2017 Games for Change Festival will include VR for Change Summit

Games for Change, a nonprofit organization dedicated to using digital games for social change, is expanding this year’s Games for Change Festival to include a deeper look at virtual reality and how communities and organizations are using the technology to impact real-world causes.

The VR for Change Summit “aims to expand our understanding of what is possible with virtual reality technology to create positive social change.”

Susanna Pollack, president of Games for Change, told Mashable:

"We feel that Games for Change is very well-positioned to help develop this community in the same way that we have in the games community. There are a number of VR events being produced around the world right now — a lot of summits and expos and demos — but none with a specific focus about how VR can be applied to social change across different sectors."

Virtual reality, a powerful storytelling tool for teaching empathy and inclusivity, has the potential to impact nonprofits, journalism, art, education, and health.

Erik Martin, former Policy Advisor at White House Office of Science and Technology Policy under the Obama Administration, is curating the summit.

“The state of VR technologies today presents an opportunity to affect positive social change in radically new ways. The emerging landscape of VR technology, such as new headsets and mobile capabilities, as well as augmented reality, are making new kinds of media content and storytelling techniques possible to engage people with critical issues and causes. We are excited to grow the community and amplify impact with the VR for Change Summit," he said, according to VRFocus.com

The VR for Change summit will include talks, workshops and demos. Developers, artists, storytellers, researchers, activists and policymakers will gather to discuss new initiatives, projects, and developments in the field.

According to the Games for Change website, keynotes of the summit include influential VR pioneer Nonny de la Peña; Megan Smith, the third White House Chief Technology Officer of the United States; Dr. Adam Gazzaley, co-founder and chief science advisor of Akili Interactive Labs, who will shares his vision of how emerging VR technology can be used to achieve meaningful and sustainable cognitive enhancement; Dawn Laguens, the EVP of the Planned Parenthood Federation, who will illustrates Planned Parenthood’s use of virtual reality and innovative apps impacting the way people access reproductive health care and empathy; Gabo Arora, the founder and president of Lightshed, who will give a historical overview of visual media and its uses for empathy and representing others’ pain.

The 14th annual Games for Change Festival will be held July 31 to Aug 2 at the New School in New York City.

For more information and to buy tickets, visit http://www.gamesforchange.org.