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Symposium I



Steve Benford is the Dunford Professor of Computer Science at the University of Nottingham where he co-founded the Mixed Reality Laboratory. He is Director of the EPSRC-funded Horizon Centre for Doctoral Training and also Director of the University's Smart Products beacon of research excellence. He was previously an EPSRC Dream Fellow, a Visiting Researcher at Microsoft Research Cambridge and a Visiting Professor at the BBC.

Prof. Steve Benford

(University of Nottingham)


Dr. Maria Kallionpää  (Hong Kong Baptist University)

Dr. Maria Kallionpää (1981) is an internationally active composer and pianist, currently working as an assistant professor at the Hong Kong Baptist University, and as a composer in residence of the Mixed Reality Laboratory of the Nottingham University. Her research as postdoctoral fellow (2016-2018) at the University of Aalborg focused on gamification as a composition technique (funded by Kone Foundation, Finland). Furthermore, as a winner of the Fabbrica Young Artist Development Program of Opera di Roma, Kallionpää was commissioned to compose an opera (fp: Teatro Nazionale, Rome, Oct 2017). In collaboration with her colleague Markku Klami, Kallionpää has composed the first full length puppet opera produced in the Nordic Countries (fp: March 2018). Kallionpää was a laureate of Académie de France à Rome in 2016. She got her PhD in composition at the university of Oxford in 2015 and has graduated from the Royal Academy of Music (2009) and Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Wien (2010). Kallionpää won the first prize of the OUPHIL composition competition in 2013.


Nick Tandavanitj (Blast Theory)

Nick Tandavanitj has worked with Blast Theory since 1994. In this time, Nick has focused on creative approaches to computing; contributing to the group’s unique mix of skills in structuring interactivity and narrative.  This has led to particular skills in 3D modelling, technical design & programming for interactive installations and web based artwork.


Nick studied Art & Social Context at Dartington College of Arts from 1990-1993; collaborating for 2 years with Alison Cannon on a number of videos and performances. Following college, Nick became a friend and hanger on of the artists at Jamaica Street Studios in Bristol, occasionally working for Oil Experts and Stoloff & Hopkinson™ as well as working with Bristol based artists Sophie Warren and Charlotte Crewe.


In 2003, Nick became an Arts and Humanities Research Council Research Fellow at the University of Nottingham undertaking a nine month programme of research into artistic, social and gaming applications which use mobile technology.


Nick also teaches as part of Blast Theory’s programme of masterclasses and workshops. This work incorporates introductions to a variety of tools for prototyping and to concepts & techniques for generating interactivity. Nick has also contributed to a number of academic papers with the Mixed Reality Lab.

Symposium II


Natasha Lushetich is Professor of Contemporary Art and Theory at the University of Dundee and AHRC Research Leadership Fellow (2020-21). Her research is interdisciplinary and focuses on intermedia; biopolitics and performativity; the status of sensory experience in cultural knowledge; hegemony; indeterminacy and complexity. She is the recipient of numerous fellowships such as Fulbright, Steim and ArtsLink. Her books include Fluxus: the Practice of Non-Duality (2014); Interdisciplinary Performance (2016); The Aesthetics of Necropolitics (2018), Beyond Mind, a special issue of Symbolism (2019), and Big Data: A New Medium? (2020).

Prof. Natasha Lushetich

(University of Dundee)


Prof. David de Roure  (Oxford University,  The Alan Turing Institute, PRiSM, Royal Northern College of Music)

David De Roure is Professor of e-Research in the Engineering Science Department at the University of Oxford, and a Turing Fellow at The Alan Turing Institute.

Throughout his career David has investigated emerging technologies in large scale distributed and sociotechnical systems, with a broad interest in society, technology and creativity, while also focusing on innovation in the process of scholarship. He has co-founded three interdisciplinary initiatives: the PETRAS National Centre of Excellence for IoT Systems Cybersecurity, which is the world’s largest socio-technical research centre focused on the future implementation of the Internet of Things; the Software Sustainability Institute, cultivating better and more sustainable software to enable world-class research; and PRiSM, The Centre for Practice & Research in Science & Music at the Royal Northern College of Music.

Ali-Hossaini-Portrait- Web_edited.jpg

Dr Ali Hossaini (National Gallery X and King's College London)

Dr Ali Hossaini works at the cutting edge of art, technology and science. His artwork Ouroboros was acclaimed by the New York Times, which calls him “a biochemist turned philosopher turned television producer turned visual poet.” He is a senior visiting research fellow in the Department of Engineering at King's College London, a trustee of the Young Vic theatre and co-director of National Gallery X. 

Symposium III


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 she has co-authored a number of key, field establishing publications. She has led and currently is 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 be 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 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. 

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