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Further funding announced for three CreativeXR projects which reinvent traditional modes of storytelling

Posted 14 May 2021

Digital Catapult and Arts Council England have announced further funding for three projects from the 2020 CreativeXR programme, which supports the creation of new cultural experiences using immersive technology. The virtual and augmented reality experiences will receive a total of £189,000, supporting creative professionals across the UK to continue their development.

The chosen projects each use immersive technology to radically re-envision a classic form of storytelling, including a feminist reinvention of the superhero origin story, a contemporary reimagining of gothic horror and a fresh take on the art documentary. As the cultural sector begins to open and emerges from a period of unprecedented digital engagement, the funding will enable UK-based creators and organisations to continue realising the potential of immersive experiences.

The three funded CreativeXR projects are:

Blood Speaks: Maya – The Birth of a Superhero by Poulomi Basu and CJ Clarke

An immersive story following Maya, an ordinary 21st century girl, as she transforms into a uniquely female superhero whose powers derive from the process of menstruation. The audience follows Maya from her transformation into a superhero in rural Nepal to contemporary London where she forms a bond with a first generation South Asian teenager. Together, they engage in a series of thrilling adventures, breaking taboos and revealing the hidden modes of patriarchy and misogyny that exist in contemporary Britain.

(Hi)story of a Painting by Gaëlle Mourre and Quentin Darras

A five-episode series that pairs iconic artists with contemporary creatives to tell the story of an artwork’s context, meaning and significance through time. Each 12-minute episode reveals details about the artist’s practice, struggles and successes, aiming to inspire young audiences by showing that an artist can come from anywhere. (Hi)story of a Painting’s first episode What’s the Point? premiered at this year’s SXSW Festival. Narrated by British rapper Speech Debelle, the episode focuses on the work of Georges Seurat and his most famous painting La Grande Jatte, depicting his journey from underdog to icon. The VR experience allows anyone from anywhere in the world to form an intimate bond with the painting, which can be explored at scale within a pointillist cityscape mirroring its style. As part of the CreativeXR programme, (Hi)Story of a Painting also received support from StoryFutures Academy who provided essential formatting and narrative content insights.

The Invited by Davy and Kristin McGuire

A theatrical augmented reality experience that reimagines the gothic story of Dracula as a seance in which a pop-up book serves as a conduit for Dracula’s curse to re-enter society. Set in a dark secret location, the experience uses this elaborately crafted book and a tablet to summon the audience through an unsettling shared experience. Each turn of page reveals an exquisite new set and ghostly animations that seep from the page to transform the world outside into a gripping horror story.

Digital Catapult CEO Jeremy Silver said:

The creative sector has shown extraordinary resilience during these unimaginably trying times, with technology giving many in the industry new opportunities to engage audiences and stay relevant. The CreativeXR programme has been at the centre of this: supporting UK pioneers pushing the boundaries when it comes to storytelling.

“Harnessing the power of AR and VR to transport us to new worlds, these three projects will receive a well-deserved boost to take their ideas one step further, as the sector slowly opens up from the pandemic.”

Francis Runacres, Executive Director of Enterprise and Innovation at Arts Council England, said:

“The last year has been an extraordinary time for innovation in digital art and culture. We need to continue building on these developments as we move forward, and so we’re delighted to support these three projects, which explore the potential for immersive technology to reimagine traditional ways of storytelling and create new forms of cultural experience.”

CreativeXR Press