Ellie Eshraghian
Ellie’s core research explores the evolving role of the witness, focusing on affective storytelling using virtual environments in order to foster emotional connections among strangers. How can we build VR environments to enable a viewer to become a co-author and an active witness with Others’ experiences?

Elham (Ellie) Eshraghian-Haakansson is an Iranian-Australian researcher and video artist working with the School of Design, University of Western Australia and Spaced, as an artist-in-residence for Know Thy Neighbour #3, with the Victoria Park Community Centre. Her arena of work centres itself within communal and collaborative social practice. Her research navigates inherited stories and post-memory felt by her displaced community through the poetics of the moving image. She invites viewers to become the ‘witness’ rather than the ‘passive bystander’, examining empathy in film-poems, and immersive multi-media experiences facilitating a critical discussion surrounding empathy, custodianship, compassion, and social change. She is co-founder of the Second Generation Collective, a not-for-profit community art collective, with a focus on empowering voices exploring notions of home, identity, and trauma, working with the Australian-Iranian community of Boorloo.

Ellie achieved a First Class Honours Fine Arts degree from the School of Design in 2018, completing a Masters of Fine Arts, with her thesis, “Empathy in Film, Poetry and Art: Identity Building in First and Second Generation Iranian-Australian and Bahá’í Community” in 2022, focusing on community building art practice, bridging intergenerational gaps, navigating trauma and communal care, and advocating for mental wellbeing. For her Fellowship, Elham’s research project Through My Eyes: The Virtual Architecture of Empathy will unearth and re-tell stories of hidden experiences felt in Western Australia, Boorloo through Virtual Reality (VR) in collaboration with creative arts therapist Cara Phillips, Dr Ionat Zurr (UWA School of Design), Immerse Australia and Dr. Jason Eshraghian, with the support of Spaced, as part of the Know Thy Neighbour #3 Program including Immerse Australia Natalie Marinho (Chair of Immerse Australia), research associate Dr. Ali Fardinpour (founder of Wise Realities) and Mahmudul Raz (VR Director of Photography, founder of Raz Media).

ResearchingExtended reality art
AffiliatedUniversity of Western Australia|
Focus areaSociety