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September 6-7, 2018
Detroit Institute of Arts
5200 Woodward Avenue
Detroit, MI 48202
Registration price: $150 for both days.
Some have said that it’s possible to travel the world in an afternoon without ever leaving the galleries of your favorite museum. Certainly, many of us have experienced losing ourselves amidst fantastic objects and stories that transport us to other places and times.
With the maturation of digital technologies like augmented and virtual reality (AR, VR), museums are on the cusp of creating increasingly compelling virtual experiences that extend the reach and possibilities of what a museum might become. These virtual experiences can refresh and personalize the museum space, as well as extending museums’ reach beyond their physical walls to reach and engage new audiences. A new class of “born digital” AR and VR art challenges museum staff to develop new practices for collection, preservation and rights management.
At the same time, our visitors are increasingly concerned about the dangers of privileging digitally mediated experiences over “real time” spent with friends and family. We observe that the social experience of museum-going is frequently cited as among the top motivations for visiting at all. We know that museum visitors value the authenticity of the “real thing” and despite the influences of a visually-laden social media culture, the interest and dedication of audiences to hyper-local, artisanal, and delicately nuanced physical experiences hints at a desire for the real over the virtual.
Witness the contemporaneous popularity of physically constructed immersive experiences like Meow Wolf in Santa Fe, the City Museum in St. Louis, and exhibitions like Wonder at the Renwick Gallery. What are the potential futures of digital and physical immersion in museums and how can we begin to think strategically about the nuances that define the boundary between the physical and the virtual? How can museums create compelling experiences for visitors that effectively engage them with the subject, while creating compelling and memorable experiences that can be shared with friends and family?
Join us for ‘Immersion in Museums: VR, AR or Just Plain R?’ at the Detroit Institute of Arts on September 6-7, 2018 for an exclusive convening with senior thinkers from inside and outside of the museum field to explore these questions and many others. More study day than conference, this is an opportunity to learn from each other, build networks, explore these topics and think more deeply about how these technologies will shape the practice of museums in the near future.
Thursday: How Immersion Makes Art Accessible
Meow Wolf Co-founders, Vince Kadlubek and Golda Blaise, @MeowWolf (Twitter).
Immersive art is more than just a valuable trend in the museum world. Immersive art is actually an inclusive expression that brings accessibility to a general population that too often feels alienated by the art world.
Vince Kadlubek | @VinceKadlubek (Twitter)
Vince Kadlubek is a Co-founder and the CEO of Meow Wolf, an art collective that has transformed into a remarkable, award winning Arts Production Company. 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 and led the team towards its completion. Since opening, Kadlubek 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. Vince is most interested in co-creating alternative realities and bringing unique, indescribable, transformative immersive art experiences to the world.
Golda Blaise | @golda_blaise (Instagram)
Golda Blaise has created over 25 different immersive storytelling art experiences with Meow Wolf since 2009. She is a Co-founder of Meow Wolf & currently a Lead Artist/Designer for major market exhibitions, as well as temporary installations. She is also an Art Director, Set Designer, and Wardrobe Designer for Meow Wolf Entertainment. Her mission is to bring artists together to collaborate and create earth shattering multi-media experiences
Friday: Immersive Storytelling at The New York Times
Towey will explore the evolution of immersive storytelling at The New York Times with a focus on The Daily 360, an initiative that she co-led which published a 360 experience every day for over a year.
Towey will focus on discoveries made by her Daily 360 team while creating VR in museums and other cultural institutions.
Maureen Towey | www.maureentowey.com
Maureen Towey is a director working across artistic mediums and specializing in new storytelling technologies. For The New York Times, Towey served as the Senior Producer for The Daily 360 and directed Sensations of Sound, which won a 2017 Lumiere award for Best VR Documentary. Towey worked as a Creative Director for Grammy winning band Arcade Fire where she helped to launch the ground-breaking interactive music video, The Wilderness Downtown. As an ensemble member with Sojourn Theatre, Towey directs radical community-based arts events, such as Finding Penelope and The Islands of Milwaukee. A highlight of her live performance work was directing Black Mountain Songs, which was co-created with Bryce Dessner (of The National) and starred the Brooklyn Youth Chorus (BAM in NYC, Barbican in London). Towey has been recognized as a Fulbright scholar (South Africa), a Princess Grace fellow, and as a PBS/AOL MAKER.
Elizabeth Merritt | @futureofmuseums (Twitter)
Elizabeth is AAM’s vice president for strategic foresight, and Founding Director of the Center for the Future of Museums—a think-tank and research & development lab for the museum field. She is the author of the Alliance’s annual TrendsWatch report, and writes and speaks prolifically on the trends shaping the future of nonprofit organizations. (M.A. Duke University, B.S. Yale University, Museum Management Institute).
Prior to the event, all attendees will receive a primer summarizing the issues surrounding the topic, defining key terms, and providing current examples.
- Gain insight into how existing and emerging technology in the virtual and augmented reality space will impact visitor experience and engagement in the future.
- Connect with peers from within and outside of your field; leave with new thought partners for future collaborations.
Who should attend:
This conference will bring together museum directors and senior staff alongside technology leaders, artists, and scholars in an informal setting to discuss immersion in museums and how related technologies will shape the future of the museum field.
Schedule at a glance:
Thursday, September 6
8:30 – 9:30 am – Registration and coffee
9:30 – 10:45 am – Keynote: How Immersion Makes Art Accessible, Vince Kadlubek and Golda Blaise, Meow Wolf
10:45 – 12:00 pm – Morning breakout discussions
12:00 – 1:00 pm – Lunch (provided)
1:00 – 3:45 pm – Afternoon session
3:45 – 5:00 pm – Afternoon breakout discussions and time to visit the museum’s VR/AR offerings
5:30 – 6:30 pm – Wine and evening reception
Dinner on your own.
Friday, September 7
8:30 – 9:30 am – Registration and coffee
9:30 – 10:45 am – Keynote: Immersive Storytelling at The New York Times, Maureen Towey
10:45 – 1:00 pm – Morning sessions and mid-day breakout discussions
Lunch on your own.
There is no hotel block reserved for this event. Please arrange your own lodging ahead of the event. The Detroit Institute of Arts staff suggest the following local hotel options in downtown Detroit. The museum is easily accessible to both via taxi and the QLINE:
Aloft Detroit at The David Whitney
One Park Avenue
Detroit, MI 48226
The Westin Book Cadillac Detroit
1114 Washington Boulevard
Detroit, MI 48226
Organized by the American Alliance of Museums, funded by Knight Foundation, and hosted by the Detroit Institute of Art.
Additional support for this meeting is provided by GuidiGo.
Cancellation requests for this event must be received in writing no later than August 23, 2018 to receive a full refund of your registration fees. Refund requests will not be accepted after that date. The Alliance reserves the right to cancel any program at any time, for any reason. In the event of a program cancellation by the Alliance, attendees will receive a full refund of their registration fees. For face-to-face programs, the Alliance is not responsible for any travel or hotel expenses incurred as a result of your participation or cancellation of an event.