Fellowships and funding
Can the Southwest Creative Technology Network fund your next great idea? Find out more about our fellowships and calls for talent.
The SWCTN fellowship programme
The South West Creative Technology Network (SWCTN) will offer three one-year funded programmes around the themes of Immersion, Automation and Data. As new technologies raise new challenges and opportunities for businesses, this partnership is designed to respond to industry needs across the creative industries, health and manufacturing sectors and drive productivity and innovation.
The grant is part of Research England’s Connecting Capabilities Fund, which supports university collaboration and encourages commercialisation of products made through partnerships with industry. This new network is led by the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol), in partnership with Watershed in Bristol, Kaleider in Exeter, Bath Spa University, the University of Plymouth and Falmouth University.
The Data Fellowship call is now closed but please watch this space for our next call.
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 my fellowship, I will be looking at our non-visual interaction with light. Human interaction with natural light is not just confined to sight; we also sense and react to light and warmth through our skin. This influences our mood, physiology, sleep, capacity to learn, and even the sensitivity of our conscious vision. I want to explore new technologies that will enable us to measure this shared experience and begin to explore the relationship between this and our mental and social health.
Matthew Sergeant is a composer, theorist and senior lecturer in music at Bath Spa University. As an academic fellow in data, Matthew is examining 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. They provide a superabundance of musical material – Spotify’s database alone contains more music than can be listened to in a single lifetime. Here, metadata is collected, collated and tracked. Music is recommended algorithmically. But at one and the same time, sales of vinyl have exponentially increased since 2007. By the end of 2020, vinyl is set to outsell CDs for the first time since 1991. So are these physical and digital worlds being interrelated by users? This project looks at the question both theoretically, and through creative interdisciplinary play.
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 recently completed her practice-led DPhil at the Ruskin School of Art, Oxford University entitled A word in your ear: The undoing of an object as a strategy for learning in Fine Art practice.
This project takes a closer look at her machines, and through the form of a manual, aims to develop an approach which captures how an artist learns, seeking to expose the very particular type of learning that occurs through the process of making an artwork.
Natasha lives and works in Bath. Her painting machines have been written about extensively and exhibited internationally at galleries that include The Drill Hall Gallery (Australia), Yo- Chang Art Museum (Taiwan), The School of the Art Institute Chicago, Modern Art Oxford, Camden Art Centre and The Lowry (Manchester). Natasha is currently Course Leader of the BA Fine Art Course at Bath School of Art.
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 explores the paradox of using algorithms as a means of self-expression and artistic flow.
Ruby Jennings is a set designer and Bath-based New Talent Fellow focused on soft robotics.
In addition to her fellowship, she won an Arts Council England grant for her project, Leviathan, to create a part-crocheted giant soft robotic octopus to promote community engagement with creative technology and tackle social exclusion. With SWCTN New Talent Fellow Joseph Wilk, they were successful in bidding for a SWCTN prototyping grant for Playable Spaces for Urban Places, which will use soft robotics to create malleable and versatile street furniture to make urban spaces more inclusive and welcoming.
Ruby and Joe are also working on the prototyping project, Stupid Cities, for Bristol + Bath Creative R+D, using sensors attached to wheelchairs to create an interactive digital map focusing on accessibility. Ruby and Joseph have set up a company, Little Lost Robot, to deliver the prototypes. Ruby is now one of the first residents at The Studio at Palace Yard Mews, Bath Spa University's new Enterprise and Innovation hub.
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. He teamed up with Ruby Jennings and successfully gained prototype funding from B+B Creative R+D for Stupid Cities, a project that uses sensors attached to wheelchairs and other user generated content like photographs to create an interactive digital map focusing on accessibility.
He is also working with Ruby on the prototype Playable Spaces for Urban Places, which will use soft robotics to create malleable and versatile street furniture to make urban spaces more inclusive and welcoming. He and Ruby have set up a company, Little Lost Robot, to deliver the prototypes. Joseph is also collaborating with Ruby on Leviathan, an ACE funded project that involves creating a partially crocheted giant robotic octopus to engage people positively with creative technology. Joseph is now one of the first residents at The Studio at Palace Yard Mews, Bath Spa University's new Enterprise and Innovation hub, which has also become home to Creative Coding, a meet up that Joseph runs to explore poetic computation.
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 interests in stereo 3D indoor and outdoor projection, 3D drawing and virtual and augmented reality. As an Immersion fellow, Anthony is interested in exploring the unique qualities that different types of immersive experiences have and the impact that combining different forms of immersive media can have on experiences.
What I’m working on:
My starting point is to explore the subtle differences between several forms of immersive media, namely involving 3D graphics. I am converting a project of mine that has previously been displayed as large scale projection (Light Years: Coast), and applying to different types of virtual reality. Through this experiment I am exploring different intensities of immersion as well as encountering issues that arise in creating VR experiences, such as minimising nausea. The experiment also enables me to establish the appropriateness of different forms of immersion for varying needs. Following this initial project, I am intending to explore other potential uses of virtual reality including within the field of architecture, considering how VR can be used to enhance client’s understanding of new buildings.
