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Migratory Narratives: The Future World of the Refugee Camp

14.02.2016 - Puneet Kaur Ahira, Jessica Brillhart, Kilian Kleinschmidt, Alex McDowell, moderated by Juan DiazB

"World building" designates an iterative and collaborative narrative practice in which the deep understanding of a world precedes the telling of a story. Filmmakers and other storytellers can enter an interdisciplinary process that allows them to understand how to comprehend and build a world from its core elements. Addressing the complexities of refugee camps, humanitarian experts and guests with first-hand experiences jointly explore the multiplicity of human narratives that are interwoven into those worlds today and in the future.



Experts of this programme event:

Puneet Kaur Ahira


photo of Puneet Kaur Ahira
Special Advisor to Megan Smith, U.S. Chief Technology Officer and Assistant to President Obama. The scope of Puneet's role at the White House includes leveraging technology to counter violent extremism and expand opportunity for refugees and other marginalized communities. She started out as a portfolio analyst at Goldman Sachs and worked for and co-founded a number of non-profits and NGOs. Until recently she served as a Program Director at Google's Solve for X, an open moonshot platform to accelerate the progress of individuals and organizations working on breakthrough science and technology projects.


Jessica Brillhart


photo of Jessica Brillhart
US filmmaker and VR pioneer. She is the principal filmmaker for VR at Google. In 2009, she joined Google's Creative Lab where she spearheaded numerous award winning shorts and documentaries before joining the Cardboard team in 2015. Since directing, WORLD TOUR – the first VR film made with the Jump ecosystem – Brillhart has continued travelling the world, filming and experimenting, all in an effort to better understand and help inform others about this emergent medium.


Kilian Kleinschmidt


photo of Kilian Kleinschmidt
International networker, humanitarian and refugee expert. He is the founder and chairman of the Start-up Innovation and Planning Agency (IPA). He most recently managed the UNHCR refugee camp of Za'atari in Jordan, which has become a symbol for new and innovative approaches in refugee and humanitarian management under his leadership. Previous senior roles included Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Deputy Special Envoy for Assistance to Pakistan, Acting Director for Communities and Minorities in the UN administration in Kosovo, Executive Secretary for the Migration and Refugee Initiative (MARRI) in the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe and many field based functions with UNHCR, UNDP and WFP.


Alex McDowell


photo of Alex McDowell
Narrative designer, creative director and professor of practice with over 35 years design experience in narrative media. He is Creative Director of 5D Global Studio, a multi-platform, cross-discipline design studio that uses World Building in service of real-world problems and real-world impact. He also collaborated with directors including Steven Spielberg (MINORITY REPORT, MINORITY REPORT), Tim Burton (CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY), David Fincher (FIGHT CLUB), Terry Gilliam (FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS) and Zack Snyder (WATCHMEN, MAN OF STEEL), among others. 5D applies world building in collaboration with a range of client partners including Nike, Intel, Boeing and more. McDowell is Professor of Practice at University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts and director of the World Building Media Lab and Institute.



Moderated by

Juan DiazB


photo of Juan DiazB

Approaching his work as a weave of visions that interlaces in the creation process, has been awarded as designer, director and writer. Is the creative director of Kosmology, developing film and transmedia projects in Europe and America, including Torpor, a reflection on the water crisis, Bitterness a magic realism story and Origen a future reality project with a multi-platform narrative. He is the European Director of the World Building Institute, and part of a continuous research on new creation process and the future of narrative media.