Through the support of my supervisors and The Graduate School Research Support Award, I was lucky enough to attend this year’s International Association of Immersive Technology Innovation (IAITI) XR-Metaverse conference in Las Vegas. As a postgraduate student, this was an amazing experience that I will forever be grateful for. I’d like to give special thanks to the detailed organisation and dedication of Professor Timothy Jung and Dr Mandy Claudia Tom Dieck.

My involvement with the conference has opened my eyes to the fantastic research currently happening and the new possibilities regarding Extended Reality (XR)/ Metaverse, in addition to what the academic world has to offer for us students. Not only was I given the opportunity to present my research twice, but the scale of the conference also allowed me to network with academic and industry experts from around the world.

The turnout (100 delegates from 28 countries) fostered an environment that brought together differing domain perspectives, leading to an array of interesting and nuanced discussions which I otherwise would have missed out on. As stated, a major benefit of the conference was to be able to present and discuss both my previous and current research that surrounds XR/ Metaverse and consumer wellbeing. This was an invaluable experience in which I was able to receive feedback and support from fellow colleagues. Additionally, this provided the perfect opportunity to continue sampling stakeholder participants for my MRes and attain expert insights.

I thoroughly enjoyed the workshop and discussion panels that were hosted. I was introduced to healthcare professionals and XR/ healthcare developers during their panels – these discussions will be used to inform a second instalment of an XR Healthcare Workshop this October. On a more personal level, I met Eunice Cijntje (University of Curaçao) who shares similar interests in considering the long-term complexities of XR and the Metaverse. As such we intend to stay in touch, as we are both looking for opportunities for collaboration that extends our current geography.

I feel very privileged to have been able to attend such a fantastic conference, and feel completely supported by my supervisors and my new connections in making steps towards my future in academia and research.

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