Speakers on the day include:


Merged Future Timelines

Sam Watts
Director of Immersive Technologies at Make Real, Brighton

11:00 - 11:45, Main Space

Sam will set the scene for the day ahead, looking at where the technology has come from to today and beyond, setting understanding and awareness of emerging trends, successes and benefits to all attendees looking to incorporate immersive technologies within their lives, whether it be working, learning or play.

Sam Watts has been waiting for the wider adoption of immersive technologies like VR and AR since his first taste in the 1990s. Over the past five years, Sam has been promoting and evangelising the realistic current benefits and use cases while keeping one eye firmly on future developments to maintain expectations and possibilities within various sectors, including entertainment, education and enterprise training, simulation, learning and development.

Twitter: @vr_sam


Arts and Audience Understanding

Dr Alison Goodyear
Senior Lecturer in Fine Art, University of Northampton

Murtada Dohan
PhD Researcher, University of Northampton

Dr Mu Mu
Senior Researcher and Research Centre Lead, University of Northampton

11:45 - 12:30, Arts and Education (LH121)

This highly interactive session will bring in practitioners, researchers and developers who are interested in emerging use cases of VR in content creation, art exhibition, education and entertainment. We’ll showcase our recent research funded by Arts Council England and UK Research and Innovation. You are welcome to try out the demos!

Dr Alison Goodyear will describe, through a live demo, how VR painting is beginning to open up as a new medium for visual artists. We will discuss potential future avenues for content creation in this emerging field and what this might mean for artists, viewers, and art institutions.

Mr Murtada Dohan and Dr Mu Mu will share how we use eye-tracking, game design and data science to improve the understanding of human attention in VR, and how such research can impact the future of immersive technologies.

We’ll conclude the session with an open discussion on shared interest and opportunities for collaboration.

Dr Alison Goodyear is a visual artist, working predominantly within the field of painting, and a Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at the University of Northampton. The paintings she makes explore the idea and possibility of how an artwork might intervene in the ‘normal’ regime of vision, whilst exploring and questioning the materiality of paint and process.

Alison was awarded her practice led PhD by Camberwell, Chelsea, Wimbledon Graduate School, University of the Arts London in 2017.

Twitter: @_alisongoodyear

Mr Murtada Dohan is a PhD researcher at the University of Northampton. His research is centred around user intent analysis, serious games, virtual reality and machine learning.

Mr Dohan’s latest research on VR eye-tracking is published in ACM International Conference on Interactive Experiences for TV and Online Video.

Dr Mu Mu is a Senior Lecturer and a research centre lead at the University of Northampton. Dr Mu has been involved in several Research Councils (now UKRI) and EU funded projects as a lead researcher and principle investigator.

He has over 50 publications on human factors in multimedia, intelligent networks, and immersive media. His PhD in Computing Science was awarded by Lancaster University.


Virtual Reality and Dementia

Dr Alessandra Girardi and Dr Inga Stewart
St Andrews Healthcare

11:45 - 12:30, Healthcare (LH121)


Dr Alessandra Girardi is a research associate at St Andrew’s Healthcare. She received her MSc and PhD in Psychology (Human Cognitive Neuroscience) from the University of Edinburgh (Scotland, UK). She conducted research in both academic, clinical and industrial settings.

Her earlier research focussed on cognitive functions in healthy population and brain damaged patients. Her research in mental health care focuses on the application of virtual reality in secure settings, as well as assessment of violence, health and social wellbeing.


Dr Inga Stewart is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist and British Psychological Society Associate Fellow. She is a RAID Accredited Tutor, Advanced Dementia Care Mapper, Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Friends Champion and Royal College of Psychiatrists QNOAMHS Peer Reviewer.

She also has honorary teaching appointments with University of Leicester and University of Birmingham. For over a decade Inga has worked with patients presenting with behaviour that challenges or offence related risk. She currently specialises in meeting the needs of those exhibiting high-risk behaviour within a context of degenerative neurological impairment.

She is actively involved in research, having published in the areas of virtual reality, overt aggression, inappropriate sexual behaviour, operant learning, behavioural outcomes in neurodisability, quality of life and coercive treatments in forensic psychiatry. She clinically leads the virtual reality and dementia programme at St Andrew’s Healthcare.


AR/VR Workshop

Andy Wise
Client Services Director at Engine Creative, Northampton

All day


Improving access to high quality mental healthcare with VR

Sam Gage
Head of VR Development at Oxford VR, Oxford

Sam will show a range of use cases for VR in the healthcare industry, explaining the challenges and opportunities of using immersive technology with real patients.

14:15 - 15:00, Healthcare (LH122)

Sam Gage has spent his career working with motion control technology, VR and AR. He has worked in games, film and most recently healthcare. He set up a medically-compliant VR development studio, shipping products which are now being used in the NHS.

Twitter: @scampleton


Filming in 360°: A look at cross-platform immersive technologies

Rob Fairhurst
Creative Director at AR-Media, Northampton

A look at the equipment, processes and opportunities immersive technology presents and some of the successful 360° video projects delivered by AR Media.

