The network will investigate three related yet distinct fields of: contemporary theatre, artificial intelligence and ludic technologies. The main focus of the network will be interdisciplinary bringing together science, arts and humanities. It will investigate these fields by bringing together researchers, artists, technologists, designers and industry specialists.

Investigators/Directors: Dr Alan Chamberlain (University of Nottingham) and Dr Piotr Woycicki (Aberystwyth University)

Symposium III: Immersion and Embodied Experiences: AI, VR and Inclusive Futures

University of Nottingham, 13th and 14th of June 2022. This will be an in-person event, however, keynotes will be streamed online.

The symposium will explore how A.I., theatre and performance and ludic technologies impact our understanding of immersion and corporeal/embodied experiences in the postdigital age. There will be scope for further exploration of the impact of A.I. development on VR, AR and MR technologies which are opening up new modes of experience and engagement with virtual worlds.

Monday 13th of June

Session I: Keynotes

10:00 – 10:15 Introduction

10:15 – 10:45 Prof. Helen Kennedy 'I Live Here: Inclusive Technofutures & Virtual Storytelling' (University of Nottingham) 

10:45 – 11:15 Jessica Driscoll TBA (Digital Catapult)

11:15 – 11:30 Coffee

11:30 – 12:00 Prof. Paul Coulton 'Immersion is a mess' (Lancaster University)

12:00 – 12:30 Panel 


12:30 – 14:00 Lunch


Session II: Workshops 1 & 2 (In-Person)

14:00 – 17:00 Two Parallel Workshop Sessions. Click on the following link for details: Workshops

Workshop 1: The Sound of AI: Performance, Provenance and Privacy


Workshop 2: Robots and Theatre: Performing Autonomy


Tuesday 14th of June

Session III: Workshop 3 (In-Person)

10:00-13:00 - In-person workshop with Prof. Paul Coulton 'Crafting Immersion in Experiential futures'. Click on the following link for details: Workshops. Sign up for the workshop here:



The Mixed Reality Lab (1st Floor)

School of Computer Science

University of Nottingham

Jubilee Campus

Wollaton Road




Prof. Helen Kennedy

(University of Nottinham)


Helen Kennedy is Professor of Creative and Cultural Industries at the University of Nottingham. Her current research interests are feminist interventions into games culture and the creative industries more generally, immersive experience design, and cultural evaluation. She was Principal Investigator on an international project aimed at the transformation of games ( from 2015 - 2021. Since 2014, she has been researching experiential cinema as an aspect of the ludification of contemporary culture with Professor Sarah Atkinson at King's College London with whom I have co-authored a number of key, field establishing publications. She has led and am currently leading a number of funded projects in the area of immersive experiences - XR CircusSurround Stories and Live, Experiential and Digital Diversification.

Jessica Driscoll  (Digital Catapult)

An immersive technology specialist Jessica Driscoll is the Head of Immersive Technology at Digital Catapult. She has an MA in Digital Culture and Technology and experience of working with a variety of technologies from virtual reality, augmented reality and haptics in the creative and industrial sectors. She has implemented immersive training solutions in both educational and commercial institutions in particular NGO’s, Oil & Gas, Aviation, Pharmaceutical, Construction and Automotive industries. Her previous experience at BBC Research and Development gave her understanding and insight into audiences and testing new broadcast technologies at scale. With experience of each part of the immersive value chain from startups to international broadcaster, from business development to content production, this hands-on experience in immersive will help to shape the support offered for startups and scaleups in the immersive economy.

Prof Paul Coulton (Lancaster University)

Paul Coulton is Professor of Speculative and Game Design. His research can more generally considered as Speculative Design. Speculative Design combines real and/or hypothetical extrapolations of the development of emerging technologies with a consideration of the cultural landscape into which they may be deployed. This activity is embodied as ‘research through design’ and, in particular, to the design of speculative physical/digital interactive games, playful experiences, and artifacts. Some of his early research was conducted using a, 'situated' evaluation methodology in that he utilised 'app stores' and social networks as an experimental platforms. This element of his work led to international recognition by industry as well as academia in that he was selected as one of 50 most talented mobile developers worldwide from a community of over 2 million to be a founding Nokia Champion and the first academic invited to speak at the Game Developers Conference. Increasingly, his work relates to more-than-human futures using a particular practice of Speculative Design which is Design Fiction as a way of exploring futures for emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things, Machine Learning, Genetic modification etc. Design Fictions are collections of artifacts, that, when viewed together build a fictional world.