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Student Competition


For the publication of the fifth volume of The Future of Text, we are inviting students from around the world to join us in competition to be featured.

This is to provide opportunities for a young audience of XR creators, thinkers, and users, we are hosting a student competition that will result publication in The Future of Text and presentation at the annual Future of Text Symposium.

We are asking students to imagine working in extended reality in the future. Imagine the headset being as light as eye-glasses, perhaps, as small as contact lenses–or even working without a headset in an environment where multiple projectors change the world around them. Imagine the basic use of XR will be using ‘passthrough’ video, meaning students can see the world around them as they use the headset, but they can also toggle into a mode where their experience is completely an in-world XR environment. We ask:

  1. What can you do when the information you see covers your entire field of vision? How do you want to handle daily tasks in such a world?
  2. How might text––the written word––one of the oldest and most transformative technologies humanity has invented, be viewed in this environment and how might you interact with it; what might you do with text when your imagination has been totally freed?


The purpose is to increase the dialog around the future of text, particularly for working in XR, with a younger and more diverse audience.

Invitation Letter


Two winners will be selected from among the entries: First Place and Honorable Mention. Both students will see their essays published and will be invited to present their essay at the Future of Text Symposium.

At the discretion of the judging panel, the best runners up contributions will also be included in the published book. (What this entails and what the criteria will be, will be decided by the judging panel before the competition is made public)


The competition is open for anyone 18-24 years old, anywhere in the world.

You may submit anything you like, as long as you are serious and it relates to the topic of the future of text, with a focus in reading and writing in XR (Extended Reality).

If you choose to submit an entry which cannot be in the form of typed text, you may submit photographs or other images, at a good quality, maximum of 6. This includes a video entry from any platform (YouTube, TikTok, Instagram etc.), which will need to have any and all dialog transcribed and a maximum of 6 screenshots included.

Please keep in mind that The Future of Text series of books are designed for the long haul. We cannot guarantee that your video will be accessible in 100 years, but the basic PDF and printed copy should indeed be available and readable in the distant future.

References are not necessary but will need to be in the ACM format.

Please note that submissions will get rejected if they don’t fulfil the listed criteria.

How to Enter

We are not looking for full research or journalistic perspectives, we are looking for personal passions for working with text in XR for reading, authoring and beyond.

To reach a broad perspective that can potentially include students whose first-language is not English and students who are disabled and/or have sensory sensitivities, we will accept a variety of submission formats:

  • Essay: A written essay, 1500-2000 words in length, submitted as a .docx or .rtf
  • Images: A photographic essay, of up to six full color images, submitted as jpgs saved as a zip file along with a text description as a short essay (see above)
  • Podcast: A podcast essay, of up to five minutes, submitted as a mp3, along with a summary or full transcript, in the essay format
  • Video/Animation: A video or animation, of up to three minutes, submitted as a mp4, along with a summary or full transcript, in the essay format

Email your contribution to with two documents: One document with your name and basic biography (your name, age, location and school/university) and the document with your submission. The submission document will need to be in Microsoft Word, RTF or plain text, with anything from half a page to 4 pages in length.

The submission will need to have a title, not just your name. The document name will need to be the same as the name of your submission, plus the date and time you send the submission (in any style).

Your submission will be judged blind, that is to say without the judges having access to your name or institution. This is why you will need to submit those two documents and this is why you will need to name your submission with the submission name and the date and time.

Please feel free to email us if you have any questions about this:


Final manuscripts must be submitted by the 1st of October 2024.

Judging Criteria

Judging criteria will focuses on the following:

  • Originality of vision 
  • Clarity of presentation, either as a philosophical, artistic, poetic or technical piece
  • How the submission is a thoughtful contribution to the dialog around the future of text in XR

Students will be asked to remember that the competition is about analog or digital text in written form composed of words (logographic, syllabaric, or in segmental scripts), not in the looser sense of anything which can be ‘read’. Since it is surprisingly difficult to define text in this context, we will give quite a bit of leeway to let students’ imaginations run free. However, to be clear, we are not looking at only pictures, video, or sound––but concerned with visual marks which have symbolic meaning and can be combined in a grammatical order. 

Because submissions will be evaluated without judges having access to students’ name or institution, students are required to submit two versions of their work: One that contains their name, institution, and submission title; and another that contains the submission title only.

Allowing students to submit a broad array of formats avoids biases that could arise from singling out non-English speaking students and makes it possible for students will disabilities to contribute with a format with which they are comfortable. Moreover, open judging means that judges will not know the identities and backgrounds of students who participate in the competition and so mitigate possibilities of singling out a specific cultural background.

Judges will be drawn from five to seven members from our advisory committee, the participants of the Future Text Lab meetings, and previous contributors to the Future of Text Symposium and book. The judging process will be overseen by the two Co-PIs, Grigar and Hegland.


This project, and this competition is explicitly inclusive where it comes to gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, euro-divergence, religion, sexual orientation or culture. The jury will reflect this.

At this point in history it is crucial that a wide range of perspectives be included for how to build the next level of digital immersion for work.

On this basis, if you, dear reader, are aware of un-served communities and can help us connect, please get in touch.


You will retain the copyright, but you agree we (as represented by Editor Frode Hegland) can use your article in all versions of the book in any form of media.

Note to Teachers

We would love for you to get involved. This is a long term project and we are therefore very interested in working with you on building awareness around the opportunities for the futures of text. Please email Editor Frode Hegland at for more information.

Note to Everyone Else

If you are not a student but you would like to contribute to the next volume of The Future of Text, please feel to pitch your idea to Editor Frode Hegland at


Introduction to the Competition & Rationale