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Speaker Profile - Catherine Allen

By Poppy Corbet Burcher

Published in: Speaker Profile

Date: 1 / 4 / 17

Tags: VRWC17 / speakers

Continuing to shine the spotlight on women in VR, this Speaker Profile focuses on Catherine Allen. Writer, producer and director, her work has been described as 'genre-defining'.

VR director and producer Catherine specialises in creating immersive experiences for diverse audiences. Catherine's most recent project is No Small Talk, a 360 talkshow for the BBC, aimed at millennial women. 

Catherine will be speaking  on the Women in VR panel at 11:30am on April 13th. Tickets to VRWC17 are available here.

Please sum up your conference session in one sentence.
I'm taking part in the panel discussion about the need to get more women into the growing VR industry. 

Catherine Allen2Who needs to hear what you’ve got to say?  
VR audiences are unfortunately mainly male. According to a ComRes survey commissioned by Wiggin LLP, 20% of UK men have tried VR, whereas only 13% of women have. There is already a gender gap emerging in VR audiences and this is something we must address. VR is too important a medium for primarily men to benefit from it. Who needs to hear this message? VR commissioners and marketeers. And, of course, the wider public. We cannot accept an ecosystem primarily made for men, by men. 

What is the biggest challenge facing the VR/AR/MR sector this year and why? 
The biggest challenge we face is growing real world audiences; reaching beyond early adopters and getting this powerful new medium to the masses.  In order to do this we must make work for diverse audiences - constantly questioning unconscious bias or the assumptions we bring with us. 

And generally, where do you see VR/AR/MR in five years’ time?  
What a question! We will start to refer to AR, MR and VR as just MR. MR glasses will be commonplace in enterprise, for education and as an entertainment device for early adopters. Give it 15 years and MR will be like the mobile phone is to us today; indispensable. However, we must remember that nothing is inevitable and the industry is what we make it. I find that notion very exciting. The decisions we make now will influence creators and audiences in generations to come. 

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