KEYNOTE SPEAKER

JONNY FREEMAN

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Jonny is a a specialist in creative arts and media research, with a combined academic and commercial focus on media psychology. From a starting point of fundamental research and methods he generates impact through application of his interdisciplinary approach to work at the intersection of the Creative Industries, Psychology, Design, and Computing. Extensively networked in the collaborative R&D and innovation space, with a focus across the creative industries, he has an externally funded research track of over 25 years.

This experience spans the cultural and commercial, and the private and public domains of the Creative Industries (including live performance, immersive, games, social media, location-based entertainment), responsive media, smart homes and cities, and connected retail.

Focusing on user experience, he applies his knowledge to better understand audience impact, and identify opportunities for the Creative Industries across the value chain, with a view towards optimising service delivery and sustainability (monetisation).

He has developed a body of knowledge and methodologies to optimise digital UX, impact and effectiveness, with a key focus on audience experience and on immersive technology. These include the ITC-SOPI (2001) and the Immersive User Experience Toolkit (2018), in use in hundreds of labs around the world. In 2020, his company, i2 media research limited, launched the online self-service Audience Impact Metric, to enable creative organisations to access the methodologies easily and affordably: http://i2mediaresearch.com/i2-metrics. Through 2019-2021, he is leading the audience insight and strategy function of the Royal Shakespeare Company led Audience of the Future Performance Demonstrator, and Innovate UK funded collaborative R&D project. In this role, he has led the development of: a new segmentation of UK audiences for content spanning live performance to digital games, an in-depth study of the needs of different of these audience segments through COVID-19, and the development of easy ways for creative organisations to access the methodologies developed by his team and the project's research partners.  Through his wide consultation with the creative industries, he has identified business opportunities for the creative content sector from tech including immersive, personalisation and 5G.  He also serves as Professor of Psychology and Academic Lead for Knowledge Exchange at Goldsmiths University of London.

KEYNOTE SPEAKER

GEORGE SIMONS

George is a Creative Producer who is passionate about creating immersive experiences where digital and physical environments converge. He has led teams in creating live performances, real-time installations, brand experiences and Hollywood film sets using digital content, interactive technology and physical environments.

 

As Audience of the Future Producer for the Royal Shakespeare Company he drove the process and creative focus of the Innovate UK funded project. The major piece of cutting-edge R&D explored what it means to deliver live immersive performance, using real-time virtual production to connect audiences and performers across a range of digital platforms. It culminated with the delivery of the ground-breaking live performance Dream.

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He studied Graphics Arts and Design before embarking on a career as a graphic designer and subsequently art director in the film and TV industry. He produced and creatively led all the user interfaces and screens featured throughout Ridley Scott’s film Prometheus. As Brand Design Manager at Lord’s Cricket Ground he oversaw all design requirements and creative aspects of the MCC and Lord’s brands and was part of the team that delivered the bicentenary celebrations of the ground in 2014.

He joined Territory Studio in 2015 as Creative Manager to renew his passion for design and moving image. Whilst at Territory he was part of the team responsible for delivering motion graphics and VFX for film productions including Ghost in the Shell, Bladerunner 2049 and Ready Player One. He has produced and creatively led experiential projects, including an interactive installation for the Barbican Centre’s sci-fi exhibition 'Into the Unknown' (The Martian: On Set in Mission Control), which toured Europe.

 

He has delivered talks at universities and industry events including the WIRED Next Generation event in 2017 which was dedicated to inspiring teenagers to become the next wave of technologists, entrepreneurs and innovators.

 

He is currently working for Manchester International Festival supporting the delivery of digital content for MIF21. 

The Royal Shakespeare Company

DREAM

Images by Paul Mumford (c) Dream, 2021/Marshmallow Laser Feast/Paul Mumford & Stuart Martin (c) RSC

The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), in collaboration with Manchester International Festival (MIF), Marshmallow Laser Feast (MLF) and Philharmonia Orchestra staged a live performance of Dream using motion capture as the culmination of a major piece of cutting-edge research and development (R&D). The pioneering collaboration explored how audiences could experience live performance in the future in addition to a regular visit to a performance venue. Dream was due to open in Spring 2020 as an in person and online live performance and was recreated during the pandemic for online audiences whilst theatres remain closed. The project was one of four Audience of the Future Demonstrator projects, supported by the government Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund which is delivered by UK Research and Innovation. 

Dream was inspired by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and gave a unique opportunity for audiences to directly influence the live performance from wherever they are in the world. Audiences experienced a new performance environment easily accessed on their mobile, desktop or tablet via the dream.online website. The performance used the latest gaming and theatre technology together with an interactive symphonic score that responds to the actors’ movement during the show.

“The live performance is set in a virtual midsummer forest. Under the shadow of gathering clouds at dusk, lit by the glimmer of fireflies, Puck acts as the guide. Audiences are invited to explore the forest from the canopy of the trees to the roots, meet the sprites, Cobweb, Mustardseed, Peaseblossom and Moth, and take an extraordinary journey into the eye of a cataclysmic storm. Together with Puck they must regrow the forest before the dawn.  When day breaks, the spell breaks.”

The 50-minute online event was a shared experience between remote audience members and the seven actors who play Puck and the sprites. Audiences could choose to buy a £10 ticket to take part and at key points in the play directly influence the world of the actors, or to view the performance for free. The ten Dream performances were scheduled so that audiences across the world could join the event. 

 

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