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AFTRS x PwC Australia: Reflections from ‘The Outside’

Late in 2021, PwC Australia invited AFTRS to contribute to the PwC Academy Signature Experience Program and ‘The Outside’ event. We were briefed that The Outside aimed to explore four threads including Country, Self, Future and Community. The purpose of this bold and brave event was to connect, engage and inspire PwC employees following the last two Covid affected years.

We set to work with our incredible team of creative practitioners to develop two deep-dive sessions, one on creativity and the other, storytelling. Our goal was to deliver two unique, informative and interactive sessions that would open the hearts and minds of Explorers.

Fast forward to May 2022, it was showtime! For the next five weeks, leading industry experts from a diverse range of fields would be joined by PwC staff at a sprawling outdoor purpose-built setting in the Hunter Valley. Dubbed ‘Corporate Coachella’, think personal development and idea-sharing in tents surrounded by fairy lights and fire pits.

One of two AFTRS sessions, “Curious About Creativity” was designed and delivered by curiosity practitioner and design thinker, Gauri Bhalla. This hands-on, play-based deep dive aimed to unlock creativity. Laughter could be heard across the grounds as Explorers left logic and reason behind and prepared to get inventive and have some fun. One Explorer commented, “I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this as much as I did! Impactful, interactive and memorable.”

The premise of AFTRS’ second immersive session at The Outside was to demonstrate how story activates the brain, show the power of audio and your own voice, and understand how you can use your body to build connection and present with impact.  Aristotle believed in the three-act structure in which every piece of poetry or drama must have a beginning, middle and end. Our experts presented a three-piece act that together, created a whole.

Featuring media industry experts including journalist, author and presenter Tracey Spicer, journalist and AFTRS senior lecturer Jess Campanaro and immersive media specialist Claire Evans. Feedback from this session included, “Great panel of speakers for this session. It was great to see how people in the industry share their experiences and love the deep dive sessions that highlight what I need to work on.”

AFTRS’ other contribution to The Outside was to produce a 12-episode companion podcast designed to bookend the whole experience. This podcast featured interviews with The Outside keynote speakers and immersive session facilitators including Stan Grant, Mundanara Bayles, Kurt Fearnley, Kirk Docker, Yemi Penn, Ben Crowe, Holly Ransom and more. The podcast was hosted and produced by Jess Campanaro and edited by Mike Williams.

The Outside wrapped up last week and if the posts on social media are anything to go by, PwC Australia has achieved their mission and more. “I have no doubt that The Outside 2022 will be remembered as a very special opportunity for all who were lucky enough to be there. AFTRS is thrilled to have been a part of the inaugural experience. It has been an amazing journey for all involved.” said AFTRS’ Acting Head of Strategic Partnerships Mignon Green.