Harmeet Chagger-Khan

Artist & Filmmaker

Harmeet Chagger-Khan is an artist and filmmaker producing site-specific projects with a diverse range of individuals to harness their polymathic qualities and create subtle behaviour change within communities, organisations and cities. As a BOM (Birmingham Open Media) Fellow and Resident at Pervasive Media Studio, Bristol, she is currently exploring how technology, locative storytelling, immersive media, live art and theatre can create antidotes to life.

What I’m working on:

How can immersive experiences and fictional narratives build resilience and create long-lasting positive behaviour change?

The WHO has projected that by 2030, mental health problems will be the leading cause of mortality and morbidity globally. Building emotional and mental resilience should therefore be seen as a priority that is afforded to the many and not just seen as a luxury or a lottery for the privileged or the few. Therefore using immersion as a preventative and pre-emptive strike to allow audiences/users to develop and strengthen resilient behaviours is the focus of this research. In particular I’ll be researching how new habits are formed and what levers of change mechanisms need to be in place, and how immersive experiences can make individuals feel more: resilient, courageous, flexible to change, compassionate, determined, with increased self belief, and what mechanics and frameworks make these behaviours ‘sticky’ and long term. Focusing on real-world immersive environments, the power of fictional narratives (to set up curiosity and big calls to action) and world building via augmented reality and shared locative experiences, I will be developing methodologies through research, interviews with pioneers in cross-sector fields (immersion, psychology, neuroscience, entertainment, wellbeing and healthcare) and play testing.

Expertise and skills:

I’ve spent the last 10 years telling other people’s stories and unlocking renaissance qualities within individuals through site-specific film installations and live art performances, across education, cultural and commercial sectors. Working with a diverse range of individuals from those receiving end of life care, adults with mental health issues, young people within schools, women from BAME backgrounds, everyday people and street communities with clients including Southbank Centre, Birmingham City Council, Saudi Aramco, MIF, mac, SAMPAD, New Art Gallery Walsall, I’ve seen first-hand how facilitating multiple voices through dynamic projects to create compelling stories can add value to people’s sense of self in a complicated world. This subtle behaviour change that can be fostered through storytelling, combined with thought leadership and behaviour change influences from campaigns at M&C Saatchi, has shifted my practice to exploring how immersive media can be used to harness, create ownership, agency, choice and adopt new behaviours.