Digital Catapult and Arts Council England reveal five VR And AR projects set to transform creative storytellingPosted 26 Jul 2018
Funding announced for leading teams driving creation of virtual, augmented and mixed reality content in the UK’s arts and culture sector
London, 23rd July 2018 – Digital Catapult and Arts Council England today announce the projects successful in achieving further funding from Creative XR, a programme dedicated to supporting the development of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) products and their application within the creative industries.
Five projects will receive a total of £350,000 in funding, alongside match funding and support from a range of createch (creative technology) and cultural organisations. The funding provided by the programme is supporting the development of the UK’s VR industry, which is expected to grow by 76% to reach £801m by 2021, making it the largest and fastest-growing VR industry of any country in EMEA.
Following a first round which saw 20 teams develop prototypes, the latest round of investment will enable the five teams to further develop their projects, making them publicly available and taking the CreativeXR programme and the selected teams to the next level.
CreativeXR has allowed content creators to focus on R&D and develop risker projects aimed at the arts and culture space. Designed to raise artistic and technical ambition, the programme has enabled the development of new skills, tools and business opportunities. Teams have been given workshops and marketplace events with industry leaders as well as access to Digital Catapult Immersive Labs in London, Brighton, North East Tees Valley and Belfast.
The successful projects all use immersive technologies, combined with a range of traditional storytelling techniques such as documentary, poetry and theatre to provide audiences with unprecedented cultural experiences. The funded projects are:
- Fatherland by Limbik, Norwich & Portsmouth: An interactive theatre experience using real-time motion capture and VR technology that brings to life the journey of a son and father coming to terms with dementia and disembodiment in a modern world. Completed in partnership with University of Portsmouth
- Immersive Histories by All Seeing Eye Ltd, Stroud: An immersive VR experience allowing an audience to physically step into history and experience the famous ‘Dambusters’ mission from on board Guy Gibson’s Lancaster. Completed with support from Other Set and the RAF Museum
- Municipal Dreams (working title) by VR CITY LTD, London: An immersive journey into the complicated history of the notorious Aylesbury Estate, using stereoscopic 360 video, photogrammetry and 3D modelling. Completed with support from Royal Holloway University, Creation Trust and IDFA
- Traitor by Pilot Theatre, York: A two-player interactive high stakes thriller, combining VR with live action, completed with support from Pilot Theatre
- When Something Happens by Boom Clap Play, Belfast: An epic journey through the history of the cosmos – from the big bang to modern life – written and narrated by poet Boston Williams. Completed with support from Northern Ireland Screen and Northern Ireland Science Festival
“Applicants to CreativeXR presented us with an incredible level of creativity and innovation, so narrowing these down to a final five was no easy task,” said Jeremy Silver, CEO, Digital Catapult. “It’s imperative that these projects receive proper funding and support, or we risk them failing to reach fruition and the benefits to the UK’s creative sector being lost. Digital Catapult and Arts Council England are fulfilling this critical role and we’re truly excited to see how each of these develops now they have the resource required to take them to the next level.”
Francis Runacres, Executive Director of Enterprise and Innovation at Arts Council England, said: “At the Arts Council, we’re thrilled to see the cross-sector partnership between ourselves and Digital Catapult come to fruition through five final projects. Each of the five organisations are developing cutting edge, immersive content, and are illustrating what the UK can contribute to this growing global market. In time, we look forward to audiences enjoying the immersive experiences that they are creating; connecting with art, history and culture in ground-breaking new ways.”
Over 1,000 teams registered their interest in CreativeXR when the programme launched last October, with 250 submitting proposals for the Open Call. This pool was narrowed to a final group of 20 invited to showcase their projects to partners including Google, BBC and Sky. The programme has been developed by Digital Catapult and Arts Council England with support from Innovate UK, and in association with Immerse UK.
More information on CreativeXR can be found at creativexr.co.uk.
For further information please contact:
020 7592 1200
Notes to editors
Digital Catapult is the UK’s leading advanced digital technology innovation centre, driving early adoption of technologies to make UK businesses more competitive, productive and ultimately grow the country’s economy.
By connecting large established companies, startup and scaleup businesses and researchers, Digital Catapult discovers new ways to solve big challenges in the manufacturing and creative industries. Through this collaboration, businesses can develop the right technologies to solve problems, increase productivity and open up new markets faster.
Digital Catapult provides physical and digital facilities for experimentation and testing that would otherwise not be accessible for smaller companies. As well as breaking down barriers to technology adoption for startups and scaleups, the centre is de-risking innovation for large enterprises and uncovering new commercial applications in immersive, future networks, and artificial intelligence technologies.
For more info please visit www.digicatapult.org.uk
Arts Council England is the national development body for arts and culture across England, working to enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to visual art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2018 and 2022, we will invest £1.45 billion of public money from government and an estimated £860 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country. www.artscouncil.org.uk