SWCTN Newsletter March 2019

The South West Creative Technology Network (SWCTN) is looking to create and amplify connections between people working in creative technologies across the South West. We’ve spent the last six months working with some very talented people, developing some exciting projects and funding some amazing insights into what immersion means today. Now that so many of you are onboard with the network it’s time to reach out, share some current opportunities, and get excited about what’s coming up across the three big themes of the network – Immersion, Automation and Data.

Since our launch we’ve watched our Immersion Fellows grow, seen our current Immersion Prototype teams start work and our brand new Automation Fellows announced. Teams at the University of the West of England, Falmouth University, University of Plymouth, and Bath Spa University have been funding some incredible work locally (Link).

As we come to the end of the funding period for our first theme “Immersion”, we’re excited to announce our Immersion Showcase on 12th and 13th July 2019 in Bristol. The showcase will spotlight the deep research and brave work of our immersion fellows and prototype teams and will highlight the very best in immersive thinking and tech in the South West. More details to follow on our website.

And if you’re interested in immersion, here are three treats:

We are building a network of creative technologists in the South West. If you’re already part of the network, please forward this onto your colleagues. If there’s someone who you think should be a part of SWCTN, please let them know. And if you haven’t yet, please do sign up here at https://www.swctn.org.uk/join/, and help us build something very special.

Network Opportunities

Around Bath

Creative Industry Offerings at Bath Spa University

Bath Spa University is teeming with opportunities for those working locally in the creative industries:

The Centre of Cultural and Creative Industries

  • The Centre of Cultural and Creative Industries is a centre for creative research and is responsible for SWCTN in the Bath area as well as being part of the new AHRC funded £9 million initiative the Bristol & Bath Creative R&D Project.

Newton Park Campus, Newton St Loe, Bath BA2 9BN

  • State of the art TV and film studio, editing suite, screening room, including green screen facility
  • Get involved with the MediaWall

Burdall’s Yard, 7B Anglo Terrace, Bath BA1 5NH

  • Music and performing arts space

Artworks Media, Unit 7.02 Paintworks, Arnos Vale, Bristol BS4 3EH

  • Meeting/creating space

Bath Spa Live

CAMERA – Centre for the Analysis of Motion, Entertainment, Research & Applications, University of Bath

The Centre for the Analysis of Motion, Entertainment Research and Applications (CAMERA) has been funded for an initial five-year period by the EPSRC, AHRC and the University of Bath.




BathSPARK brings together people of Bath who work in tech. It aims to create opportunity, encourage diversity and spark new ventures.


West of England Growth Hub

This is a free government funded service to connect SMEs and start-ups to the right support they need to succeed and grow. Information can be accessed via the website or through a one to one interview with a Business Navigator who can give advice on the best ways of accessing funding, support and training. Covers Bath, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.



Around Bristol

Introduction to Robotics
Free workshop for SMEs in the West of England

Date: Wednesday, 15th and Thursday, 16th May 2019
Location: Bristol Robotics Laboratory, UWE Bristol, Frenchay Campus Time: 10:00 – 16:00 (both days)

Register here: https://uwe.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/intro-to-robotics-may-2019
See also: http://www.rifbristol.com/sabre

Robotics and automation are key to economic growth – and SABRE is committed to ensuring as many SMEs as possible benefit from these technologies. Whether you’re looking to operate a robot arm for the first time, or want to undertake research and development in a full-equipped workspace with expert technical support – SABRE can help. This is a great opportunity if you have a real interest in robotics: the two-day workshops are FREE to attend and their technical assistance is free or subsidised depending on your project.

BBC New Creatives

We’re working in partnership with Calling the Shots on an exciting talent development and commissioning programme, New Creatives. If you are aged 16 – 30 and are keen to develop ideas that explore interactive experience then do check out the opportunity on our website.

As a network we are keen to bring new talent into the field of creative tech. Our programmes strive to help to diversify the sector in the South West by valuing and supporting new voices, new approaches and new ideas. So, if you’re new to creative tech but have a brilliant idea – then this opportunity might just be for you.