11:45 - 12:30, Main Space

Director and Producer at AR Media in Northampton, Rob Fairhurst has built a creative agency based on visionary and innovative storytelling. Growing on a solid background of cinematography, AR Media has expanded its offering to encompass 5 core services: film and video production, animation, immersive media, digital signage and studio hire.

As part of its immersive offering, AR Media plays with emerging technologies such as Oculus Rift and HTC Vive’s VR headsets, Microsoft’s Hololens, drone filming, 360 cameras and Matterport’s 3D interactive tour platform.

Having delivered a number of augmented and virtual reality projects to a variety of commercial customers, Rob recognises the exciting possibilities for new technologies. “Not only can we tell the customers story in new, engaging ways but we can also deliver tangible benefits in prototyping costs, speed of communication and life like experiences”.


Making aerodynamic solutions available for all

Dr Rob Lewis OBE
Total Sim

14:15 - 15:00, Industry and Retail (LH123)

Rob Lewis graduated from the University of Leeds in 1991 with a BEng Honours degree in Mechanical Engineering and subsequently again from Leeds in 1995 with a PhD in CFD.

From 1995 to 1998 he worked as a support engineer and later project team leader at Fluent Europe Ltd. From 1998 to 2007 Rob led Advantage CFD, an aerodynamics and CFD consultancy, from start-up with Reynard Motorsport to eventual closure under Honda F1 Racing Team.

In 2007 Rob and others founded TotalSim Ltd, a Computational Fluid Dynamics Consultancy which employs 30 people in Brackley, Northamptonshire and also has an office in America and Japan. Rob is a chartered engineer and a Fellow of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers.

In June 2017 Rob was awarded an OBE for services to science applied to sport in recognition of Rob’s contribution to the performance of British athletes over the last 3 Olympic campaigns.


Extending AR/VR in air-transportation through AI

Dr Christos Tsotskas
Chief Technology Officer at Conigital Group, Birmingham

13:30 - 14:15, Main Space

As a highly adaptive leader, Dr Christos Tsotskas has led several agile transformations in small, medium and global FTSE250 organisations. Thus far he has invested 15+ years being passionate about software, brainware and peopleware - doing the right thing and doing it the right way.


Gamification: get success with interactive digital products

Steve Walsh
We Jump Higher

13:30 - 14:15, Industry and Retail (LH123)

In a business context, gamification is the process of integrating game mechanics and dynamics in to a non-game situation in order to drive participation and engagement by target audiences.

  • Engage users

  • Encourage them to join a community

  • Drive active participation

  • Share with friends outside the community and recruit more


The Internet of Things for business

Stephen Westley
Managing Director at Iris IOT Solutions, Northamptonshire

All day


Heritage in 3D with drone technology


Mark Holmes and James Ladocha
Museum of London Archaeology, Northampton

14:15 - 15:00, Arts and Education (LH121)

James Ladocha is responsible for the management and development of graphics, geomatics and data visualization at MOLA Northampton. He creates, and oversees the creation of, illustrations and figures for all MOLA Northampton output, including technical reports, publications and digital content. James has a keen interest in developing innovative methods in survey and visualisation techniques in order to underpin MOLA’s reputation as a leading archaeological organisation.

James also carries out on-site surveying and the subsequent spatial data processing. One aspect of this is the piloting of a Small Unmanned Aircraft to capture accurate metric data rapidly using photogrammetry. James also applies the photogrammetry technique to other aspects of archaeology, from historic buildings to areas of excavation to artefacts, resulting in accurate 3D models that are easily assessable to clients and the wider public.


How technology is transforming the digital shopper’s experience

James Hyde
James and James Fulfilment

11:45 - 12:30, Industry and Retail (LH123)

James Hyde is an engineering graduate from the University of Cambridge. After a spell as an angel investor's apprentice, he spotted the chance to modernise eCommerce fulfilment, while working with an online honey seller. With friend and fellow Cambridge graduate, James Strachan, he founded James and James Fulfilment in 2010.

The company provides outsourced fulfilment services to independent retailers, founded on its own unique technology and processes. With a love of pondering problems and improving things, James has led the company to become one of the UK's fastest-growing organisations.


How do we prepare our young people for a career in digital creative industries?

Becky Adams and Paul Mills

Becky and Paul from Screen Northants will be joined by:

Trudy Bell, Creative Learning Director at the Royal & Derngate
Charles Haynes
, Managing Director of digital production company Ziggurat XYZ

to discuss how Northamptonshire develops its talent pool to support the county's growth.

13:30 - 14:15, Pathways to Digital Futures (LH017)

Screen Northants is a social enterprise film company which produces feature films, promotes Northamptonshire to the film industry and has a focus on working with young people to give them opportunities to develop in creative industries.

From its base in the Grosvenor Centre, Screen Northants has worked with hundreds of local young people, produced two features and a television drama, and run the pilot project Northampton Film Festival 2019: Coming of Age.

Twitter: @screennorthants