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UCA to play key role in consortium to support UK Creative Sector


It has been announced today (7 September) that the University for the Creative Arts (UCA) will play a key role in a Research and Development partnership aimed at boosting the UK’s creative sector.

The University, which specialises in creative education, business and technology, will form part of a consortium, led by Royal Holloway, University of London and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) as part of the AHRC Creative Industries Clusters Programme.

The project, known as StoryFutures, is one of nine successful bids to receive funding by the AHRC programme, and will bring together universities, and world leading creative and technology companies with the region’s SMEs. The project will tackle the challenge of next-generation storytelling: how the creative sector will harness technologies such as immersive, including Augmented, Virtual, Mixed and Cross Reality (AR, VR, MR, XR), smart devices and Artificial Intelligence, to engage audiences in new experiences.

StoryFutures’ work will cover an area to the west of London and include parts of Surrey, Hampshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire, in what will be known as the Gateway Cluster.

Professor Bashir Makhoul, Vice-Chancellor of UCA, said: “StoryFutures is an exciting project that will harness some of the very best skills and expertise from within the UK’s creative sector. We are proud to be part of a consortium that will be supporting our creative industries and exploring the role that technology will play in next generation storytelling.”

In addition to UCA and Royal Holloway, partners in the StoryFutures project include: Brunel University, BBC Studios, Pinewood Studios, Immerse UKResource ProductionsBFI, Connect TVTThe National GallerySony Interactive Entertainment EuropeCreative EngineScreen South and nDreams.

The Creative Industries Clusters Programme, led by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and funded through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, is an ambitious R&D investment which will establish Creative R&D Partnerships to significantly improve collaboration between the country’s internationally-renowned creative industries and UK universities. Their work will help catalyse economic growth and provide the skills necessary for the creative jobs of the future.

Professor Andrew Thompson, Executive Chair of the Arts and Humanities Research Council, said: “Combining world-class arts and humanities researchers with our globally renowned creative industries will underpin growth in this vibrant and rapidly expanding sector within the UK economy. 

“These pioneering partnerships between industry and universities are providing a huge vote of confidence for a sector that is vital to the future prosperity of the UK.”

All the winning bids will address a distinct and measurable challenge or challenges which are identified by creative industries in their area. The work will have significant commercial impact.