The Vision for the Immersive Experience Network

The Vision for the Immersive Experience Network

The Vision for the Immersive Experience Network

As we work towards our crowd funder to underwrite the first six months of Immersive Experience Network activity in 2023, we thought we should go into a bit more detail about how we got here and the vision for what we’re trying to create. 

The Immersive Experience Network was born out of COVID which devastated so much of the creative industry, the founding team came together around the shared desire to try and build on the foundations of immersive community pioneers like The Gunpowder Plot and The Immersive Design Summit, to try and build a community to support creators develop better practice and new work in this rapidly developing creative sector.

In the UK, whilst some individual companies have managed to build impressive audiences for their work, we believe that the future strength and growth of the sector is intrinsically linked to how we can grow the overall audience, and grow the quantity, quality and diversity of immersive creators.

Our belief is that by finding ways to collaborate, share knowledge and work together that the overall sector would become stronger and start to gain the recognition that it deserves. 

It was with this vision that we held our inaugural Immersive Creators Summit in May 2022 where 150 Immersive Creators from across the spectrum of immersive genres, academia, arts and commercial experiences came together to discuss ideas about the future of immersive experiences. We learnt a lot, not least about how wide ranging the aspirations and ambitions of the immersive creator community are. We had individuals and companies creating work from the breath of Arts Council funded experimentation through to multinational global IP Led projects. 

What was massively encouraging was the spirit in which everyone approached the day, it felt incredibly open and collaborative with creators and producers willing to share their experiences and expertise to help and encourage others. Whilst there were many companies in the room who could be technically viewed as ‘competitors’, it felt that everyone brought into the ethos that helping to build up up the wider community would only enhance the talent pool they had to potentially work with and would help bring new audiences to their work.

There was also transparency about the mistakes that people had made getting to where they are now. Creators shared about their experiences with venues that were horrible, overspends on projects due to lack of understanding about costs and mistakes that had been made with staff welfare on emerging shows. We believe that the Immersive Experience Network should facilitate helping people learn from other people’s mistakes to avoid them being made again. This feels to be at the heart of what it means to be a collaborative, supportive community

Following the summit, we’ve spent the last 6 months trying to raise the seed funding required to underwrite the development of the Immersive Experience Network community. Our vision is that this is not a philanthropic exercise but a self-sustaining community that is funded through a mixture of membership revenue and funding for specific cultural or commercial projects. We eventually want to turn into a CIC and we have developed a robust business model to support that, but like any start up you need to demonstrate the viability of your offering before organisations will invest to underwrite it, which is how we’ve ended up here. 

We’re asking the community to support the development of the Immersive Experience Network to help build a platform that will support the development and growth of the entire immersive and interactive experience sector. 

Our mission is to support the development and growth of the Immersive and Interactive Entertainment Sector in the UK and beyond. We want to do that by building and supporting a collaborative community through the monthly Immersive Creator Huddle events, and creating pathways for new creators from a diverse range of backgrounds to learn about creating work through our free to access educational content. 

We want to support the commercial sustainability of new experiences by providing solid commercial data on the size and growth of the sector, along with detailed audience profile data to assist creators marketing their work. We also want to work closely with our partners in academia to grow the educational pathways into creating Immersive work. 

We want to work collaboratively with other organisations who already are supporting genres within the network, and build strong relationships with institutions and standards setting bodies to help inform the development of better industry guidelines to raise standards and share best practices.

Lastly we want to create opportunities for our members ranging from finding new opportunities for collaborators to growing everyone’s audiences. We will provide resources and work with our press and PR partners to help educate audiences about what ‘Immersive’ actually means and which help them seek out the kinds of experience they’d enjoy. 

Our moonshot ambition is to coordinate an annual Immersive festival – eventually across the whole UK – that offers an opportunity for the sector to come together and collaboratively grow their audience share by introducing new audiences to the work. 

We believe this is a unique proposition, a disparate range of creators working together to prove the value of the sector to the cultural economy, and open up new opportunities together.  We hope you’ll be a part of it….

Date of article - October 19, 2022
Updated - March 30, 2024

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