In UCF’s thematic graduate programs, strange new worlds are imagined every day. But it’s not every day that students explore them with Meow Wolf, a world leader in creating stunning interactive art environments.

During the Fall 2022 semester, Meow Wolf is partnering with UCF’s Thematic Experience Master’s Programs for the UCF/Meow Wolf Writing Workshop. The virtual and in-person series will explore storytelling through immersive and interactive environments. Students will write a proposal for a new thematic experience based on their own intellectual property or that of the public domain. Throughout the process, Meow Wolf’s professional writers and producers will mentor students and share their expertise in creating state-of-the-art realms.

As innovators in their respective fields, the individuals of Meow Wolf and UCF’s Thematic Experience Program have much to learn together.

Recognized in fast company A 2020 and 2022 list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies, Meow Wolf is an arts and entertainment company based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with interactive facilities across the country. UCF’s Thematic Experience Programs is home to the first and only stand-alone degree program of its kind at a public university, leveraging the university’s diverse programs as well as its location in Orlando, the international hub Of the industry.

“Themed experiences are in a period of renaissance and understanding story and customer experience is at the heart of it all,” says Todd Richins, head of creative execution at Meow Wolf. “We want the best emerging talent, so it was only natural to partner with UCF’s Thematic Experience Program where they place students across the industry.”

Hands-on learning from industry leaders is central to UCF’s themed experience programs. Peter Weishar, Director of Programs, believes this partnership is a great opportunity for students to explore new approaches to creating themed experiences.

“We are thrilled to work with Meow Wolf,” says Weishar. “They’ve successfully integrated fine art aesthetics into captivating themed experiences. Meow Wolf has a unique process and vision that I believe will help our students broaden their definition of thematic experience and develop new approaches to creative challenges.

Beyond theme parks, UCF Thematic Experience students are trained to design themed shops, exhibits, restaurants, virtual worlds and more – any space that conveys a narrative through experience. Storytelling is also central to Meow Wolf’s work, often leading audiences to piece together puzzle-like narratives hidden within its themed mazes.

“Writing for immersive experiences is so different than writing for the page or even a script,” says Meow Wolf senior editor Michael Wilson. “In our world, individual artists create short stories or poetry that are related or additional to the larger story. Our worlds are novels with a ton of appendices. We wanted to try to emulate the experience of creating a world both visually and narratively. So we’re going to do some sharing and ideation rounds with the whole group to help give that feeling of collaborative creation.

Bryan McGowan says Meow Wolf was one of his inspirations for pursuing an MFA in a themed experience, citing their ability to transport audiences from the ordinary to the extraordinary.

“One of the reasons I pursued my MFA in a themed experience was my love of environmental and narrative storytelling. I’ve been a fan of Meow Wolf for years and that’s one of the reasons I continued this program,” says McGowan. “I’ve always admired the organization’s commitment to not just creating an attraction, but creating a complete experience. I’m incredibly excited to be a part of this program and grateful. of the time that Meow Wolf devotes to us.

In late November 2022, the UCF/Meow Wolf Writer’s Workshop will conclude with a live critique of student proposals. One or two workshop participants will then be selected to travel to Santa Fe, New Mexico for a unique Meow Wolf experience.

Selected participants will visit The House of Eternal Return, Meow Wolf’s multi-dimensional mystery home with secret passageways, portals to magical worlds and surreal art exhibits. They will also meet with creative and production managers at Meow Wolf’s main office, production facilities and design studios.