Common Ground activity in focus: The Crossing

The Crossing, Dr Shreepali Patel

Dr Sheepali Patel, Cambridge School of Art, ARU:

“The written feedback to the project was overwhelming”.

The Crossing forms a strand of my research focus on Creative Communication, exploring the cross-disciplinary potential of existing and emerging audio-visual technologies and challenging traditional narrative conventions in engaging audiences with story and subject matter.

The research team and I had been constructing The Crossing for two years as such we approached the AHRC Common Ground Event with nervous anticipation. At the heart of our multi-screen installation, is the story of a young trafficked girl, which unfolds through a number of visual and sonic layers. Taking a cross-disciplinary approach, the project aimed to exploit the potential of live action, drone filming, visual effects and an immersive perspective shifting sound design through the 3Sixty’s wrap-around screens and using blue-tooth headphones to isolate the audience experience. The aim of the project was to explore the concept of ‘hope’ and it’s gradual unfurling reality into an exploitation of trust to perpetuate an illegal $150 billion worldwide industry which trades in people.

The Crossing, 3Sixty, Ron Cooke Hub

The written feedback to the project was overwhelming. The spatial impact of the 8 metre diagonal screens and the mirrored drone footage, combined with intimate audio experience created an unsettling physical reaction in the audience but also seemed to intensify the understanding of the complex issues involved in sex trafficking. It was rewarding to finally see the project in such a space and achieve and engage in a constructive dialogue with other researchers and members of the public.


Dr Shreepali Patel is an academic and filmmaker. The Crossing is currently being developed as an interactive project to be used in PHSE studies within Secondary School curriculum.