A University of the West of Scotland (UWS) project has been nominated for a prestigious international award – alongside pop culture icons such as Taylor Swift, Mr Beast, RuPaul and The Simpsons.

The Virtual Van Gogh project, a collaborative effort between the University of the West of Scotland, arts and heritage app Smartify, and AT&T, has been nominated for a Webby Award. This nomination highlights the project as one of the internet’s finest innovations.

In this exciting project, Vincent Van Gogh’s celebrated painting “Restaurant Rispal at Asnières” has been reimagined into an immersive virtual reality (VR) museum. This innovative space allows visitors to explore a collection of the artist’s most famous works from across the globe in a fully interactive VR environment.

The original artwork depicts the outside of a 19th century café in France.

Peter Satera, a lecturer in Animation and Arts at UWS, said:

“We’re absolutely thrilled to have been nominated for this high profile award, it’s certainly not something we anticipated and it’s a huge honour. I’d like to acknowledge my colleague Dr Ray Holder, who played a key role in making this project a reality.”

Dr Marco Gilardi, Research Lead at the UWS Creative Computing Research Group, added:

“Having the opportunity to bring this much-loved painting to life has been an honour in itself; giving people the opportunity to explore its world and view artwork that they would have had to travel continents to see. It’s a little surreal to be in the running for such a prestigious award, but the entire team is delighted.”

Thanos Kokkiniotis, Smartify CEO and Head of Product, added:

“Our version of the restaurant doubles up as a museum, containing art which is on display at the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam, The National Gallery in London and the Austrian Gallery Belvedere.

“The response from the public had been very positive – and this nomination really is the icing on the cake. We’re delighted and humbled to be in contention for this prize.”

The virtual museum was developed through a Knowledge Transfer Partnership, funded by Innovate UK, in partnership with UWS.