Day Two @ BEYOND 2020: Convergence – exploring new types of experiences

Day two at BEYOND took the theme of Convergence to look at the disruption that is already happening in the Creative Industries, the genres and disciplines converging to produce new types of experiences and the opportunities they present for audiences, creators, technologists and researchers.

Reflecting back on Tuesday’s programme, there were so many exciting insights and discoveries, with debate around the success, challenges and future of virtual production in a lively conversation with film director Hasraf Dulull and Jason Kingsley OBE, founder of Rebellion Games, including a screening of their short film Percival.

The day highlighted lots of new and innovative ways to engage with new experiences from home. The speed at which technologies have converged through lockdown has made things far more accessible, bringing new experiences into audience’s living rooms, at a speed no one expected. This is something that Annette Mees from Royal Opera House touched on in the Deep Dive: Current, Rising session, with Figment ProductionsSimon Reveley.

Ham The Illustrator gave attendees an energetic and compelling insight into the creative process and the story behind Munkination, his latest project with the Royal Opera House, blending hip-hop and opera, live performance and animation. He talked about how the project has helped to bridge the gap between young people and audiences not typically attracted to opera. Munkination: Second Chance is a great example of the increasing hybridisation and convergence taking place in the Creative Industries; using VR to create pop-up immersive installations that teleport small groups into a provocative adventure exploring climate change.

His session highlighted convergence and collaboration, and the impact that this has had on the creative industries, when researchers, creatives and investors all come together – a great reminder of how we can all use our own art and creative expression to understand how to work with others and shine a light on important issues, such as climate change.

The Future of Festivals panel revealed the level of detail, thought and planning that goes into events and how producers of large scale events have adapted to meet changing audience desires and motivations. Gabrielle Jenks explained how the rise of virtual tourism and in-game experiences has informed the journey they have developed for Manchester International Festival goers online, especially when it comes to building experiences and facilitating a co-presence between attendees so they can be visible to each other, not just a passive experience. Gabrielle was joined by Hugh Forrest (SXSW), Mair Morel (Boomtown Festival) and Nicola Osborne (University of Edinburgh).  

Continuing this theme, the Next Moves for Visitor Experiences panel explored how Covid19 has impacted the visitor experience economy with a look at new, exciting experiences using augmented and mixed reality. John Cassy (Factory 42), Caroline Scarles, (University of Surrey), Sam Smit, (Eden International) and Susan Cummings (Fictioneers) looked at how new technology is being used to extend the reach of the visitor, with different ways of engaging an audience and the use of immersive storytelling. The session highlighted how technology is breaking down geographical barriers and audiences are able to have new experiences wherever they are in the world.  

Delegates joined the talent behind the R&D projects in the Immersive Futures Lab and poster exhibition, for the Meet the Researchers and Makers sessions on the main stage, getting a chance to quiz them in more detail.

A key thread through the whole day was how much audiences still yearn for human interaction, now more than ever in the face of social restrictions this year. Delegates discussed how the creative technology and projects showcased at BEYOND have adapted and transformed to help enable, enhance and bring new elements to the art of storytelling.


The overview above doesn’t cover half of the jam-packed programme, but delegates can catch up on all the day two session videos (published as they are available) at, including:

Future of Festivals + Q&A

Exploring the future of festivals with Gabrielle Jenks (Manchester International Festival), Mair Morel (Boomtown Festival) Hugh Forrest (SXSW) and Nicola Osborne (University of Edinburgh).

Watch now

In Conversation: Percival with Q&A

Digital Catapult’s CEO Jeremy Silver asks Rebellion Games founder Jason Kingsley why he built a film studio, and talks with Jason Kingsley OBE and director HaZ Dulull about their work together.

Watch now

Virtual Production: Beyond the Mandalorian

A unique introduction to the potential of virtual production technology, exploring its strengths and cutting-edge applications from three distinct perspectives. With speakers Yassmine Najime, Finn Ross and Hasraf Dulull

Watch now

There’s still time to grab a ticket, to access the BEYOND on-demand videos and catch the rest of the live conference, running from 30 November – 3 December 2020. You can also follow all the action via #BEYONDConf on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.