Industry & Employers

merging-realities-1.pngThe very real world of virtual reality will be explored during an innovative industry-leading conference hosted by Lethbridge College. Merging Realities: An Event of Multiple Perspectives takes place on April 26. The conference features renowned guests from the fields of virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) speaking to participants who can join in from around the world.

This is made possible by being the first full-day conference to be hosted completely in virtual reality.

"Many virtual meetings have been held around the world, but this is the first conference we know of that spends the entire day in the virtual setting,” says Kris Hodgson, interim chair of Lethbridge College’s School of Media and Design. “Industry-leading speakers will highlight the latest advances in virtual and augmented reality. Our Multimedia Production program has spearhead this event, led by instructor Mike McCready and his students, and it's truly incredible what has been accomplished in only a few months.”

Due to high demand, only a limited number of seats are available in VR for each session and will be held for those who have VR headsets. However, all attendees will be able to view all sessions via live streaming.

A dozen speakers from a variety of backgrounds will speak throughout the day. Keynote presenters include:

  • Alan Smithson - co-founder and CEO of MetaVRse. Alan has positioned himself as a leader in business applications for VR/AR.
  • Alex Katzen - Google's Daydream business development team content specialist. Alex works with third-party VR and AR developers to support the ecosystem and bring quality content to the Google platform.
  • Cathy Hackl - VR/AR global speaker, producer and marketing futurist. Cathy is an Emmy-nominated communicator turned author, named by IZEA and Onalytica as a leading AR/VR influencer and also by NBC News as one of the top women working in virtual reality.


“Merging Realities is a unique event where students and industry are working together to educate the community on virtual and augmented reality,” says McCready. “The enthusiastic early response is a clear indicator that there’s a need and interest for training in this field.”

Merging Realities McCready (Small).jpg
Multimedia Production instructor Mike McCready models a virtual reality headset.

Lethbridge College is quickly establishing its credentials as a leader in VR/AR, recently joining the international VR/AR Association (VRARA). McCready and Hodgson will serve as co-presidents of the Lethbridge Chapter of VRARA. The membership gives the college access to resources as it begins to integrate VR/AR into its programming across campus.

Virtual and augmented reality has already been implemented into curriculum in programs such as Digital Communications and Media, Multimedia Production and Interior Design Technology.

"This is just the tip of the iceberg for the work in VR/AR that the School of Media and Design is pursuing,” says Hodgson. “We look forward to collaborating further with industry across the globe.”

The Merging Realities event will culminate with a business mixer from 4 to 6 p.m. at the college. It is open to anyone interested in learning more about the many applications for VR/AR.

Watch a promotional video, produced by Mulitmedia Production students, online.

Registration and the full Merging Realities event program are available on the Lethbridge College website.