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Call for Bath automation experts
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Call for Bath automation experts to join South West Creative Technology Network

Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Bath Spa University is calling on those working in the field of automation in and around Bath to apply for one of 24 paid fellowships being offered by the Southwest Creative Technology Network (SWCTN), ahead of the entry deadline on 31 January 2019.

SWCTN, a £6.5m government-backed project which is supporting the expansion of creative technology in the region, is entering the second of its three, year-long programmes, each of which explores different creative technology themes: immersion, automation and data. The second theme - automation - will begin in April 2019.

Each 12-month programme offers 24 research and development (R&D) fellowships to experts in their field, from academia and industry, worth £15,000 each. As well as the bursary, fellows will receive technical and critical support, as well as access to professional and peer contacts in the arts, technology and academic sectors.

Each programme’s cohort is made up of eight creative industry fellowships, eight academic fellowships and eight ‘new talent’ fellowships at graduate level from across the South West. After an initial three month ‘deep thinking’ exercise has been completed and the fellows have shared their learnings, there is a call for prototypes, an R&D phase and an industry showcase to finish each year.

Bath Spa University’s Centre for Cultural and Creative Industries (CCCI), one of the lead project partners for SWCTN, is hoping to attract a number of industry, academic and new talent fellows specifically from Bath and the surrounding areas and will offer support and guidance to all applicants throughout the application process.

Kate Pullinger, Director of Bath Spa University’s CCCI, said: “We want Bath to be represented as best as possible in this second SWCTN cohort, so if you or your business is involved in or thinking about automation in any way, we’d love to hear from you. This is a cross-sector programme, which means fellows could be working in any industry, from agriculture to hi-tech health. Whichever sector you’re from, we’re here to support you through the application process and, if you are successful, beyond.”

Anthony Head, Professor of Digital Media Art and Design at Bath Spa University, is currently a fellow in the first SWCTN cohort, exploring the theme of creative technology and immersion. His initial area for research is in creating a comparative demonstration which looks at the differences in user experience between different forms of 3D immersive media, specifically how the same project shown through different media, for example mobile VR, high-end VR or 360 video, impacts the depth of immersion for the end users and at ways in which certain negative experience issues can be reduced, for example nausea in those wearing VR headsets.   

He said: “SWCTN is a flexible, part-time and subsidised initiative that provides opportunities to think deeply about a topic you care about and to meet other like-minded people who can bounce ideas around with. It’s helping me and other fellows in this first cohort to develop our expertise and broaden our own thinking, which in turn will hopefully make a meaningful difference and create lasting impact for the topics that we are exploring.”

SWCTN is led by the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol), in partnership with Bath Spa University, The University of Plymouth, Falmouth University, Watershed in Bristol and Kaleider in Exeter. The £6.5m grant is part of Research England’s Connecting Capabilities Fund, which supports university collaboration and encourages commercialisation of products made through partnerships with industry.

Mike Phillips, Professor of Interdisciplinary Arts at Plymouth University, added: “We are increasingly engaging in conversations with algorithms that know our deepest desires better than we do.  From algorithms generating our entertainment, Artificial Intelligence predicting our behaviour, to robots nursing our sick, these technologies raise creative, social, economic and ethical questions. We need new business models that can take advantage of the radical impact of these technologies. The SWCTN Automation call challenges the smartest minds in the South West region to engage with these emergent technologies, and hopefully build a better future with our artificial friends.”

SWCTN is rooted in the creative industries but aims to make connections across other sectors. The network’s aim is to generate shared knowledge, boost creative thinking and expertise and create new commercial products and services that no-one has thought to make before.

If you would like to discuss becoming an automation fellow in the next SWCTN cohort, please contact Kate Pullinger on k.pullinger@bathspa.ac.uk.


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Kate Pullinger

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