The premiere gathering of immersive creators worldwide.
February 22-23, 2019 • San Francisco



The Immersive Design Summit returns in 2019!

In 2018, the Immersive Design Summit brought together some of the leading creators in the immersive arts to share thoughts and ideas, creating new friendships and inspiring new projects. (See our 2018 programming here)

Applications for the 2019 Summit are now closed. Invitations will be sent in late December.

Our home for the next Immersive Design Summit will be the lovely Swedish American Music Hall in San Francisco, CA. We’ll be taking over the entire venue with two full days of content on February 22-23, 2019. We can’t wait to meet you there!


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The Speakers


Fri Forjindam

Senior Creative Director, Chief Development Officer, and Cofounder, Mycotoo

As a Cameroonian-born, New Orleans-schooled, MFA graduate of Columbia University, Fri has worked in film, theatre, publishing, live events and experience design. She now leads business development for the entertainment firm Mycotoo, whose immersive events include the wildly successful Blade Runner 2049 Experience at the 2017 Comic-Con in San Diego and HBO's SXSWestworld. Fri also leads creative direction for Bollywood Parks Dubai and other theme parks around the world.


Sean Stewart

Creative Director and Design Director, Magic Leap

Sean Stewart is one of the world’s most influential digital storytellers and the co-creator of the genre of Alternate Reality Games. Sean served as the lead writer on the seminal ARGs I Love Bees, and Nine Inch Nail's Year Zero. Sean has written twelve novels, along with the world’s first transmedia novel, the international best-seller Cathy’s Book. He won a Primetime Emmy Award for the transmedia comedy Dirty Work, and designed and wrote the interactive story game Sherlock Holmes: The Art of Detection. Sean previously served as the Creative Director of Xbox Studios, and founded four companies devoted to new kinds of storytelling.


Ida C. Benedetto

Author, Patterns of Transformation

Ida C. Benedetto is an experience designer who sparks new insight through adventure and play. Major projects include the Night Heron Speakeasy and Starbuck’s National Anti-Bias Training. She has researched the design of transformative social experiences by comparing sex parties, funerals, and wilderness trips. Her work has been featured in Businessweek, The New York Times, Fast Company, NPR, and The New Yorker. She is currently a senior designer at SYPartners in New York City.


Asa Kalama

Executive Creative Director, Walt Disney Imagineering

With over a decade of experience at Walt Disney Imagineering, Asa Kalama now oversees the development of interactive experiences and one of the signature attractions for the recently announced Star Wars Land. With a mandate to develop new tools, technologies and techniques, he had the unique opportunity to contribute his talents to the Park and Resorts, Consumer Products, Interactive and Media Networks business segments. Asa also oversaw Advanced Development’s Narrative Experience Portfolio that focused on interactive storytelling and role-play.


Scott Trowbridge

Portfolio Creative Executive, Walt Disney Imagineering

Scott Trowbridge is a global creative leader overseeing the strategic concept development and integration of the Star Wars franchise. He focuses on integration of Star Wars content across all lines of business at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, including merchandise, food & beverage, marketing, and operations. Scott previously led Walt Disney Imagineering Research & Development in finding opportunities to combine various media and technologies in order to tell new stories and create innovative entertainment experiences.


Mikhael Tara Garver

Founder, 13Exp

Mikhael Tara Garver has been a leader in immersive and experiential storytelling for the past 18 years. She has created work for brands, agencies, non-profits, and individuals that have taken audiences through underground tunnels, disused spaces, rock clubs, marches, shopping centers, and more. Mikhael was a director on Sleep No More at American Repertory Theater, created The Experiment for the Institute of Contemporary Art, and was Managing Artistic Director of New York City’s Woodshed Collective (KPOP, Empire Travel Agency).