Launch Space at UWE

If you’ve graduated from any UK university in the last three years and have a business idea you would like to put into action, Launch Space can help you. They’ll give you free desk space and business support for 12 months so you can focus on achieving great things.

Located in the new £16m University Enterprise Zone on Frenchay Campus, Launch Space provides physical incubator space and enterprise support for graduate start-up businesses. They’re currently hosting a range of graduate-led, innovative and high-tech businesses at various stages on the start-up journey – so if you join, you’ll be working alongside other graduate entrepreneurs: https://www1.uwe.ac.uk/about/enterprise/launchspace/residentsstories.aspx

Bristol VR Lab

The Bristol VR Lab is based on the Harbourside near the Watershed. It’s a shared workspace to research and develop Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality technology, applications and projects. They provide a shared studio with high end VR, AR and 360 equipment available at all times, experts on hand to offer advice, and engaging industry talks and events on a number of subjects related to the field. If you are researching, developing, experimenting or building a business in VR, AR or MR, this is the place for you.

Contact: ben@opposablegames.co.uk

Open Studio Fridays at the Pervasive Media Studio

Do you want to find out what is going on at the Pervasive Media Studio? Are you interested in meeting the residents, talking about a specific project or curious about pervasive media? Why not pack a sandwich and join them for one of their Lunchtime Talks and Open Studio Friday. Lunchtime Talks are informal presentations by Studio residents and associates. They normally take place at 1pm on Friday, are free and open to everybody who’s interested. After the Talk, they invite you to stay for the afternoon to continue the conversation or work on your own projects. They provide chairs, tables, wireless and a great space. You bring what you need to work with (laptop/mobile). Open afternoons close at 5pm. Let them know if you’d like a tour of the space and they’ll be happy to show you around just before the talk.

Contact: studio@watershed.co.uk to book your place on a tour.

Around Exter

Creative Entrepreneurship Panel 5

The Fifth Creative Entrepreneurship Panel takes places on 2nd May 2019 4pm-6pm @The Deck: Innovation Centre, University of Exeter, Streatham Campus, Rennes Drive, Exeter

A discussion on the viable business models of events management, festivals and production in the arts and the wider impact of events on the strategic development of cities and the reputations gained by locations after organizing or hosting these events.

Can festivals, events and producing live arts do, on mass, what individual venues are not able to? How can we find innovation in the industry? Is the value or meaning of ideas higher when presented through the production of events? How important is the space to developing the identity of the event? How can we gain the right project management skills to turn an idea into reality? How do we find the right clients or audiences? How much does producing depend on public funding support? What are the benefits in being temporary and transient? What is important about building a legacy and/ or repeating an event? How to maintain your creative vision/ integrity while also managing the expectations of other partners and artists?

Come and join the discussion…

Exeter Art and Creative Technology Network

The next Exeter Art and Creative Technology Network (EACTN) meeting is on Tuesday 4th June at Kaleider Studios – https://www.meetup.com/techexeter/

This is a community meetup run by TechExeter CIC for people who work in tech. This super-friendly group includes engineers, designers, software developers, data scientists and many more tech related professions.

Art and Energy – Solor Workshops

Art and Energy are running workshops making solar artwork in May, June and July. Act fast, these get booked up quickly. The workshops aim to:

  • Give people skills for the future
  • Support participants access to energy advice through our collaboration partners
  • Empower and encourage creatives to approach energy

Around Falmouth

Residency at CAST

To be launched later this Spring – CAST and Falmouth University will be promoting an opportunity for a SWCTN funded residency that will enable SW artists to join the CAST community, to get to know artists working in the building and be part of an active creative hub, as well as benefiting from CAST’s very active public programme, with its national and international connections. The residency will provide studio space at CAST for a three-month period.
For further information about the residency please contact Adam Stringer – adam.stringer@falmouth.ac.uk

