View all news

The 2019 Richard Gregory Lecture: Reality Starts Here: Building Fictional Futures to Change the World

Minority Report image, 2019, Richard Gregory Lecture

Alex McDowell DRI

Minority Report, RGL 2019

The futuristic world in Steven Spielberg's "Minority Report"

8 October 2019

We are delighted to announce that this year’s Richard Gregory Lecture will be delivered by Professor Alex McDowell RDI, on 28 November in the Great Hall, University of Bristol.

After booking the Sex Pistols first gig, Alex worked for Vivienne Westwood and then designed some of the earliest music videos for acts like the Cure and Iggy Pop, and then for Neil Young, Aerosmith,  Madonna and Michael Jackson. He has created storytelling worlds for major Hollywood features, working with directors like Steven Spielberg, David Fincher, Terry Gilliam and Tim Burton. He designed Lawnmower Man, the first film to feature virtual reality, The Crow, Fight Club, Minority Report, The Terminal, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Man of Steel amongst others. Alex is currently Professor at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and Director of the World Building Institute. In 2014, he was awarded the William Cameron Menzies endowed chair in Production Design by director George Lucas.

Worldbuilding is the process of constructing an imaginary world, as a basis for science fiction and fantasy storytelling in books, films and games, but also for exploring and interacting with alternative futures for businesses and governments. In this lecture Alex will explore the rich history of World building, his own approach that has found success in films such as Minority Report, Fight Club and Man of Steel, and its role in creating context for storytelling using today’s media. He will explain how World building translates the complexity of a futuristic world into a common visual language that can be understood by all. In this way, interconnected stories can be woven together to create new ways to transmit information to audiences across generations.

Register for your ticket via Eventbrite.

Further information

Professor Richard Gregory CBE FRS FRSE (1923-2010) was a British psychologist, polymath and Professor of Neuropsychology at the University of Bristol.

Richard was a great interdisciplinary thinker and an inspiration behind the formation of Bristol Vision Institute. These annual lectures are held in his memory.

Find out more.

Edit this page