The new South West Creative Technology Network is expanding the use of digital technologies throughout the region’s creative, health and manufacturing sectors. The network is one of 14 nationwide hubs to have won a share of a £67 million Research England-funded investment announced this week.
Exeter-based Kaleider is joined by Bristol’s Watershed as Co-Executive Producers of the 3-year project led by UWE, in collaboration with Bath Spa University, Falmouth University and University of Plymouth.
The southwest hub will partner with a community of innovators, drawn from industry, academia, and new talent who will support the development of new products, services and experiences across three themes: Immersion, Automation and Data.
The funding enables the South West Creative Technology Network to invest in deep-thinking followed by prototype production across the three themes that respond to emerging and swiftly evolving aspects of technology. In collaboration with health and manufacturing sectors, the network aims to produce social as well as commercial impact.
‘As a production studio, we are experienced working with people, groups and businesses that may have very different backgrounds, but share a desire to face some of the world’s challenges,’ says Seth Honnor, Kaleider’s Artistic Director. ‘The UK is a world leader in inventiveness and innovation, but a great deal of inspiration and creativity can be evolved by looking at the challenges we face differently. The creative industries are well-equipped to be at the forefront of change and to help facilitate the creation and evolution of products and approaches that can positively impact people’s lives.’
The first step is to recruit fellows from within industry and academia who have an interesting angle on the theme through their existing work and track record, and are prepared to join a cohort to engage in deep-thinking and the challenging of these themes.
Professor Jon Dovey, who is project lead and Professor of Screen Media at the Faculty of Arts, Creative Industries and Education at UWE Bristol, said, ‘This project will bring together the best and the brightest researchers in creative arts, technology and design to work with companies old and new, to show what new kinds of value can be unlocked by the application of creative technologies.
‘We are going to be working with immersive media, processes of automation and the new availability of big data to support business to find new ways of working with their customers and our citizens. Watch this space for the amazing new products and services we invent in the next three years.’
The progress made by each of the 14 UK-wide projects will also help to drive forward world-class university commercialisation across the country, the positive impact of which will be felt nationwide.
‘New technology offers so many opportunities as well as challenges,’ Says Honnor. ‘By fostering creativity through an interdisciplinary approach, the creative industries act as an effective catalyst for the sharing of knowledge, insight and expertise to invent new products, inspire news ways of working and nurture new perspectives that can make a valuable difference, not only to businesses and the regional economy, but to the wider world.’
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