Expertise and skills:
I am an artist, designer and coder. I create interactive and generative experiences for public audiences. Recent work has included sculpture, stereography, outdoor projection as pubic art, and music visualisation. A majority of my work includes realtime 3D computer graphics and coding in Java or C#. I teach animation and coding and create electronic music. I’m very interested in the future potential of virtual and augmented reality, thinking about a time where current technical limitations are overcome.
Coral is an interdisciplinary artist, technologist, museum curator, games designer and researcher. She is Lecturer in Creative Computing at Bath Spa University. Her research interests include immersive environments for live performance, live-coding, digital museums and game design. She is investigating immersive technologies permeating museum eco-systems beyond the exhibition.
What I’m working on:
Employing immersive technologies to enhance the curatorial work of museums, libraries and archives to engage audiences and researchers in sometimes complicated narratives surrounding collection objects and historic places.
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 a resident at the Pervasive Media Studio and in 2017 was awarded a Bruntwood Judges Prize for playwriting.
What I’m working on:
How can creative digital technology deliver anticipation and recall for an audience in an immersive theatre narrative?
To investigate the methodologies that could deliver a personal experience to an audience member hours before they encounter a live performance, and how the narrative ending could be delivered to the audience member hours after the live performance. Researching what elements of narrative design would need to be included, challenges presented to the script writing, which technological deliverers would be most relevant/inventive, and what role augmented reality might play in delivering story outside of theatre walls.
Expertise and skills:
Playwright, film writer, theatre director, VR director, narrative for gaming.
Each year-long programme will be led by a team of producers working across the region to build creative capacity, generate shared knowledge and maximise potential for specific commercial impact.
Each programme will offer 24 R&D Fellowships worth £15,000 each (8 creative industry Fellowships, 8 academic Fellowships and 8 new talent residencies at graduate level). This fellowship programme will co-design a call for 8 prototype products or services with business partners worth £30,000 each (see below for further information).
All applications must respond to the core criteria listed in the call. When we assess your applications we'll also be looking for any evidence that your prototype responds to the areas that we've pulled out in relation to the theme. These are areas that we think need more investment in the world of immersion. If you meet all of the criteria well, and have a strong idea in relation to those areas, we'll prioritise your application.
We understand that the route forwards for brave and experimental prototypes can be a rocky one and we are committed to working with you throughout that journey. Our project lasts until 2021 so we'll want to report as many great impacts as we can before then. More importantly, we know that you'll want to use the momentum of this funding to develop your business, so will be looking for plans that are ambitious but realistic.
Yes, academics are eligible to lead applications. However, if applying through your academic position, you may need to make a strong argument about why your University is the best organisation to develop and exploit a prototype. Please make sure that you're fully aware of the terms of your employment contract and seek the appropriate approvals. You may alternatively apply through a separate company if you have one, or act as a consultant on an application that someone else leads.
Yes you may, but we strongly advise you to consider how splitting your attention may weaken your proposals. You won't be awarded more than one award that you're leading, although you may participate in more than one.
Eligible applications will be assessed by two reviewers from our partners, fellows and additional industry experts. The reviewers will score against the criteria and will make a recommendation if the the application should be put forward for interview.
A selection panel made up of our partners and additional industry experts will take into account the reviewers' scores and recommendations and will consider the spread of the shortlist (in terms of idea, perspective, background and geography) to select for interview.
We aren't able to cover the cost of travel to interview.
The deliverable for this grant is the prototype and your participation in the process, not time. Please read the brief (particularly the ‘What do we expect?’ section) carefully, and be clear that you can fully commit before applying.
We'll have a public showcase for all of the prototypes. We'll be inviting potential investors and funders, influential people from the sector and your friends and peers.
We'll expect you to have something to show that has been tested with an audience in some form and demonstrates your idea as fully as possible.
Our assumption is that lead applicant for the prototype award will retain ownership of all IP generated. If your application is a collaboration then you'll need to agree how the IP will be shared between you. We'll ask that you share your process openly with the cohort as you go, as our intention is that people learn from each other.
It is really important to us that the portfolio of projects is drawn from across the South West. In selecting the recipients we will be attentive to their geographic spread and support the successful people in developing relationships throughout the region.
We thought that it might be useful to see all of the questions in one place, so they are listed for you below:
- First Name
- A link to a website or online portfolio (more than one is possible)
- Project name
- Your idea: respond to the interests outlined under 'The Theme: what are we looking to fund in immersion?' (500 word limit)
- List the areas of interest and industry/sectors that your team brings together (100 word limit)
- Explain how your prototype is commercially viable (250 word limit)
- Explain why we should invest in you and your team (250 word limit)
- Describe what impact your prototype will have in the South West (250 word limit)
- Demonstrate where diversity exists in your proposal (250 word limit)
- Project plan – upload a project plan (one side of A4 only)
- Upload a spreadsheet with an overview budget.