Johanna Koljonen

CEO, Participation Design Agency

Johanna Koljonen is a writer, broadcaster, and participation designer consulting on experience design with museums, the public sector, and media companies. She is an authority on designing for safety and trust in participation, and lectures on analog experience design, Nordic Larp, and changes in the media landscape. She co-founded the Alibis for Interaction Master Class and the Nordic Larp Talks and is the editor of the Nostradamus Project. In 2011, she received the Swedish Grand Journalism Award in the Innovator of the Year category.


Tanya Leal Soto

Producer, Tender Claws

Using her filmmaking background, Tanya dove into 360 storytelling through directing and producing 360 video content. In 2018, Etienne, a sci-fi 360 short she directed was part of NEXT the innovation hub at the Marché du Film de Cannes. In 2017, she co-wrote a 10 episode series for Mexico's Televisa Foundation called Technolochicas, with the goal of raising awareness among young Latinas and their families about opportunities and careers in technology. Tanya is also a professional puppeteer and in 2018 she directed a large scale fire puppet show.


Samantha Gorman

Co-Director, Tender Claws

Samantha Gorman specializes in writing for interactive media across genres including expanded cinema, games, and virtual reality. Virtual, Virtual Reality draws from her seven years of experience in developing Virtual Reality at Brown University’s CAVE VR studio. In addition to running Tender Claws, Samantha is a Ph.D. research fellow in Media Arts and Practice at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts.


Jenni Magee-Cook

Head of Production, Dreamscape Immersive

Jenni Magee-Cook is an Emmy-winning producer in animated and live-action film. As Head of Production at Dreamscape Immersive, Jenni produced their debut free-roaming VR experience Alien Zoo. She is continuing to work several upcoming productions in Dreamscape's 2018 slate.


Jae Lee

Co-Founder, Wildrence

Jae Hee Lee is the co-founder of Wildrence, a design studio that creates seamless interactive experiences through the combination of technology and touchable environments. In 2014, she also co-founded Public Matter; her work has been showcased and featured at the TED conference in Vancouver, New York Festival of Lights, Redbull, the Centre for Social Innovation. Jae is interested in how design can be used as a tool to impact the relationship between humans and space across multiple levels of scale, from the smallest detail to the whole picture. Using her successful experience as an interactive designer and background in architecture, she creates immersive worlds that inspire imagination and creative play.


Yvonne Chang

Co-Founder, Wildrence

Yvonne Chang is the co-founder of Wildrence, a design studio that creates seamless interactive experiences through the combination of technology and touchable environments. In 2014, she also co-founded Public Matter; her work has been showcased and featured at the TED conference in Vancouver, New York Festival of Lights, Redbull, the Centre for Social Innovation. Yvonne believes in awakening human interaction within a designed environment by leveraging the power of storytelling, sensory engagement, and a sense of adventure. By combining her professional training in architecture and an expert eye for tactile details, Yvonne is able to design and create these intimate and sensory driven experiences.


Stephanie Riggs

Experiential Creative Director, Refinery29

A former Disney Imagineer, Stephanie has been creating groundbreaking immersive projects for two decades. Her immersive work has been featured at Future of Storytelling, Tribeca Film Festival, and JauntVR. Stephanie has spoken on immersive topics at SIGGRAPH, IEEE, and the World Immersion Forum. She has collaborated with GoogleVR, Facebook/Oculus, NYU Future Realities Lab, led Yale’s Blended Reality research group and wrote the upcoming book The Storyplex: Immersive Narratives in the Age of Storytelling.


Haley E.R. Cooper

Co-Artistic Director, Strange Bird Immersive

Haley is co-artistic director of Strange Bird Immersive, a Houston-based immersive theatre company devoted to delivering truth inside imaginary experiences. She co-created and performs in The Man From Beyond: Houdini Séance Escape Room, uniting an escape room with theatre. Haley is the also author of Immersology, a blog dedicated to the theory and practice of immersive theatre.


J. Cameron Cooper

Co-Artistic Director, Strange Bird Immersive

J. Cameron is the co-artistic director of Strange Bird Immersive, and created and built much of The Man From Beyond, from scenic design to interactive furniture to image recognition to the interactive synchronized light, sound, and video systems. He wrote the dialogue in the script as well as most of the 10,000 lines of computer code that run The Man From Beyond, and is a regular member of the cast.


