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Southwest Creative Technology Network – Bath Spa University

The Southwest Creative Technology Network sought to build links between researchers, businesses and investors with a focus on enhancing innovation in technology and enterprise.

About the project

In 2018, the South West’s plan to be a world leader in the creative use of digital technology received a significant boost, with the Government announcing a major funding award to strengthen the region-wide creative technology sector – and Bath Spa University was one of the lead project partners.

The Government award came via Research England’s Connecting Capability Fund (CCF), which encourages collaborative projects between universities and other partners to drive forward world-class commercialisation of higher education research and practice.

The South West project was one of just 18 selected for support from across England, and the only one which included a focus on the creative industries. £4.6m was awarded to the networking project from the CCF, with universities and other partners contributing an additional £1.8m.

The three-year project focused on building better links between researchers, businesses and investors through activities such as joint research, seed funding for new business ideas, consultancy and training, the creation of new companies and social enterprises, and public and community engagement.

For further information and to read the final project report, please visit our website.

"We were delighted to be working with organisations across the South West on this innovative project which played to our region's world-leading strengths. This funding helped initiate and strengthen collaborative projects between higher education and the wider community, generating new opportunities to transform how people engage with digital technology.”

Kate Pullinger, Director, Centre for Cultural and Creative Industries

Fellowship Themes

Year one: Immersion (2018)

Year one: Immersion
From spatialised sound to augmented reality overlays, emerging technologies give developers, creatives and performers new ways to blend physical and virtual worlds. The first cohort of fellows and prototype teams focused on the theme of immersion, drawing on experience from across the creative industries and digital sectors.

  • Anthony Head
    Anthony is a Professor of Digital Media Art and Design, artist and designer. His specialist area is in software development, mainly utilising 3D computer graphics for immersive art experiences. He is co-director of the international project, Elastic 3D Spaces, with interest in Stereo 3D indoor and outdoor projection, 3D drawing and virtual and augmented reality. As an Immersion fellow, Anthony explored the unique qualities that different types of immersive experiences have and the impact that combining different forms of immersive media can have on experiences.
  • Coral Manton
    Coral is an interdisciplinary artist, technologist, museum curator, games designer, and researcher. She is also a Lecturer in Creative Computing at Bath Spa University. Her research interests include immersive environments for live performance, live-coding, digital museums and game design. Coral worked with SWCTN to create a prototype, ‘Shared Pasts: Decoding Complexity’, an augmented reality technology project to reveal layers of narratives in historic artefacts and places.
  • Sharon Clarke
    Sharon Clark is a Lecturer in Writing for Theatre and Digital Platforms at Bath Spa University and Creative Director of Raucous, an immersive theatre company that fuses performance and creative technology. In 2018 she worked on the BBC virtual reality film, Is Anna Okay? She is Resident at Pervasive Media Studio and in 2017 was awarded a Bruntwood judges prize for playwriting. As an Immersion Fellow, Sharon explored how creative digital technology can deliver anticipation and recall for an audience in an immersive theatre narrative. 
Year two: Automation (2019)

Year Two: Automation
Automation is changing the way we live. It is increasingly important within the creative industries as well as manufacturing, retail, financial services, and healthcare, to name just a few sectors. Automation could be seen as the ‘quiet’ revolution, re-imagining how we work.

  • Natasha Kidd
    Dr. Natasha Kidd is an artist predominantly known for her automated paintings systems. Situated within the expanded field of painting, her machines emerge out of a desire to make visible the process, action and event of painting itself and to place the viewer directly inside production. Natasha is currently Course Leader of the BA Fine Art Course at Bath School of Art.
  • Ron Herrema
    Ron Herrema is a composer and digital media artist who has a longstanding practice of using algorithmic techniques in his creative work. Currently a Senior Lecturer in Creative Computing at Bath Spa University, his research explored the paradox of using algorithms as a means of self-expression and artistic flow.
  • Ruby Jennings
    Ruby has been working as a visual and multimedia artist for a decade, creating immersive spaces, large scale metalwork, unique sets and sculpture that can be inhabited by the audience. Ruby is also the Creative Director of Little Lost Robot. As an automation fellow, Ruby researched the role of Automata in participatory arts, focusing on the importance of developing communication and emotional interplay through movement. 
  • Joseph Wilk
    Joseph Wilk is a creative coder and Bath-based New Talent Fellow who looked at how the languages of automation and programming can be owned and used by disabled people to express and challenge the world and environment they live in. Through his Fellowship, Joseph aimed to understand how we can design the future of automation with disabled people rather than for them.
Year three: Data (2020)

Year Three: Data
Data and how it’s used consistently influences our choices and opinions, raising questions about data governance, responsibility and ethics. Data has the potential to  offer insights into how ‘things’ work, behave and develop. But with so much data now available to us, the integration of data and how it is governed via Smart City platforms and the Internet of Things is becoming crucial. Developing creative approaches and responses to data generation, and to its capture, management, retrieval and security are therefore at the foreground of this growing interdisciplinary field.

  • Matthew Baker
    Matt is a senior lecturer in Human Biology and Nutrition at Bath Spa. He is interested in exploring the links between nature and human health. For his Fellowship, Matt explored our non-visual interaction with light. He explored new technologies that enable us to measure this shared experience and explore the relationship between this and our mental and social health.
  • Matthew Sergeant
    Matthew is a composer, theorist, and senior lecturer in music at Bath Spa University. As an academic fellow in data, Matthew examined the objecthood of music in the age of big data. Online streaming services have rapidly become a primary means for music’s day-to-day consumption. Here, metadata is collected, collated, and tracked. Music is recommended algorithmically. At the same time, sales of vinyl have exponentially increased since 2007. So are these physical and digital worlds being interrelated by users? Matthews’ project looked at this question both theoretically and through creative interdisciplinary play. 

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