While the scientific evidence of the positive effects of natural and green environments and playful experiences on physical, social and mental wellbeing is rapidly growing, future expertise in these fields requires more focused design questions and cross-disciplinary initiatives. This is achieved by international collaboration that produces intensive, design-oriented and evidence-based teaching in the above areas of study to students who have their backgrounds in creative design, game studies, media education or performance studies. Collaboration should be carried out in a way that covers not only the immediate needs of related education but also the needs of the industry that already engages in designing technologies aiming to provide well-being benefits – the life sciences sector.
The PLATINUM scheme (2016-17) produces a sustained educational platform for the Finnish HEIs and games industry to increase the Finnish influence on the large potential inherent in the Chinese market for promoting nature-based well-being solutions with technological emphasis as products and services. It responds to the question of how do two culturally diverse groups of students (Finnish and Chinese) understand the story-based and playful underpinnings of the health enhancing design of nature-based virtual spaces – such as those of gardens (China) and forests (Finland). This leads not only to unprecedented forms of international study paths, but to commercially exploitable software and opportunities for Finnish Games companies in the Hong Kong and Chinese markets.
The educational resources of the scheme are provided by the globally prominent knowhow and educational capital of the HEIs in the Tampere region in Finland, the special administrative region of Hong Kong in China and the most influential arts and media HEI in mainland China. In Finland, the consortium is represented by the subjects of environmental psychology, media education, performance and arts design/studies as well as multimodal/embodied interaction design. The Chinese HEI partners from Hong Kong and Beijing provide the platform unique expertise in serious games, design ethnography, animal play, animation, interactive art and Chinese games culture. The scheme supports the strategic priorities of the above institutions – innovative impact on societal, well-being, industry and educational issues – from an untapped interdisciplinary perspective.
PLATINUM (2016-2017), funded by CIMO / The Ministry of Education and Culture, Finland