Alternate Realities Summit

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A day-long series of talks, discussions, networking and games. Come and find out what the latest trends are in immersive and interactive storytelling, whether there is such a thing as a non-fiction metaverse, and what co-creation means when it comes to music.

The past three years, being locked in our homes and cut off physically from so much community and sociability has been hard. Festivals so often are the places you learn about new digital works, where you meet artists whose work you will then follow, make connections with people you might end up working with.

This is a chance to connect and reconnect with the immersive community. Artists, curators, broadcasters, commissioners, audiences interested in new types of non-fiction form and digital storytelling - everyone - you’re all welcome to this day, to listen to what the immersive and interactive non-fiction documentary world has to offer at this moment. 

It’s time to do this again, together.

Opening Hours Sun 26 Jun, 9.30-17:00
Booking required: £40 public, free with the Industry Pass. 

The Alternate Realities Summit is co-produced by Sheffield DocFest and XR Stories
Summit Producer: Nikki Stearman, XR Stories


Part 1: Channing Hall, 45 Surrey Street, Sheffield, S1 2LG

Alternate Realities Summit Welcome
Sun 26 June, 09:30, 

Francesca Panetta, curator of Alternate Realities, and John Rose Adams, Creative Producer at XR Stories, welcome you for a day of talks, discussions and interacting with the international digital storytelling community. 

Speakers: Francesca Panetta, Sheffield DocFest & John Rose Adams, XR Stories

Immersive Trends
Sun 26 June, 09:50, 

What has a pandemic done to change the form of immersive and interactive documentaries? Are they the same as they were before the pandemic, or has a locked down world of creators and audiences shifted the content? Leaders from the industry tell us the trends they are seeing in the immersive and interactive industry, and what they are personally most excited about. 

Speakers: John Rose Adams, XR Stories; Sam King, HTC Vive Arts; Mark Atkin, XO Labs; Emma Cooper, Creative Industries; Zillah Watson, Consultant and Lecturer

The Art of Connection
Sun 26 June, 10:50, 

Do interactive works have the potential to connect people more strongly? If so? What are the techniques? 

Alternate Realities has brought three artists to the festival this year who use very different techniques Nadja Van Der Weide uses location based audio in her work Common Good 3, Persis Jade Maravala VR focuses on touch in Goodnight, Sleep Tight (pilot), and Rachel Briscoe asks her audiences to participate thought discussion in the Acquisition Panel. The artists discuss these different approaches. 

Speakers: Emma Cooper, Creative Industries, Nadja Van Der Weide, Artist; Persis Jade Maravala, Artist; Rachel Briscoe, Artist

Using VR to warn against Nuclear Disaster
Sun 26 June, 11:50, 

Directors Mike Brett, Steve Jamison and poet Jamaica Heolimeleikalani Osorio pull back the curtain on the process behind their award-winning work on the 2018 ballistic missile alert in Hawai'i. The work uses first-person audio testimonies and performances recorded using cutting-edge volumetric video capture technology, to provide a visual metaphor for the chaos and panic in the immediate aftermath event, illustrating to audiences the very real and imminent threat of nuclear weapons.

Speakers: Zillah Watson, Consultant and Lecturer; Mike Brett, Artist; Steve Jamison, Artist

The Non-Fiction Metaverse
Sun 26 June, 13:25

One of the key components of most visions of the “Metaverse” is social virtual reality, where multiple people can come together and interact in real time in a virtual space.  Do documentaries have a place in the metaverse? Can social VR work as a medium for non-fiction narrative?  In an environment where everything is computer generated, and where social presence is entirely mediated, how do you address reality?  

Looking at examples of immersive narrative experiences in real and virtual spaces, we will explore possible futures for non-fiction narratives within it.   

Speakers:  Verity McIntosh, University of the West of England; Ben Joseph Andrews, Artist
Emma Roberts, Artist; David Gochfeld, XR Stories; Ben Carlin, Megaverse; Sam King, HTC Vive Arts

Co-Creation: Finding Your Voice
Sun 26 June, 14:25

Composer Hannah Conway’s The Sound Voice Project examines voice loss through opera. She worked with biomedical researchers, healthcare professionals, academics and technology entrepreneurs as well as those who have experienced voice loss. Filmmaker Brian Hill’s Songbirds collaborated with women in Downview Prison in Sutton to create the musical documentary Songbirds. In it the women sing their stories in musical styles spanning from hip hop to lullaby. The two artists talk about the practicalities of co-creating musical works. 

Speakers: Francesca Panetta; Hannah Conway, Composer; Brian Hill, Filmmaker

Part 2: Memorial Hall, Barker's Pool, Sheffield, S1 2JA

David Olusoga: StoryTrails - a journey through time and space
Sun 26 June, 15:30

StoryTrails is a unique, immersive storytelling experience, using the latest multimedia technologies to bring untold stories to life where they happened. StoryTrails Executive Producer David Olusoga will launch the project at Sheffield DocFest before it begins a UK wide tour this Summer. David will also be joined by some of the project's emerging talent and cutting edge creative companies to preview the UK’s largest immersive storytelling project to date. StoryTrails is one of 10 projects commissioned for UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK.


In this show

Film/Arts Talk
330 mins

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Alternate Realities Summit
Channing Hall

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