CAST is a Helston-based organisation that provides studios for artists but also presents a very active programme of arts events, providing valuable opportunities for artists and others within the creative industries to network and collaborate. CAST has an excellent café and a high spec black box screening room, created to show moving image work by Steve McQueen, Francis Alys, Laureana Toledo and Andy Holden as part of the Groundwork programme organised by CAST in collaboration with Tate St Ives, Newlyn Art Gallery, The Exchange and Kestle Barton. Building on the profile achieved through Groundwork, CAST continues to present a programme of outstanding moving image work by international artists, as well as contributing to the professional development of artists based in Cornwall.
For more information about CAST visit www.c-a-s-t.org.uk

Residency at Porthmeor Studios

On Saturday the 18th of May in St Ives, Falmouth University and the SWCTN will be co-hosting an event with Porthmeor Studios to launch an exciting opportunity for SW-based & SW-connected artists using technology focussing on immersion, to work within the renowned studios. For further information please visit – https://www.bsjwtrust.co.uk/overview/news/

PORTHMEOR STUDIOS (The Borlase Smart John Wells Trust)is a charity offering high quality, affordable studio space for artists working in Cornwall. It owns and manages three historic artists’ studios: Grade II* Porthmeor Studios in St Ives and Trewarveneth and Grade II* Anchor Studio in Newlyn providing 22 studios for artists and 2 studios for St Ives School of Painting plus fishermen’s cellars at Porthmeor. Porthmeor Studios, on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, has attracted artists of international significance for over 130 years including Ben Nicholson, Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, Roger Hilton and Sandra Blow.

Coastal Communities – wAVE

Falmouth University is very excited to announce a collaborative project, led by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP with Falmouth University and the Cornwall Museums Partnership, for a £700,000 project that will transform museum and heritage spaces in Cornwall.

The wAVE (Augmented & Virtual Experiences) project is being funded by the Government’s Coastal Communities Fund and will use cutting edge technology to create new and innovative visitor experiences in five local museums.

Each participating museum (Telegraph Museum Porthcurno; Castle Heritage Centre, Bude; St Agnes Museum; Isles of Scilly Museum and the Old Guildhall Museum & Gaol, Looe) and the local community will work with Falmouth University’s experts in Virtual, Augmented and Immersive technologies to bring museum artefacts and local heritage to life.

Visitors could meet exciting local historical figures, explore historical sites, see ancient relics from a bygone era or be propelled into the depths of the ocean in a sunken wreck.

It is estimated that wAVE’s digital innovations will help bring nearly 25,000 additional visitors a year to the five towns in which the museums are located; driving the local economy. For more information please contact Falmouth University project lead, Professor Tanya Krzywinska.

Support at Falmouth University

Games Academy

The Games Academy at Falmouth University attract ambitious students looking to get ahead in the games industry. Our courses include, Web Development, Immersive Computing, Game Development, Games Design, Game Art, Creative Virtual Reality, Creative Robotics, Creative App Development, Computing for Games and Artificial Intelligence for Games.

Falmouth University’s Games Academy is host to a dedicated group of researchers who come from a broad range of academic disciplines and backgrounds.

We have team-focused, professional-standard studios, dedicated craft room, breakout spaces, and a range of industry-standard software, management tools and game engines.

Please contact heidi.ball@falmouth.ac.uk for further information or call 01326 259277

Product Development Centre

The Product Development Centre at Falmouth University offers a wide range of innovation and support services to individuals, micro businesses and SMEs, with a focus on taking ideas from concept to realisation.

Services include –

  • Product design and development, intellectual property generation and protection
  • Product brand alignment, styling, 2D and 3D CAD
  • Access to specialist prototyping facilities and equipment (3D scanning, 3D printing, CNC machining, laser profiling).
  • Expertise on product manufacture (Design for manufacture)
  • Electronic product development including SMART devices and wearable tech
  • Running prototyping trials
  • Making physical prototypes
  • Market testing and business experiments

Please contact adam.stringer@falmouth.ac.uk for further information or call 01326 370743.

Launchpad at Falmouth University

Launchpad is an elite programme for graduates, undergraduates or people with relevant business experience who want to create high growth digital start-ups. The application process is designed to be challenging as we only want to work with the best. If you think you have what it takes to create a high-growth start-up then find out more below.


