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Development   /  Emma Macey-Storch

In My Neighbourhood [VR]

InMyNeighbourhood[VR] is an innovative, immersive animated documentary series sharing diverse local stories for change.


Impact areas







  • DIRECTOR Emma Macey-Storch

  • PRODUCER Nayana Bhandari



In My Neighbourhood[VR] is an innovative and immersive animated documentary series that invites Victorian audiences to explore issues affecting their communities through an interactive virtual reality platform created with and for communities across Australia.

Audiences will be asked to enter the virtual neighbourhood and walk the streets, where they will find houses that unfold and unpack to reveal hidden stories within.

Created in collaboration with 30 residents of Melbourne, the stories address a wide range of issues including; family violence, gender inequality, suicide, mental health, immigration experiences, race-based discrimination, isolation, lost connections and separation in COVID times, the menstruation taboo, cycles of grief, masculinity, the power of friendship and chasing dreams.

The stories being developed will reflect the lived experience of our communities, as told by them, reaching new and different demographics through the use of VR.

To maximise the impact of these stories, we will be working with five emerging Melbourne animators to transform the work into a collection of animated documentaries that will be integrated into the virtual reality [VR] environment.

The resulting work will be an eclectic collection of stories that challenge, move and inspire audiences to think about some of the age old issues of our time and potentially mobalise audiences to find community-led solutions and support networks.

IN MY NEIGHBOURHOOD[VR] will engage a broad and diverse audience with the work via their mobile phones, tablets and desktop computers (virtual reality headset or as game interface) as well as across traditional broadcast and community based media platforms.

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Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

The problem we are trying to tackle is that some of the most pressing social issues people are grappling with are often hidden and concealed behind closed doors. The COVID19 pandemic and subsequent longterm shutdown of Victoria has had a profound effect on many people from rising family violence, mental health and isolation to a desire to unify and come together for a common cause.

VR and AR are revolutionising our ability to bring immersive experiences to a much wider audience in education/community development settings. Early research indicates that VR builds more empathy, can tackle accessibility issues and that in 43% of cases inspires people to be more willing to take action on a given issue.

We believe IN MY NEIGHBOURHOOD [VR] is a way to highlight important local issues while engaging and breaking down barriers to participation for communities that have felt an overwhelming sense of isolation and not being part of their usual neighbourhood activities in current times.


What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

Help foster community-led solutions to age-old problems affecting our society
Nurture community connectedness
Articulate many local issues affecting CALD communities in Australia from multiple perspectives, potentially unheard of perspectives.
Use the project as a valuable educational resource that helps communities across Australia understand the complexities and social and cultural nuances of the issues affecting them


What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?

We are hoping that ‘IN MY NEIGHBOURHOOD[VR] will not only be an innovative and immersive documentary storytelling experience for audiences across Australia but will nurture more open and honest conversations around the issues being highlighted in the animated documentaries for our audiences

By working with the local community, cultural leaders and 20-30 participants from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse backgrounds to co-create the work that we will be able to articulate many local issues affecting CALD communities in Australia from multiple perspectives, potentially unheard of perspectives.

We would like our neighbourhood/VR platform to build a link between immersive experience, documentary and empathy to action.


How will this documentary achieve its outcomes?

We have strong community, government and stakeholder support that will ensure the project can reach the widest possible audience.

Along with festival screenings, a social media driven online release and a broad community screening initiative, we believe we will be able to build visibility for the issues visited in the film and particularly engage diverse Australian audiences so our film can help challenge behaviours, educate and inspire grassroots change.

We are particularly working closely with Hume City Council to identify ways to enhance local community participation in the project, including local signage that will draw residents to the work online.


How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?

We have strong partnerships already in place for social impact, including with cultural organisations, multiple community groups, family violence service providers, health organisations and local government.

Additionally we have qualified social workers, mental health professionals and cultural consultants within the team who are there for continued guidance on content as well as supporting our community participants.

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?

Seek greater connectedness within their local communities
Use the film/VR platform to engage their networks in deep conversations around diversity, issues impacting their communities and community-led solutions
Inspire audiences to lobby or advocate for the implement of new policy at work, at their place of worship and social networks that help reduce issues like family violence, gender inequality, mental health and isolation
Inspire more projects in Australia that reflect the lived experience of the community, as told by them.

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

CALD Victorians are empowered to document/share their diverse stories about their experiences, connect with others and learn new skills
Project participants report satisfaction, increased skill and/or career opportunities, new and continued connections, and a sense of empowerment that their otherwise untold stories are being heard.
Increased visibility of CALD stories/experiences via our innovative VR project and publicity
Number of audiences engaging with the stories through the app/interface, including broadcast and community media coverage on, at festivals and on social media.
Using accessible VR technology to improve community education and connection on a range of universal social issues
Use of the app/platform by schools, workplaces and community groups
Broader social and cultural community benefits that indicate audiences/service providers/community groups felt more aware of issues and confident to tackle local issues as a result of the project