Watershed is delighted to be a part of the new South West Creative Technology Network, a regional consortium which aims to drive digital innovation in the South West.
The region will receive £6.5m for this network which brings together universities and industrial partners, pooling their research and innovation expertise to develop cutting-edge practices, techniques and products in creative digital technologies. Supported by a grant from Research England, and led by the University of the West of England (UWE), the three-year project is a partnership between creative enterprise partners, Watershed and Kaleider in Exeter and Bath Spa University, the University of Plymouth and Falmouth University.
South West Creative Technology Network will develop a new model of sharing knowledge between universities and industry around creative technologies innovation, by developing and delivering a series of twelve-month R&D programmes - across the following three challenge areas; Immersion (eg VR, AR and MR), Automation (the application of autonomous systems and Robotics) and Data (eg Smart City applications, open data, big data). The Network will achieve impact through funding fellowships for both industry and academia to spend time thinking deeply about the theme area and sharing their learning. This will be complemented by prototype production across the three challenge areas with the aim of producing positive commercial and social impact across a range of sectors including Creative Industries, Health and Manufacturing.
Clare Reddington, Creative Director of Watershed says:
"Watershed are delighted to be a part of this new partnership, and particularly to be working so closely with our sister studio Kaleider to support communities of brilliant people exploring new ideas. The themes of Immersion and Data play to the strengths of the Pervasive Media Studio and this investment will allow us to ask creative questions and make more meaningful products for the widest possible range of people."
Professor Jon Dovey, who is Professor of Screen Media at UWE Bristol and leading the project says,
“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."
Professor Kate Pullinger, Director of the Centre for Culture and Creative Industries, says,
“The creative industries - from the smallest micro-businesses to the larger players - are a hugely important asset for our region and the UK as a whole, and this collaborative project is going to generate new opportunities which will transform how we engage with ideas and digital technology across the sector. We are delighted to be working with colleagues across the south west on a project which plays to our region's world-leading strengths.”
The grant is part of Research England’s Connecting Capabilities Fund, which supports university collaboration and encourages commercialisation of products made through partnerships with industry. The funding will kick-start the project, which begins in April.