effect on their relationship while changing his perception of her and epilepsy. He no longer focused solely on the prevention of the seizures and began to collaborate with Jane to improve her quality of life with the condition.

4. Jane shared some of her negative experiences of going to VR demos. It involved pushy exhibitors shoving headsets on her and saying 'you're going to love this' repeatedly. Jane believes that VR demos aren’t always made with the user’s experience being considered and Jane is careful not to use technology for the sake of it. Her focus is on the audience, story and understanding what is the best platform to use for each project.

5. Jane’s current project In My Shoes: Intimacy sees two people experiencing VR whilst interacting with each by touch. She is currently testing how far she can take the touch element of the experience without making the users uncomfortable. Jane shared with us her plans to tour her VR experience at festivals and develop it into a spectacle piece to intrigue passers-by as well as participants. 

Jane will be speaking and touring her work around various festivals internationally throughout the year; if you would like to find out more you can follow @JaneGuantlett on Twitter and find out her tour dates here.


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