IMAGINE being in the Auld Kirk of Alloway when Tam o’Shanter tints his reason a’ thegither, and roars out, “Weel done, Cutty-sark!”

Now you can do so because as the world prepares to celebrate Burns Night in this, the 225th anniversary year of the poet’s death, a project has been announced that will enable people to virtually experience the supernatural events of our National Bard’s famous poem.

It’s all thanks to new virtual reality (VR) education platform Edify, developed through a partnership between the University of Glasgow and immersive technology experts Sublime.

Dr Pauline Mackay from the University of Glasgow’s Centre for Robert Burns Studies has worked with Edify’s VR experts to create a virtual lesson on Burns, and specifically Tam o’ Shanter. She will be going live to an international audience from her virtual classroom at Alloway Auld Kirk in Ayrshire.

The first live virtual lesson, via Zoom, will take place on Saturday. It is hoped this will be the first in a series to a broad international audience of school children, students, academics and Burns’ admirers.

READ MORE: Lesley Riddoch: How to reclaim our Bard's legacy for a Burns Night like no other

In lockdown, popular communications platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams have come into their own allowing many students to be taught remotely. Edify has combined VR technology and video conferencing to allow teachers and students to explore and learn in virtual environments.

Through the Edify platform, anyone is able to dial-in to an instructor’s 3D lab or classroom environment, via these popular communications platforms.

Dr Mackay said: “Edify’s immersive technology will enable a host of relevant objects from disparate locations to be brought together and examined in the context of Burns’s most iconic poem, Tam o’ Shanter, in the environment that inspired the work, Alloway Auld Kirk, complete with the resplendent imagery of the poem.

“In a sense, it enables us to create a comprehensive ‘site of memory’, which is a real game changer in terms of the way we teach memory studies, and for the way people learn about the legacy and commemoration of important literary and historical figures.

“The possibilities for the implementation of this model in education, culture and heritage are limitless.”

Fergus Bruce, Edify’s director of education partnerships, said: “During this most unusual of Burns seasons, it is very exciting to be working with a world authority and superlative educator like Dr Mackay to bring this work to life using the superpowers offered by immersive technology.

“VR allows teachers and students alike to go anywhere, and to do anything when you get there. Edify’s mission is to enable anybody with internet access to learn using the enormous flexibility, scope, and nuance these superpowers deliver, and we are thrilled to be continuing our partnership with the university.”