Around Plymouth

Immersive Vision Theatre (IVT)

The IVT is a transdisciplinary instrument for the manifestation of material and imaginary worlds.

As a shared Virtual Reality the IVT is used for a range of learning, entertainment and research activities, including transdisciplinary teaching, bleeding edge research in modelling and data visualisation. There are opportunities for technical and creative residencies and performances. Public shows for schools, colleges and community groups can be tailored for specific learning and curricula requirements. We can fly you to the edge of the observable Universe, across microscopic nano-landscapes, or immerse you in interactive data-scapes.

Environmental Futures and Big Data Impact Lab

The Immersive Vision Theatre and i-DAT are involved in the delivery of the Environmental Futures and Big Data Impact Lab, delivering environmental data harvesting and visualisation through immersive media experiences.

The Environmental Futures and Big Data Impact Lab project gives Devon-based SMEs the opportunity to work collaboratively with our scientists and technologists to develop new products, services or processes with a focus on big data and safeguarding the environment.

This £6.4m part-funded ERDF project is delivered by the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth with the Met Office, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Rothamsted Research, Plymouth College of Art and Exeter City Futures. The University of Plymouth’s partnership is housed in the Sustainable Earth Institute.

Market Hall

Currently under refurbishment, once completed the Market Hall will be a digital centre for arts, community activity, enterprise and visitors. The unique facility will also include an immersive dome, the first in Europe, which will boost i-DAT’s transdisciplinary research into immersive media, game technologies and the shared Virtual Reality of the Fulldome. The project is led by local social enterprise, RIO (the Real Ideas Organisation), in partnership with Plymouth City Council, the Institute of Digital Arts and Technology (i-DAT at Plymouth University), City College Plymouth, Devonport High School for Boys and seven of the brightest tech companies in the region. In addition to providing office, lab and teaching space for the partners, the Market Hall will also offer space for events and meetings, a range of education programmes and a digital arts visitor centre.

Illuminate – CALL for proposals from emerging Artists
Deadline for proposals is 29th April 2019

In 2018, Plymouth’s Illuminate light festival saw the Royal William Yard transformed by interactive artworks, projections and light-art installations. Works were created by local, national and international artists, alongside students from Plymouth College of Art, the University of Plymouth and local school children. The festival welcomed 28,000 visitors across the 4 days of the event.

Illuminate light festival is a powerful immersive experience, offering audiences beautiful projection mapping; playful light art installations; joyous performances and myriad opportunities to engage, participate and make. With light art created by artists, technologists, designers, architects, performers and children alike, the festival responds directly to the core values of Mayflower 400: Freedom, Humanity, Imagination, and Future. Illuminate invites students/emerging artists to propose a light-based installation work for the 2019 festival.

Techstars Startup Weekend Plymouth

The first ever Techstars Startup Weekend Plymouth is taking place on April 26th-28th at Ocean Studios, on the theme of Health and Wellbeing! The event is being run by the University of Plymouth’s The Bridge initiative alongside global start-up support company Techstars, with sponsorship from eHealth Productivity and Innovation in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly (EPIC), which is led by the University, Plymouth’s Real Ideas Organisation (RIO) and Plymouth Science Park.

The first Plymouth Startup Weekend will see participants take part in a three day long business challenge that will result in groups pitching businesses to a panel of judges. The event is a pilot for a series of Startup Weekends written into the Cultural Development Fund, which Plymouth was recently awarded.

Aimed at anyone with a health and wellbeing idea, the weekend includes workshops, support from experts to help teams develop their idea and plenty of coffee! Prizes and support packages are on offer from the coaches involved, and the South West Academic Health Science Network (SWAHSN). These include ongoing mentoring and support from Canopy Coaching, SWAHSN and RIO, the use of working space and opportunities to pitch ideas to investors. All attendees also receive a free .CO domain and access to the Google for Entrepreneurs partner network.

For more events around the South West, see https://southwestcommunities.co.uk/calendar/ which has grassroots events across the region.