Darren Lynn Bousman

Director, The Tension Experience

Darren Lynn Bousman began his career directing commercials and music videos and rose to fame as the director of Saw II, Saw III, and Saw IV. After the Saw films, Darren went on to direct and produce Repo! The Genetic Opera, touring the film around North America in the vein of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. In 2016, Darren, alongside long-time collaborator Clint Sears, opened the immersive project The Tension Experience which lasted almost ten months and featured a multi-platform fractured narrative.


Clint Sears

Writer, The Tension Experience

Clint Sears is the co-creator of The Tension Experience and responsible for the thousand plus pages behind the year long alternate reality game and three hour live immersive experience. Clint has a marketing and advertising background, but fell into his current writing career after he sold a concept for six figures in a development deal. Clint has also written for several features including the most recent, St. Agatha, which is currently receiving rave reviews on the festival circuit.


Gordon Bijelonic

Producer, The Tension Experience

Gordon Bijelonic is the producer behind The Tension Experience. He co-produced his first film in 1997, Strays, co-starring, written, and directed by a young Vin Diesel. Bijelonic continued to nurture this relationship, working for Diesel's production company as a senior executive for 10 years, producing works such as Fast and the Furious, XXX, A Man Apart, and The Chronicles of Riddick. Gordon has produced over 40 films, and has been responsible for playing a key role in the collective structured financing of over 100 million production dollars.


Gemma Brockis

Cofounder, Shunt

Gemma is a British artist whose work has been at the forefront of immersive practice since 2000. She is a founder member of Shunt with whom she created shows for the National Theatre (including cult-hit Tropicana) and ran the iconic Shunt Lounge club. Her most recent large-scale production was Kingdom Come for the Royal Shakespeare Company. Smaller scale works made with Silvia Mercuriali, superimposing fictions onto real landscapes, have toured internationally.


Marc Simons

Cofounder, Giant Spoon

Marc is a co-founder of the full-service agency Giant Spoon. This year, Giant Spoon became one of the first agencies to take home gold at the Cannes Lions show for the success of HBO’s Westworld experiential activation at SXSW. Marc created the framework for the agency’s approach to large-scale brand experiences that are setting new standards across the industry.


David Wally

Chief Creative Officer, Mycotoo

David has worked for over 30 years as a producer, director, writer and executive, including films as Scent of a Woman and Meet Joe Black; he has also written, produced and directed several plays. David was one of the original Creative Directors of Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi and was the Lead Creative Director for Bollywood Parks. David has directed the live haunt event Dark Harbor, and has written and directed major live marketing activations including Blade Runner 2049, Happytime Murders and Westworld.


Ethan Stearns

Executive Producer, MWM Immersive

Ethan Stearns serves as the Executive Producer at MWM Immersive (formerly Reality One). Prior to joining MWM in 2017, Stearns served as the VP of Virtual Reality at Legendary Entertainment. In 2016, Ethan began work with acclaimed director Alejandro G. Iñárritu and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki to produce the first ever Academy Award-winning VR project, Carne y Arena. The project debuted to wide praise at the Cannes Film Festival in 2017 as the festival’s first ever VR official selection. Previously, Ethan partnered with Google producing 360° video projects (including Warcraft: Skies of Azeroth) to support the launch of their second-generation Google Cardboard. And 2014, Ethan produced Legendary’s first cutting edge VR experience around the property Pacific Rim.


