Winners announced for new creative industries centre of excellence

Winners announced for new creative industries centre of excellence

A new £10 million centre will develop cutting-edge creative training and research programmes in immersive storytelling to ensure the UK creative workforce is the most skilled in the world in the use of virtual, augmented and mixed reality technologies.

The National Film and Television School and Royal Holloway, University of London, will run the new centre, after winning the UK Research and Innovation competition.

Funded by the government’s Industrial Strategy, the centre - called StoryFutures Academy - will support experimental labs, workshops, placements and courses, and will support and co-fund dozens of real immersive productions with a focus on storytelling.

The centre is a key element of the £33 million Audience of the Future programme, part of the government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. The programme aims to pioneer immersive experiences across the creative industries and was announced by government in March in the Creative Industries Sector Deal.

Announcing the winning bidders during a speech at the Raindance Film Festival Andrew Chitty, Audience of the Future Challenge Director, said:

“The UK has an opportunity to lead the world in adopting immersive technology to find new audiences and create ground-breaking content. But to do this we need to develop our creative talent to make the best of this new medium. StoryFutures Academy is an exceptional partnership that brings together exceptional researchers, a world-class film school and partners across the industry who will not only support the centre but gain the benefit of its graduates.”

Andrew Chitty also announced the opening of a new £8 million research and development competition for businesses- Production Innovation for Immersive Content - to make the production of high quality immersive content cheaper, faster and more accessible.

Science and Innovation Minister Sam Gyimah said:

 “From Harry Potter to Downton Abbey, Damien Hirst to Grand Theft Auto, the UK has the most incredible storytellers bringing their art to life for the entire world to enjoy. Immersive technology, such as virtual reality, can transform our traditional creative industries into something even more awe-inspiring for audiences, giving them the feeling of really being there.

 “The new Centre for Immersive Storytelling takes us a step closer to reaching our ambition within the Creative Industries Sector Deal to boost the UK’s place as a world leader in this kind of content by 2025.”

The bid by NFTS and Royal Holloway is supported by a number of high profile supporters such as Sir Lenny Henry, Asif Kapadia, Georgina Campbell, Sarah Gavron, Steven Moffat, Sue Vertue, Alex Garland, John McVay (PACT), Jo Twist (UKIE) and Pete Johnson (BSAC).

Sir Lenny Henry said:

“Britain has an amazingly rich heritage and strength in storytelling. Immersive technologies are an exciting new opportunity for us, but this new frontier for storytelling should be one that really reflects the wealth and diversity of our country’s talent. Royal Holloway and the National Film and Television School have brought together an extraordinary group of people and companies to move the needle along a bit with regard to egalitarian, creative storytelling in this new immersive space. It’s not enough to put on a pair of glasses and look behind you. You've got to look to the side. Working together with this diverse and extraordinary group of people - researchers, artists, technologists and makers- we can tip the tipping point and really crack immersive storytelling in a way that is about and for all of us. That’s the brilliance of StoryFutures Academy and why I’m a proud supporter of this amazing initiative.” 

Further information

For more information, please visit www.ukri.org/audience-future and sign up to updates on the Audience of the Future programme, including when opportunities to work with StorysFuture Academy arise.