Agency, the capacity for viewers to explore a scene at their own pace and feel as though they are truly present within it, has long been a space for creative exploration in the gaming industry and, more recently, in the world of immersive theater. In considering how to translate agency into the world of VR, designers have pinpointed the gaze—how it is controlled by the author and wielded by the viewer—as an an area ripe for invention. This panel will assemble leading experts to discuss how we can best design for agency in virtual environments, what kinds of stories and formats work best, what new interfaces need to be invented, and how we might navigate the inevitable tensions that emerge between author and viewer.




Diana Williams

Content Strategist

Diana Williams is a member of the Lucasfilm Story group, the team behind narrative cohesion and connectivity within the Star Wars universe. Williams is also the creative development executive for ILMxLAB, a laboratory for immersive augmented and virtual entertainment that combines the talent of Lucasfilm, ILM, and Skywalker Sound. Prior to Lucasfilm, Williams founded Roller Coaster Entertainment. She produced critically-acclaimed narrative films which include Our Song; the documentaries Industrial Light & Magic: Creating the Impossible and Another First Step; the webseries Awesome Asian Bad Guys; and has consulted on the films Method to the Madness of Jerry Lewis and Room 237.



Hector Harkness

Creative Director

Hector Harkness is an Associate Director of the Punchdrunk Theatre Company based in London. His work includes The Drowned Man, The Duchess of Malfi, Sleep No More, and McQ at London Fashion Week. He has also created live, digital, and virtual reality experiences, including Rihanna's ANTIdiaRYAbsolut's Silverpoint, and The Night Chauffeur for Stella Artios.


Nancy Bennett

Chief Content Officer & Head of Virtual Reality
Two Bit Circus

Nancy Bennett works at the forefront of emerging media platforms, working as a director, producer, entrepreneur, and executive. With 25 years of experience, Bennett's career spans multiple industries, where she has founded many successful companies in tech, film, television, and advertising. Bennett is currently the Chief Content Officer and Head of Virtual Reality at Two Bit Circus, where she has been the creative visionary behind VR projects for clients including the NFL, NBA, Samsung, the USOC, Verizon, Fox and Wasserman.

Nick Montfort

Professor of Digital Media

Nick Montfort is a professor of digital media at MIT who develops computational art and poetry. His computer-generated books of poetry include #!, 2x6, Autopia, and forthcoming title The Truelist. His more than fifty digital projects include The Deletionist, Sea and Spar Between, and Renderings. His MIT Press books include The New Media Reader, Twisty Little Passage, Racing the Beam, 10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1));: GOTO 10, and Exploratory Programming for the Arts and Humanities.