David Israel Reynoso

Creator/Director, Waking La Llorona

Costume Designer, Sleep No More

David Israel Reynoso is a costume, scenic and exhibit designer. He is the Obie Award-winning costume designer for Punchdrunk’s Sleep No More (Boston, New York City, and Shanghai) and the creator/director of Optika Moderna’s Waking La Llorona, a multisensory immersive theatre experience inspired by one of Mexico's most legendary tales. Mr. Reynoso is recognized for his wide-ranging designs for theater and dance companies; his scope of work beyond theatre includes touring concert designs for artists such as Amanda Palmer. David is the recipient of the Creative Catalyst Grant, an Elliot Norton Award, and multiple Craig Noel, IRNE, and BroadwayWorld award nominations.


Winston Fisher

Chief Executive Officer, AREA15

Partner, Fisher Brothers

A self-proclaimed “comic geek”, Winston Fisher is a partner at Fisher Brothers, a leading family-owned-and-operated real estate company headquartered in New York City. At the firm he directs financing and investing activities, property acquisitions and dispositions, and oversees all new development initiatives. Fisher is also CEO of AREA15, a wholly reimagined immersive entertainment and retail complex opening in Las Vegas in late 2019. Fisher grew up with a love for real estate that was fostered by countless conversations around the dining room table. While this laid the groundwork for an extensive resume in traditional real estate, he truly has a knack for developing one-of-a-kind projects. The inclination to push the envelope, makes him the perfect developer for a project like AREA15. In addition to real estate, he enjoys competing in extreme endurance races to raise funds to support wounded troops and serves as a board member for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.


Jenny Weinbloom

Executive Producer, Meow Wolf

Jenny Weinbloom is a bicoastal experience designer and creative producer currently based in Santa Fe. Her experience in location-based entertainment and transmedia storytelling ranges from immersive theatre and themed entertainment to experiential marketing, alternate reality games, attractions and special events, both independently and as a part of diverse production teams including VICE Media, Baz Luhrmann's Bazmark, Variety Worldwide, Rethink Leisure & Entertainment, The Speakeasy Society, Optika Moderna's Waking La Llorona, Punchdrunk's Sleep No More, and Meow Wolf—where she currently serves as Executive Producer.


Carri Twigg

Cultural/Campaign Strategist

Carri Twigg is a cultural/campaign strategist who consults for youth oriented media companies; Carri helps clients shape distinct and authentic political worldviews that will encourage their audiences to be more engaged in the world around them. She served as Special Assistant to President Obama during his administration and Director of Public Engagement for Vice President Biden. Additionally, Carri served as a White House liaison to the creative community and worked with VH1 to reprise its iconic “Behind The” franchise, writing and hosting a series looking at issues impacting the 2016 Presidential election titled #BehindTheVote.


Shawn Taylor

Co-Founder, Nerds of Color
Co-Founder, Black Comix Arts Festival

Shawn Taylor is a writer, university lecturer, and scholar of Afrofuturism and the ethno-speculative, geek/pop culture, mythology and folklore. He strives to engage in critical pop cartography. This has taken the form of his hosting art installations exploring ideas of media representation, to being a founding author of www.thenerdsofcolor.org. He is also one of the founders of the Black Comix Arts Festival, a festival that highlights and promotes artists on the margins of the mainstream comic book industry. Recently, he has been acting as a creative consultant to several media companies.


Tracy Sturdivant

The League

Tracy Sturdivant is a long-time social justice organizer and innovator who works at the intersection of strategy and creativity. In 2014, Tracy co-founded and co-led Make It Work, a three-year campaign to move issues like affordable child care and paid family leave out of our private lives and into America’s national conversation around the 2016 election. Tracy has been called a “one-woman coalition” for her ability to bring people together to make big ideas happen. As executive director of State Voices, she raised millions of dollars to support state and local organizations engaging Americans in our democracy and pioneered a model that got cutting-edge data and technology into the hands of grassroots organizers. Her experience—from on the-ground organizing, to training women to run for elected office, to working in philanthropy—has all focused on one goal: making America a place where women, people of color, and young people can thrive.


