Southwest Creative Technology Network – Bath Spa University

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

Fellowships and funding

For more information about current and upcoming calls, see our fellowships and funding page.

About the project

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

The Government award comes 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 is one of just 18 selected for support from across England, and the only one which includes a focus on the creative industries. £4.6m has been awarded to the networking project from the CCF, with universities and other partners contributing an additional £1.8m.

The three-year project will focus 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 the latest news about the project, please see: or email us at:

"We are delighted to be working with organisations across the South West on this innovative project which plays to our region's world-leading strengths. This funding will help 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

Year One: Immersion (2018-19)

Please see our Frequently asked questions to find out more.

From spatialised sound to augmented reality overlays, emerging technologies give developers, creatives and performers new ways to blend physical and virtual worlds.

However, to fulfil their potential in terms of use, design and implementation, we need to explore immersive experiences from multiple perspectives and in different domains. While significant investment is being made in a range of platforms to deliver immersive experiences, we want to enable bold, interdisciplinary thinking around future content, tools, services and applications. If the potential of immersion is to be fully realised in new markets and emergent forms of cultural experience, bridges between arts and digital technology, marketplace and research, need to be built.

Our interests in immersive work are wide-ranging, inclusive of VR, AR, Mixed Reality, fulldome, projection mapping, ambient technologies, sound, performance and other creative and exploratory approaches. We are also interested in immersive experiences outside of the creative industries, for example in health, training, distributed manufacture, heritage and education.

The kinds of questions we believe require exploration are:

  • What new understandings of immersion do we need?
  • What blueprints do we need to ensure that immersive applications create convincing and accessible experiences?
  • What technical challenges need solutions to support such experiences?
  • What modes of storytelling are required?
  • How can social, multi-user immersive experiences be created?
  • How do we ensure that the design and implementation of immersive experiences across multiple industrial sectors retain a core focus on human experience?
  • What new tools, products and services can be created?

Year two: Automation (2019)

Year Two: Automation

Why Automation?

Automation is changing the way we live; it is increasingly important within the Creative Industries as well as manufacturing, retail, financial services, healthcare and many other industries. Automation could be seen as the ‘quiet’ revolution - working in the background to assist in creative processes, or gradually transforming agriculture through robotics, or re-imagining how we search the internet. We are looking for people to explore the frontiers of automation technology and its applications.

We are excited about innovative uses of technologies that engage users in hybrid experiences that are ethical, promote wellbeing, connect us to one another and create value (this could be money, enjoyment, understanding, or something else you think the world needs more of). SWCTN is rooted in the creative industries but aims to make connections into other sectors. We want to generate shared knowledge, boost creative thinking and expertise, and create new commercial products and services that no one has thought to make before.

The emerging technologies of Automation give developers, creatives and performers new ways to create work, engage audiences and develop relationships across disciplines. Our interests in Automation are wide-ranging, inclusive of robotics, animatronics, analytics, generative and procedural media (such as games, music and video), literature, conversational Artificial Intelligence, online experiences, installations and performance. We are also interested in Automation experiences outside of the creative industries, for example in health, training, distributed manufacture, heritage and education.

We are interested in how Automation innovates through the application of algorithmic and predictive machine learning systems to cultivate new forms of entertainment, games, cultural analytics, advertising, marketing and its increasing capacity to be a ‘creative assistant’.

There is already ground-breaking Automation work coming out of the South West through the application of autonomous systems to a broad range of areas, from fabrication, health, FinTech, transportation, legal services, agriculture, marine, and robotics. Whilst there has been some innovation in machine learning and algorithmic processes across these sectors, such as social robotics and e-Health, our ambition is to grow new relationships and encourage innovation in other areas.

The kinds of questions we believe need to be explored are:

  • What new understandings of automation do we need?
  • What technical challenges need solutions to support experiences and relationships with and through autonomous systems?
  • What are the ethical, creative and social impacts of automation?
  • How can meaningful experiences be created through a dialogue with Artificial Intelligent systems and physical robots
  • What new roles do authors, creatives and audiences play in an automated world?
  • What new tools, products and services can be created?

Year three: Data (2020)

Year Three: Data

Why Data?

Data is information, and data is everywhere. The SAS Institute (2016) predicted that between 2015 and 2020, big data analytics and the Internet of Things would produce a combined value of £322 billion to the UK economy. Those who create, collect, collate, hold, trade and preserve data are now in a very powerful position. The creative industries and creative technologies are central to this new world, and how they respond to it’s challenges and opportunities are crucial. 

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. 

Creative thinking in this area could unlock new approaches, skills such as visualization, interpretation and story-telling, alongside recent media technologies and machine learning, might be able to help us understand, for example, climate or health data, or bring to life historical archives. Thinking critically about what data we collect and who and what it represents, including how we can navigate and learn from new and rich datasets is an exciting challenge. 


We’re interested in all kinds of questions around data, including: 

  • How can the creative industries and those working with creative technologies respond to data and it’s issues? 
  • What counts as data, and how is it created or generated? 
  • Who should be able to capture data and what forms of governance do we want to create around data capture and representation? 
  • What are the social / legal / moral /ethical obligations on those who capture, store and process our data? 
  • How do people become more aware of the value of their data and it’s uses? 
  • How do we store, retrieve and preserve data for future generations? 
  • How is our behaviour shaped by the data-driven services and apps we use every day? 
  • How can the expertise within the creative industries help to interpret complex data sets?
  • How can data be used effectively to shape the creative industries of the future? 
  • How can data bias, which can reproduce prejudice, be overcome and countered? 
  • How can we support citizens to become more socio-technically literate about Big Data, predictive analytics and the data streams associated with the Internet of Things and Smart Cities? 
  • How can the creative and critical analysis of data help us to navigate the climate emergency and other local and global challenges? 
  • And finally - how can we be more playful with data? 

Interim Report 

Read our September 2020 Interim Report below:

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