Welcome to Alternate Realities, Sheffield Doc/Fest’s programme of virtual reality experiences, interactive documentaries and inspiring talks and sessions. We invite Festival-goers and the public to bravely step into new worlds, where interaction and immersion make you a part of the story.

In 2017, we brought you a magical, factual feast of experiences at our hub, the Millennium Gallery. And we hit the streets of Sheffield with two new pop-up venues, our immersive Virtual Reality Portal on Tudor Square and the Virtual Reality Campfire at Upper Chapel where you could find thought provoking stories from around the world.

With more virtual reality than ever before in the programme, we invited you to ascend into the tree canopy of the Amazon rainforest. Share an intimate moment with a stranger. Play with an interactive model of a rebuilt city or see the world through the eyes of a baby.

With the latest tech in our interactive exhibition, we encouraged you to augment your reality, bear witness to documentaries on the web and swipe through dramatic stories on tablets. You could find a hidden love story in secret documents, slip down the rope of lost memories or lead a clandestine wartime mission to decide the fate of the world and uncover secrets from WWII.

Bringing together Film and Alternate Realities more closely than before, we created story specific journeys that let you immerse yourself in the worlds you have seen on the big screen or follow strands like Doc/Love and Doc/Think across both programmes.

Audiences were able to experience documentaries in new and visceral ways, from coral conservation to the effects of M.E.

In the 2017 Alternate Realities Summit, we created a day of illuminating and vital conversations, talks and demonstrations. The nature of the human identity and connection was explored with storytellers, technologists and artists revealing how their documentary work could help us better understand who we are and encourage social innovation.

The Summit Morning focussed on digital experiences that helped us learn about our own identity and values. The Summit Afternoon explored how virtual reality and immersive experiences give us a better understanding of the lives of others.

Beyond the Summit and the Exhibition, you could discover Alternate Realities sessions and events throughout the city. In particular the DOOM ROOM, a psychedelic mediation on life and death that was not for the faint hearted.

We are hard at work developing our 2018 programme, a selection of interactive and immersive stories that you can only see during these wonderful six days in Sheffield.

Supported by Arts Council England

- Dan Tucker, Curator, Alternate Realities