Aisha Shillingford

Innovation & Design Lead, Wakanda Dream Lab/Intelligent Mischief

Originally from Trinidad and Tobago, Aisha Shillingford is an artist, trainer, facilitator and social change strategist who has been living in Boston since 1998. With over 15 years of community organizing and program development experience in Boston, Aisha dreams of a day when we all are living the truth that community is the answer to every problem and when we are truly prefiguring the community we wish to see in our everyday practices as change makers. Aisha received her BA in Environmental Analysis and Policy in 2002 from Boston University, an MSW in Macro Practice with a focus on Children, Youth, and Families in 2009 from Boston College, and an MBA in Social Entrepreneurship in 2014 from Simmons College. She is obsessed with the role of mestizaje and creolization in fostering cultural shift and is trying to get free.


Geoffrey Jackson Scott

Co-Founder/Creative Director, Peoplmovr

Geoffrey Jackson Scott is Co-Founder and Creative Director of Peoplmovr, a creative studio specializing in engagement that partners with artists, organizations, and communities to develop and deliver socially-engaged, people-centered projects designed to bring people closer. Peoplmovr recently completed work on The Mile-Long Opera, a citywide public engagement project, that brought together 1,000 singers for free performances on the High Line in New York City. From 2014—2018, Geoffrey served as Consulting Director, Engagement at Museum of the Moving Image (MoMI). Prior to that, he was the Director of New Play Development and Community Engagement at Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago. Prior to Chicago, Geoffrey spent eight seasons as the Literary Associate at New York Theatre Workshop (NYTW).


Celia Pearce

Associate Professor of Game Design, Northeastern University

Celia Pearce is an award-winning game designer, artist, curator, author, teacher, and serial instigator. She is an Associate Professor at Northeastern University, and is co-founder and Festival Chair of IndieCade. Her games have been featured at Come Out & Play, Different Games, Incubate, Smithsonian Indie Arcade, and BostonFIG. Her publications include Communities of Play (MIT) and Meet Me at the Fair: A World’s Fair Reader (ETC/CMU Press), and IndieCade @ 10 (In Progress, ETC/CMU Press). Prior to joining academia, she worked as an experience designer for museums and theme parks. Her current research and creative practice is focused on the intersection between game design, live action role-playing and theatre.


Terry Marshall

Founder/Strategy Architect, Wakanda Dream Lab/Intelligent Mischief

Terry has been involved in social justice movements for over 20 years and founded Intelligent Mischief in 2013. Terry's work has spanned a range of intersecting creative and social justice endeavors including cultural organizing, creative production, curation, writing, cultural research, dance, event production, design, and political strategy. Prior to Intelligent Mischief he founded Streets is Watching and the Hip Hop Media Lab. He is an affiliate trainer and consultant for the Center for Story-based Strategy (CSS), a Beautiful Trouble trainer, co-founder of The BlackOut Collective, and sits on the board for Center for Artistic Activism.


Daniel Alejandro Leon-Davis

Co-Founder/Senior Creative Director, The Soze Agency

Alongside his team at the Soze Agency, Daniel has co-led notable campaigns including Immigrant Heritage Month, Sons and Brothers and #IAmAnImmigrant. A Venezuelan native, Daniel continues to use his experiences as a gay, formerly undocumented Latino as fuel to amplify the narratives of the underserved communities he’s a part of. Influenced by his artistic roots and his love for fashion, Daniel most recently creatively directed Change Fashion, a 4-day pop up experience exploring the intersections of fashion, sustainability, and its impact on Mother Earth.


Ivan Askwith

Founder/CEO, Askwith&Co

One of Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People in Business,” Ivan has been described by Wired as “the secret weapon” behind the record-breaking crowdfunding campaigns for Veronica Mars, Reading Rainbow, Super Troopers 2 and Mystery Science Theater 3000. Previously, Ivan led the Digital Media division of Lucasfilm, providing creative and strategic oversight for initiatives supporting Star Wars. Before that, he spent several years as the first Director of Strategy at Big Spaceship, an award-winning digital agency in Brooklyn, NY. He was also a founding member of MIT's Convergence Culture Consortium (C3), where he worked with Dr. Henry Jenkins.


