COMING IN HOT: Meet The Firestarters Of The WXO Campfires Season 6

Is your 2023 resolution to learn how to build better experiences?

Experiences that are more sustainable. More profitable. Inspiring. Electrifying. And that have a greater impact on people’s lives.

What if we told you we could help you get there, just by committing to one new habit?

And what if we promised it might even be fun?

The WXO Campfires are the playground for experience pioneers to share their failures and successes, workshop ideas, and gain tools for building better experiences.

And as we approach our 100th (!) Campfire, we’re releasing a teaser of the line-up for Season 6, which kicks off Wednesday 11 January.

In 2022, we welcomed neuroscientists and marketing mavericks, behavioural scientists and artistic geniuses, performers and authors, investors and creators. WXO Members can watch several of them on WXO TV now.

Now, it’s time to unveil a few of the speakers who’ll be lighting up our circle for the new year, from experiential marketing gurus to transmedia storytellers to immersive experience directors.

If you want to level up your experience game in 2023, we hope to see you there. If you’d like to join us, there’s still time to apply for WXO Membership – all Campfires are for registered WXO Members only.

Meet our first Firestarters below – and subscribe to our newsletter for more speaker releases, coming soon…

Experience, Meet Behaviour: Turn Your Marketing Experiences Into Marvels

Anton Jerges, CEO, We Are Collider

ARCANE Global Experiential Launch from WE ARE COLLIDER

The WXO is lucky enough to have got an early look at Jerges’ MARVELS framework, which shows how behavioural science plays an invisible but pivotal role in the success of experiential marketing.

He’ll take us through the seven areas you need to consider if you want to generate not only great brand and marketing experiences, but all experiences.

Because who doesn’t want to create memories that stick? Who doesn’t want to make people really feel something? And who doesn’t want to change behaviour?

Peak Immersive: The Rise Of Open-World, Gamified Experiences

Nick Moran, Director, Phantom Peak

Phantom Peak

We’re really interested in the idea of the “experience mash-up”, when an experience defies easy categorisation, taking elements of different sectors to create a new concept altogether.

When these elements come together, are they greater than the sum of their parts – or just an almighty mess?

For proof of how to do it right, look no further than Phantom Peak: the new “immersive steampunk experience” from Nick Moran, the brains behind the escape-room adventures at Time Run and the at-home entertainment experience Spectre & Vox. Moran will share how to create an immersive mash-up that puts the power in guests’ hands.

We Can Be Heroes: Regenerative Experiences That Reimagine The Future

Charlotte-Amélie Veaux, Co-Founder, Onyo

Tree of Light prototype by Onyo. Photo by Quentin Chevrier

We live in a time where we are disconnected from ourselves, from the collective, and from our planet. Creating experiences that take care of us, recreate a feeling of connection, and help us move toward a brighter future, seems more and more important.

Regenerative experiences are not just about creating a moment in which our audience feels relaxed or has fun. It’s about offering them a space to explore alternative narratives in a soft, caring way.

Veaux will share how Onyo offers such new narratives in their immersive experiences, which sit at the crossroads between Art, Ecology and Wellness. She’ll also explore how we might create regenerative experiences that offer a different story of what’s possible and where everyone is the hero. Because how can we make a better future happen if we can’t first imagine it?

Deliberate Disorientation: A Journey To The Theater Of The Mind

Andrew Scoville, Director, Theater Of The Mind

Theater of the Mind

Talking Heads frontman David Byrne’s immersive, neuroscience-themed Theater of the Mind experience is a playful intersection of art and science based on lab research.

Directed by Scoville, it invites participants to explore a 15,000-square-foot immersive art installation, engage in a narrative, and take part in multisensory experiments that encourage you to interrogate your identity and understanding of the world, and question your beliefs and memories.

In The Shallow: Why You Should Embrace Roleless Role Play

Jessica Creane, maker of play(s)

There’s a wave of work in neuroscience which suggests that the self is shallow, or even non-existent. Freud was wrong. There are no hidden depths.

So if we don’t really exist in any depth – what does that mean for experiences and experience design? Creane might have one answer: roleless role play. She’ll explain how getting shallow a very useful technique for transformation.

This Isn’t Working: A Pattern Language For The Experience Of Work

Dart Lindsley, employee experience expert

Work is the most consumed, yet least designed, experience on the planet. Adults spend half our waking hours working. That adds up to more than 8 trillion hours per year across all of humanity.

Few experiences occupy such a prominent role in our lives: when asked to describe yourself, how quickly do you name what you do for a living? And yet, the design of this experience has been largely neglected. Why?

Lindsley will argue that the root cause lies deep in a relic of the industrial age: the mistake of thinking of employees as things. Experience designers: it’s time to work on work.

A Climate Hackathon: Using Transmedia Storytelling For Real-World Impact

David Bassuk, creative director and professor

MONSTERS IN THE FORBIDDEN CITY, an immersive performance developed by White Horse Immersive in Hangzhou

Bassuk is a creative director and professor working in immersive performance, transmedia and game design.

In a recent workshop in Erbil, the Kurdish capital, he led a week-long “Youth Climate Challenge”, building playable narratives using immersive transmedia storytelling and setting up six teams in multiple cities for a second round of Alternate Reality Games, leading to engagement on water scarcity and related climate challenges. He breaks down what he learned from the challenge.

Don’t Take It Personally: An Ode To Anti-Personalisation In Experiences

Brad Shelton, Vice President and Creative Director, BRC Imagination Arts

BRC Imagination Arts

BRC Imagination Arts is a full-service strategy, design and production company that translates brand and cultural stories into transformative, human experiences for clients including Johnnie Walker Princes Street, Guinness Storehouse, the World of Coca-Cola, Jameson Distillery Bow St., the Ford Rouge Factory Tour, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Shelton will argue that in a world obsessed with ultra-personalisation, sometimes we should be running in the opposite direction.

Building The People’s Metaverse: How To Bring Immersive Tech To The Masses

Will Saunders, Creative Director, StoryTrails

In 2022 over 1.5 million people encountered StoryTrails. It was the UK’s largest immersive storytelling project to date, with 50 new creatives at the helm, and generated over 7,000 scans, 400 different stories, and 13 hours of original content. StoryTrails allowed local people to experience their town in a completely new way through the magic of augmented and virtual reality. Audiences time-travelled via the wonder of these new immersive technologies to experience untold local stories in the heart of their communities. Saunders will share the highs, lows and near-misses and ask: what on earth were they thinking?

Emotional Alchemy: Experience Design for Altered States of Consciousness

Laika O’Brien, Waking Dream Designer, No Sleep Studio

Photo by Logan Hershfeld

Join Laika O’Brien (they/them), founder of No Sleep Studio and former Lead Experience Designer at Meow Wolf for a raucous traipse through their internal landscape and the process by which they design custom immersive experiences for altered states of consciousness.

From custom mystery adventure dates to psychedelic excursions to beautiful ceremonies for people who are dying and their loved ones, Laika has dedicated their life to creating experiences that help participants integrate the full spectrum of emotion, connect to a story larger than themselves, and pluck the threads of the deep mystery in which we all find ourselves. 

Your Brain On Art: How The Arts Transform Us

Ivy Ross, VP of Design for hardware product area at Google

Susan Magsamen, founder and director of the International Arts + Mind Lab, Center for Applied Neuroaesthetics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Ross and Magsamen share insights from their new book Your Brain On Art – and what it means for experiences.

Want to be part of the most inspiring experience conversations in the world? Apply to become a member of the World Experience Organization here – to come to Campfires, become a better experience designer, and be listed in the WXO Black Book.