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Conference Review

A SATE session in full flow!

Imagineering’s (WDI) efforts to understand the local culture have, Bob revealed, gone as far as observing its employees’ day to day to routines. In return, staff at WDI's California headquarters are being taught about the Chinese way of life. Along the way, WDI hopes to nurture a new generation of Chinese Imagineers to work on Disney projects worldwide. Introduced by Jora Vision’s Jan Maarten de Rad, Andrew McIntryre of Morris Hargreaves McIntrye (MHM) detailed plans for a children’s museum in Qatar as part of the session Engaging Culturally – Interpreting Authentically. Yet with a population just 1.7 million, including many families without children and a lack of typical parent-child interaction in those that do, such a project is not without its challenges. Three more museum-style projects were highlighted by Laura Miotti of gsmprjct, Adriondack Studios’ Louis Allen and Audrey O'Connell of London's Natural History Museum (NHM), discussing her experiences in Saudi Arabia. Les Petits Français’ Martin Arnaud shared details of

Yo México a stunning live performance set inside Mexico City’s Zócalo Square, using music, dance, light and projection to chronicle 100 years of the

Mexican Revolution. Meanwhile Sophie Poirier of MU Events was recently invited to produce a multimedia spectacular for OCT Bay in Shenzhen. Rejecting a brief for a show with an international flavour, she chose the local Mangrove tree as the inspiration for Mangrove Groove, a production that nevertheless fulfilled the Chinese thirst for, ”Big, bold statement-making projects.” “Over the years all sorts of b/s has been put out about Hawaii,” observed Joe Rohde in his case study of Aulani, Disney’s new resort on the island. Describing the finished product as, “Very different for Disney,” Joe revealed how his team had gone to great efforts to integrate Hawaiian culture into Aulani. Yes, Mickey Mouse does make an appearance, but elsewhere the content is more authentically Hawaiian then many of the island’s existing hotels and resorts. Later in a Q&A session, Joe revealed that the experience had encouraged Disney to re-examine some of its existing offerings such as the Polynesian Resort at Walt Disney World, which came from, “a very different era.”

Breaking Barriers Moderating Friday morning’s Reaching Broader Audiences session, Lesley Morisetti introduced representatives from four museums and heritage sites. Throughout these speakers’ presentations, it was evident there was still a certain amount of division between institutions like these and more ‘mainstream’ visitor attractions – which is why events such as SATE have an important role to play in breaking down barriers. The final formal session of the conference, entitled Taking Our Skills Into New Sectors, was moderated by Chris Conte of Electronsonic and also featured contributions from architect Ray Hole and Alex McCuaig of MET Design, whose company recently landed a contract to design educational experience in Culiacán, Mexico. Alex explained the brief: to educate citizens about addiction of all kinds – including drugs – whilst trying not be killed by the people the local dealers that dealt them. At The Bridge, visitors can ‘enjoy’ experiences such a Fun-House style revolving tunnel designed to simulate the effect of being drunk and a paranoia-inducing wall of staring faces!

Newport Bay Club Hotel, host venue Entertaining over 2.5 million



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