Luis Castro

Producer and Consultant, Creative Talent & Inclusion

Luis Castro is a producer and strategist whose mission is to fuse storytelling and social impact. Luis works with storytellers to develop and produce scripted projects for multiple platforms. He advises media companies, studios, and nonprofits on creative talent development, inclusion, and social impact strategy. Luis is the former Acting Commissioner of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Media & Entertainment. He was a creative executive at HBO in Los Angeles. Prior to that, Luis led corporate giving as Executive Director of Philanthropic Initiatives at Time Warner. He began his career as a legislative aide to US Senator Paul Simon.


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The 2019 Workshop Leaders


Abraham Burickson

Co-Founder/Artistic Director, Odyssey Works

Abraham Burickson is the co-founder and Artistic Director of Odyssey Works, an interdisciplinary performance group that makes bespoke performances for one-person audiences. For more than a decade, Abraham has continually sought to push the boundaries of interdisciplinarity and participatory art in an attempt to develop an artistic process that is as rigorous in its craft as it is devoted to the continual re-evaluation of traditional form. His book, co-written with Ayden LeRoux, Odyssey Works: Transformative Experiences for an Audience of One, was published by Princeton Architectural Press in 2016.


Doug North Cook

Assistant Professor in Immersive Media, Chatham University

Doug North Cook is the professor behind the Bachelor of Arts in Immersive Media program at Chatham University in Pittsburgh where he teaches and conducts research. He also runs the Immersive Design Residency at the Fallingwater Institute, develops immersive narrative experiences and games with a small team at Decoder, and writes about architectural theory as it relates to immersive design. Doug's work combines his passion for immersive technology with his obsession with architecture, design thinking and theory, and storytelling.


Tommy Honton

Creator, Stash House/Museum of Selfies

Tommy Honton is a Los Angeles-based experience designer who specializes in weaving interactivity and game mechanics into narrative storytelling. Across the United States, he has produced interactive and immersive work for audiences of all sizes, ranging from 1 to 80,000. He is also co-creator and designer of the critically-acclaimed escape room Stash House and co-founder of the interactive exhibition Museum of Selfies.


Ayden LeRoux

Assistant Director, Odyssey Works

Ayden LeRoux is the Assistant Director of Odyssey Works, an interdisciplinary performance group that makes bespoke performances for one-person audiences. Her practice as an artist and writer spans installation, sculpture, video, photography, performance, poetry and essay in order to explore intimacy. She is the author of Isolation and Amazement and Odyssey Works: Transformative Experiences for an Audience of One, which was co-authored with Abraham Burickson and published by Princeton Architectural Press in 2016.


Terry Marshall

Founder/Strategy Architect, Wakanda Dream Lab/Intelligent Mischief

Terry has been involved in social justice movements for over 20 years and founded Intelligent Mischief in 2013. Terry's work has spanned a range of intersecting creative and social justice endeavors including cultural organizing, creative production, curation, writing, cultural research, dance, event production, design, and political strategy. Prior to Intelligent Mischief he founded Streets is Watching and the Hip Hop Media Lab. He is an affiliate trainer and consultant for the Center for Story-based Strategy (CSS), a Beautiful Trouble trainer, co-founder of The BlackOut Collective, and sits on the board for Center for Artistic Activism.


Tara O'Con

Experiential Artist, Third Rail Projects

Tara O’Con is an experiential artist, designer, and Certified Professional Coach specializing in immersive theatre, user experience, and coaching for transformation. She is a long-time collaborative member of Third Rail Projects, hailed as one of the foremost companies creating site-specific, immersive and experiential dance and theatre. She originated roles in the long-running immersive hits Then She Fell and The Grand Paradise, and was part of the creative cast for their Off-Broadway production of Ghost Light. As a teaching artist for the company and independently, she specializes in bringing interactive performance skills into many different applications from performance, to brand activation, and interactive installations.


