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Vanessa Melissourgaki

2017/18 Athens

Vanessa was born and raised in Athens. Following her passion for arts and culture, she pursued a BA in Art History and an MA in Museum Studies. Her academic background took her early interest to a new level, making her dream even clearer: as an active member of the cultural world, she decided to promote its social impact.

For the past seven years, she has gained broad experience in project management through a variety of collaborations with significant cultural organizations in Greece and abroad, leading to her last position as Head of Production for the Athens Biennale. In line with her vision, she undertook courses such as “Socially Engaged Art” and volunteered in refugee camps and shelters in Athens.

By participating in START and gaining skills and experience, Vanessa aspires to create a sustainable cultural initiative for children facing exclusion, using informal education, new technologies and games.

Project Progress Phase II Phase I

Phase II

Project implementation in Greece

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Dec - May

Project Title

ARKANOINT - Partners in Fun

Partners in Fun is a mobile playground enhanced with Augmented Reality, encouraging refugee children to play, learn and socialize.

Moving across Athens, this interactive playground will invite children from refugee shelters and local neighbourhoods to play together, acknowledge each other and communicate while tasting the future of child education and entertainment.

In groups of four, participants wander in the immersive game, a life-like forest created by the team: riddles and mystical creatures, activated by the tablets provided, stand in their way and the children must join forces and work together to reach the hidden treasure.

Combining the opportunity to play and the opportunity to learn, two fundamental components of childhood, Partners in Fun seeks to restore normalcy to the lives of refugee children and create an opportunity for contact, collaboration and participation. By this, we aim to inspire long-term connections and friendships, the inclusion of this vulnerable group and an open society characterized by diversity and acceptance.

Moreover, making itself constantly available to new groups of socially excluded people, Partners in Fun is just the beginning of a broader discussion about social inclusion and the contribution of Augmented Reality to the battle against major societal challenges.


Phase I

Capacity building in Germany

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Sep - Nov

Project Title


While in Germany, Vanessa Melissourgaki, in collaboration with the Waschhaus Potsdam, developed a research-based project titled “ARKANOINT Pop-Up” to investigate the use of augmented reality in encouraging interaction and participation among children. Socio-cultural organizations from Berlin and Potsdam were invited to host small events in which children of different ages and backgrounds could get an opportunity to enjoy an augmented reality game developed especially for these events. During these five small pop-up events and while children played and had fun, Vanessa and her team recorded reactions and any challenges that occurred. In the end, 30 children were invited to participate as evaluators, brainstorm and give feedback in order to further develop the project according to their needs.

Host Institution


Within the last twenty-five years, Waschhaus Potsdam gGmbH has developed from an occupied building to the largest socio-culture center in the state of Brandenburg. With a diverse schedule of programming in the areas of dance, contemporary art, club culture as well as concerts and literary events, the culture center attracts more than 120,000 visitors per year. Alongside the former Garnisionswäscherei venue and Waschhaus-Arena, the dance studio Oxymoron Dance Company and Kunstraum Potsdam are also part of the non-profit cultural work taking place on Schiffbauergasse.

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