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Fellowships and funding

Can the Southwest Creative Technology Network fund your next great idea? Find out more about our fellowships and calls for talent.

Call for Data fellows

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.

Automation Fellows

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 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 and Design.

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 explores the paradox of using algorithms as a means of self-expression and artistic flow.

Immersion fellows

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 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 Manton

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 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 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.

Further information

What's involved

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.

Funding

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).

FAQs

What is the difference between the criteria and the areas you will prioritise under the theme?

All applications must respond to the five core criteria listed in the call. When we assess your applications we will also be looking for any evidence that your prototype responds to the areas that we have 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 will prioritise your application.

What is the timeframe for commercial exploitation and impact?

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 will want to report as many great impacts as we can before then. More importantly we know that you will want to use the momentum of this funding to develop your business so will be looking for plans that are ambitious but realistic. 

I am an academic, can I lead an application?

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 are 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.

Can I submit more than one proposal?

Yes you may, but we strongly advise you to consider how splitting your attention may weaken your proposals. You will not be awarded more than one award that you are leading although you may participate in more than one.

How have the SWCTN Immersion Fellows helped shape the Immersion Prototype Invitation to apply?

The Fellows have been thinking about Immersion, individually and collectively, for the past three months. Their research and our discussions have fed into the way that we have articulated the theme and some of the criteria. The call itself has been written by the SWCTN team.

How will my application be assessed?

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.

Are my expenses covered for interview?

We are not able to cover the cost of travel to interview.

How much time will the Prototype stage need?

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. 

What will I be expected to share after three months of the prototype stage?

We will have a public showcase at the end of June for all of the prototypes. We will be inviting potential investors and funders, influential people from the sector and your friends and peers. We will 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.

Who will own the IP generated through the prototype stage?

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 will need to agree how the IP will be shared between you. We will ask that you share your process openly with the cohort as you go as our intention is that people learn from each other.

How will the cohort relate to the geography of the project?

It is really important to us that the portfolio of projects 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.

What questions does the application form ask?

We thought that it might be useful to see all of the questions in one place, so they are listed for you below.

  1. Email
  2. First Name
  3. Surname
  4. Address
  5. Postcode
  6. A link to a website or online portfolio (more than one is possible)
  7. Project name
  8. Your idea: respond to the interests outlined under 'The Theme: what are we looking to fund in immersion?' (500 word limit)
  9. List the areas of interest and industry/sectors that your team brings together (100 word limit)
  10. Explain how your prototype is commercially viable (250 word limit)
  11. Explain why we should invest in you and your team (250 word limit)
  12. Describe what impact your prototype will have in the South West (250 word limit)
  13. Demonstrate where diversity exists in your proposal (250 word limit)
  14. Project plan -upload a project plan (1 A4 side only)
  15. Upload a spreadsheet with an overview budget.

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