Alternate Realities Summit 2023

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The Alternate Realities Summit brings creators, artists and industry experts to discuss the latest developments, trends and issues across the landscape of immersive and interactive storytelling.

Taking place in Sheffield’s majestic Town Hall and open to both the public and industry, this curated series of talks and discussions covers a range of topics that aims at broadening the already growing appetite for new technologies and ways of exploring our world. They will cover audience growth, attracting investment and innovation, with contributions from cutting-edge creators, who will offer insights into artificial intelligence, virtual reality and immersive audio projects.

The Alternate Realities Summit is aimed at creators already working in the industry and those just starting to explore this fascinating, thrilling and groundbreaking new world.

We look forward to welcoming you all on Sunday 18 June.


10:45: Alternate Realities Summit Welcome
Sheffield DocFest’s Alternate Realities Consultant Verity Nalley and Baff Akoto, one of this year’s Panel Selection Committee, welcome you to a day of talks and panel discussions covering the latest development coming out of the digital immersive storytelling community.

Speakers: Verity Nalley, Alternate Realities Consultant
Baff Akoto, Artist, Filmmaker & Alternate Realities Selection Committee Member


11:00: AI – Storytelling Friend or Foe
Artificial Intelligence is changing the landscape of our everyday lives in potentially seismic ways. But how is it impacting our storytelling? This panel invites AI experts and artists, who are employing the medium in their works to explore its potential in the creation process. The discussion will also cover the ethics surrounding this new technology, what the future may hold, and what they are most excited – and nervous – about. 

Chair: Jorge Cabellero Ramos, Filmmaker / AI - Cinema Researcher

Panelists: Anna Giralt Gris, Director, +RAIN Film Fest
Adam Cole, New Media Artist


12:00: New Horizons: Audiences of the Future
Creators, documentarians and storytellers are engaging with immersive technologies in increasingly complex ways. But who is really experiencing it? What lessons have been learnt so far? This panel puts together a group of innovative creators who are looking at immersive audiences differently – from creating a world in an online gaming platform with 400 million users, to forging award winning experiences via headsets. Some of the most successful creators in immersive technologies will offer unique insight into the wins of attracting new audiences, and to share the lessons they have learnt so far. 

Chair: Verity Nalley, Alternate Realities Consultant

Panelists: Matt Vernon-Clinch, Preloaded
Victoria Eyton, Creative Producer, Darkfield
Victor Agulhon, Targo CEO


13:30: Space Invaders: Post-colonial Alternate Realities
Despite the intention of many documentarians to address inequality through their work, will XR non-fiction simply serve to perpetuate historical narratives just as the training of AI has often imported old biases. Or have we the opportunity to do better? Examining work authored by global majority storytellers that employ emergent technologies to locate their stories in their own cultural context, Derek will consider whether the invasion of alternate reality spaces will be colonialist expansion or the rise of the disenfranchised.

Speaker: Derek Richards, Head of Broadcast & Digital at Roundhouse, Lecturer in Digital Design & Production at Guildhall School of Music & Drama  


14:15: Navigating the Funding Landscape
Finding funding can be complex and challenging. An often frustrating process, it can feel like a lot of work, often with no or little return. This session gives you a unique insight into the Immersive funding landscape, introducing the people that make funding award decisions and discussing what excites them at the moment – what they want to see now and in the future, and the kind of work they are looking to support. 

Speakers to be announced.


15:15: Networking
Are you looking to meet new people, or reconnect with old friends? Join us as we provide a welcoming space for you to share your experiences, explore potential collaborations and find new opportunities. 

In this show

Alternate Realities Talks
330 mins

Book Tickets

Alternate Realities Summit
Sheffield Town Hall - Reception Rooms A + B

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