Bath Spa University to help grow South West into global digital media leader as part of MyWorld
Tuesday, 30 June, 2020
The South West is on track to become an international trailblazer in screen-based media thanks to £46 million funding, which will launch a creative media powerhouse called MyWorld and supercharge economic growth, generating more than 700 jobs.
The visionary initiative, led by the University of Bristol, in collaboration with Bath Spa University, the University of Bath, and University of the West of England, will develop major new research and development (R&D) facilities and partnerships connecting regional and national partners with global tech giants, including Netflix, Google, and Microsoft. Together they will pioneer new digital formats and technologies, creating innovative experiences across fiction, documentary, games, and live performance.
Funding of £30m for the MyWorld creative hub has been awarded by the UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Strength in Places Fund (SIPF), with a further £16m coming from an alliance of more than 30 industry and academic partners joining forces in the five-year scheme which is due to start by the end of the year.
Professor David Bull, MyWorld Lead and Director of Bristol Vision Institute, said: “The South West is already a creative capital in the UK and MyWorld aims to position the region amongst the best in the world, driving inward investment, increasing productivity and delivering important employment and training opportunities.
“This is the beginning of an exciting journey, which will align research and development endeavours across technology and the creative arts, to help businesses realise their innovation potential, raise their international profile, and maximise the advantages of new technologies.”
The BBC, Aardman Animations, BT, Digital Catapult, and Bristol Old Vic and Theatre Royal Trust, along with a host of other creative companies and sector organisations, are all part of the unique cross-sector consortium.
The hub, which is projected to boost the economy by £223m, will forge dynamic collaborations between world-leading academic institutions and creative industries to progress technological innovation, creative excellence, inclusive cultures, and knowledge sharing.
Professor Kate Pullinger, Director of Bath Spa University’s Centre for Cultural and Creative Industries and The Studio at Palace Yard Mews, said: “MyWorld will bring new and exciting opportunities across a range of screen-based media research areas, from film and TV, to VR, AR and streaming. This major investment into the Bath and Bristol region will enable us to further develop our cutting-edge film and TV studios at Bath Spa University and strengthen our contribution to the talent pipeline for the creative industries.
“MyWorld builds on the success we've already had with both the Research England funded South West Creative Technology Network, and the Arts and Humanities Research Council funded Bristol and Bath Creative Research and Development partnership, drawing attention to our work from around the world.”
The project will provide advanced training programmes and talent development feeding into an extensive knowledge exchange network. Accessible facilities are also planned, with Bristol’s Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus, The Bottle Yard Studios, and Bath Spa University as key focal points.
Professor Hugh Brady, Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Bristol, said: “This funding award is tremendous news for the University, the city of Bristol, and the entire South West region, particularly at a time of economic uncertainty that could hit the creative sector hard.
“In recent weeks, screen-based technologies have transformed the way we interact with each other professionally and personally, providing a lifeline in so many different ways. Uniting Bristol’s world-leading interdisciplinary research with the very best creative talent, locally and further afield, will strengthen and expand these relationships, allowing us to collectively cross new frontiers.”
The initiative is among seven projects nationally selected to share £186m government funding as part of the UKRI’s SIPF. The successful projects have all been under development with UKRI pilot funding since last year.