Juliana Patel

Co-Founder, Wild Optimists

Juliana Patel is the co-creator of Kickstarter sensation Escape Room In A Box: The Werewolf Experiment, now licensed to Mattel and winner of Game of the Year at the Mattel Inventor Awards. Juliana and her design partner, Ariel Rubin, have combined their theater and writing backgrounds and lifelong obsession with games to become: The Wild Optimists. Together, they create the next generation of playful experiences as they gamify live events and design escape rooms and tabletop games.


Fiona Rene

Director/Actor

After fully curating her first live immersive experience in 2008, Fiona Rene has continued to create immersive and interactive experiences worldwide. In 2016, Fiona finally moved to LA from London, where continues her work as an actor in all mediums. You may find Fiona teaching her "Method for Being: Acting in Immersive Entertainment" class around LA and at the TECHNICOLOR experience center. Most recent works include; ABC’s Talent Showcase, Sarah Bernhardt in The Invisible Hours for PSVR, Celeste in CW's Jane the Virgin, and Herself in Get it Girl.


Ariel Rubin

Co-Founder, Wild Optimists

Ariel Rubin is the co-creator of Kickstarter sensation Escape Room In A Box: The Werewolf Experiment, now licensed to Mattel and winner of Game of the Year at the Mattel Inventor Awards. Ariel and her design partner, Juliana Patel, have combined their theater and writing backgrounds and lifelong obsession with games to become: The Wild Optimists. Together, they create the next generation of playful experiences as they gamify live events and design escape rooms and tabletop games.


Aisha Shillingford

Innovation & Design Lead, Wakanda Dream Lab/Intelligent Mischief

Originally from Trinidad and Tobago, Aisha Shillingford is an artist, trainer, facilitator and social change strategist who has been living in Boston since 1998. With over 15 years of community organizing and program development experience in Boston, Aisha dreams of a day when we all are living the truth that community is the answer to every problem and when we are truly prefiguring the community we wish to see in our everyday practices as change makers. Aisha received her BA in Environmental Analysis and Policy in 2002 from Boston University, an MSW in Macro Practice with a focus on Children, Youth, and Families in 2009 from Boston College, and an MBA in Social Entrepreneurship in 2014 from Simmons College. She is obsessed with the role of mestizaje and creolization in fostering cultural shift and is trying to get free.


Negin Singh

Executive Director, Santa Monica Pier

Negin Singh is the Executive Director of the Santa Monica Pier, where she leads the team in pier programming, activations, installations, leasing and more. In addition to festival programming, Negin has brought in creatives and immersive producers such as Think Tank Gallery, Myriad Slits, The Guest and the Host, Interwoven Immersive, and many more to create one of a kind work on the Pier. She is also the founder and former CEO of cARTel: Collaborative Arts LA, an experiential production company creating immersive experiences (BROKE LA, No Budget Film Festival) that focus on storytelling, discovery, and impact. Negin previously served as the Director of Inspiration at Augmented Reality company DAQRI, bringing new technology to life through cutting edge experiences.


Amanda Rose Villarreal

Devaney Fellow, University of Colorado, Boulder

Amanda Rose Villarreal is a teaching artist, facilitator, director, and activist. A second year PhD student, Amanda Rose is also a Thomas Edwin Devaney Graduate Fellow and scholarship recipient through the Center for Humanities & the Arts. She currently merges performance with professional development; she uses applied theatre and improvisation to train police officers, lawyers, and counselors to use effective communication and de-escalation techniques during crisis intervention and conflict management. Her own research focuses on inventive applications of theatre in higher education and professional training.

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The 2019 Programming Board


Vince Kadlubek

CEO, Meow Wolf

Vince Kadlubek believes we are living in a crisis of imagination, but he has plans to change that—starting with Meow Wolf, an immersive art experience that has become New Mexico’s #1 tourist attraction. After leading Meow Wolf to win the inaugural startup competition from Creative Startups, Kadlubek created the business plan for Meow Wolf’s House of Eternal Return experience and led the team toward its completion. He has continued being the force of vision for the company, thinking about radical ways to subvert current business paradigms while building integral systems that have been tried and true. He is most interested in co-creating alternative realities and bringing unique, indescribable, transformative immersive art experiences to the world.


