RYOT Studio uses WebAR to bring to life ‘Finding Our Heart’ for NAIDOC week

Dede Stewart

Blak Douglas' illustration from 'Finding our heart'

Blak Douglas’ illustrations from Thomas Mayor’s  children's  book ‘Finding Our Heart’ have been brought to life in a new Augmented Reality (AR) experience from Verizon Media’s branded content division, RYOT Studio and Yahoo News Australia.

‘Finding Our Heart’  shares the story of the Uluru Statement from the Heart to help children understand Australia’s past, so that we can have a shared future.

Released as a project for NAIDOC Week, three of Douglas’ illustrations - ‘Heart of the nation’, ‘First contact’ and ‘Big beautiful country’ - can now be viewed through your device using Augmented Reality (AR). The work is accessible through an editorial feature on Yahoo News Australia, with author Thomas Mayor narrating excerpts from the book as an accompanying soundtrack to the experience. 

RYOT Studio and Yahoo News Australia worked on the immersive project in collaboration with Blak Douglas, a contemporary artist of proud Dhungatti Aboriginal origins, and Thomas Mayor, a Torres Strait Islander man who is a union official and signatory of the Uluru Statement from the Heart. ‘Finding Our Heart’ was recently short-listed for the Best Designed Children’s Non-Fiction Illustrated Book at the Australian Book Design Awards.

The activation is one of a series of activities being carried out by Verizon Media to mark NAIDOC Week, as part of its ongoing commitment to championing diversity and inclusion across its businesses and mastheads. 

The Yahoo logo has been changed to one designed by Noongar and Saibai Islander artist Tyrown Waigana. Additionally, in recognition of the importance of celebrating and learning from First Nations people, Verizon Media has partnered with Omnicom Group to host a ‘Heal Country. Heal Nation’ panel event for staff. Indigenous speakers will dissect this year’s NAIDOC Week theme and yarn about challenges and issues facing the community. 

Head of Strategic Solutions at RYOT Studio Julia Edwards commented: “We’re very excited to continue our partnership with First Nations artists to bring their works to life in AR via the Verizon Media Immersive Platform.

“Our tech has brought a new dimension to the incredible illustrations that share the Uluru Statement from the Heart message so well. It’s been an absolute privilege and pleasure working with Blak Douglas and Thomas Mayor to create an invaluable resource accessible to all Australians.

‘Finding our heart’ author Thomas Mayor added:  “When Blak Douglas brought ‘Finding Our Heart’ to life with his illustrations, I thought I’d seen it all but this new digital immersive format is a great new way for people to connect with the story I wrote about the Uluru Statement. 

“I hope it inspires more people to take action. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders make up only 3% of the population and we are voiceless. To help us gain a voice, change can only take place if this is challenged by everyone.”

Paul Sigaloff, Vice President at Verizon Media ANZ INSEA, added: “We’re proud to celebrate and support the histories and cultures of our First Nations people and spread the  Uluru Statement from the Heart message in a new, digital way. Listening and learning is central to the path towards Reconciliation, there’s always more we can do. It’s great to have OMG partnered with us to learn together.”  


Link to work


Thomas Mayor - Author & Union Activist

Blak Douglas - Koori Artist  

Katrina Lobley - Travel & Arts Freelance Writer


RYOT Studio 

James Kavanagh - Senior Project Manager

Julia Edwards - Head of Strategic Solutions 

Eric Day - Senior Creative Producer 

Erik Lohr - Audio Lead

Guenever Goik  - Head of 3D

Laura Hertzfeld  - Director, XR Partner Program


Verizon Media ANZ

Lani Tweddle - CSR Country Lead