Sara Thacher

Creative Lead, Walt Disney Imagineering Research & Development

Sara Thacher is a Creative Lead at Walt Disney Imagineering Research & Development in Glendale, California, where her particular interest is in designing for participation. Before joining WDI, Sara worked as an independent experience designer and culture engineer managing interactive, transmedia projects with a focus on storytelling, public space, and urban exploration. She was Lead Producer and Experience Designer for the alternate reality game The Jejune Institute.


Diana Williams

Executive Vice President of Creative, MWM Universe

Diana Williams is the Executive Vice President of Creative at MWM Universe, the IP-focused division of MWM (Madison Wells Media). In her role, Williams oversees all creative aspects of MWM Universe. Prior to joining MWM Universe, she served as a Creative Development Executive and a Producer of Franchise Synergy within the Lucasfilm Story Group. While at Lucasfilm, Williams helped launch ILMxLAB, an immersive entertainment and mixed reality laboratory, whose projects include Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Academy Award© winning experience Carne y Arena, Star Wars: Droid Repair Bay, and the Void’s Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire.


Yelena Rachitsky

Executive Producer of Experieces, Oculus

Yelena Rachitsky is an Executive Producer at Oculus, pushing forward the efforts on creative outreach initiatives as well as sourcing and producing for the Experiences category on the Oculus platform. Prior to Oculus, she was the Creative Producer of the annual Future of StoryTelling (FoST) summit which brings together top executives, marketers, creatives, and technologists with the vision and influence to change how people communicate and tell stories in the digital age. Rachitsky is a consultant for the Sundance Film Festival’s New Frontier program, and helped to curate the exhibition and conversations around the future of the moving image at the festival. She also spent four years in the documentary division at Participant Media, working on films like Food Inc and Waiting for Superman.


Mikhael Tara Garver

Founder, 13Exp

Mikhael Tara Garver has been a leader in immersive and experiential storytelling for the past 18 years. She has created work for brands, agencies, non-profits, and individuals that have taken audiences through underground tunnels, disused spaces, rock clubs, marches, shopping centers, and more. Mikhael was a director on Sleep No More at American Repertory Theater, created The Experiment for the Institute of Contemporary Art, and was Managing Artistic Director of New York City’s Woodshed Collective (KPOP, Empire Travel Agency).

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The Producers

The Immersive Design Summit is a co-production of Adventure Design Group, Epic Immersive, and No Proscenium, three leading voices in California’s burgeoning immersive community.


The Adventure Design Group

Uniting the Bay's Experience Designers

The Adventure Design Group is the San Francisco Bay Area’s foremost knowledge-sharing community for immersive designers. For over six years, ADG has brought together the leading creators of immersive theater, VR/AR, locative media, and mixed-reality experiences to share their knowledge, stories and lessons learned. ADG is dedicated to advancing the quality, quantity and success of works in all these genres through community-building and knowledge-sharing.


Epic Immersive

Large-Scale Experience Designers

Epic Immersive designs large-scale immersive theatrical and mixed reality experiences where story, spectacle, and interaction deliver transcendent, awe-inspiring journeys.

Epic's experiences have featured over 100 actors across a fictional city, journeys through secret underground wonderlands accessed via slide, quests across San Francisco Bay, a recreated internment camp dance event developed with musicians from the Japanese-American internment camps, and commissions by Google and Apple.


No Proscenium

The Home of Everything Immersive

Starting as a newsletter in 2014, No Proscenium has grown into the most trusted resource amongst immersive theatre connoisseurs and creators in the United States. Headed up by Noah Nelson, a public media producer with two decades of reporting experience, No Proscenium has become the guide to everything immersive: from pop-up theatrical performances to cinematic virtual reality.