Winners Announced For The UK Research And Innovation Immersive Content Competition

The National Film and Television School (NFTS) and Royal Holloway, University of London, have won a bid to run a new National Centre for Immersive Storytelling following a competition run by UK Research and Innovation. The new £10 million (GBP) centre funded by the government’s Industrial Strategy will develop cutting-edge creative training and research programmers for immersive storytelling to ensure the UK’s creative workforce is the most skilled in the world to use virtual virtual (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) technologies.

The new centre, which will be known as the StoryFutures Academy, will support and co-fund dozens of immersive productions with a focus on storytelling alongside providing experimental labs, workshops, placements and courses. A key element of the £33 million Audience of the Future programmer, part of the government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, the programme aims to pioneer immersive experiences across the industry to raise the UK’s workforce talent level to better compete with the world.

“The UK has an opportunity to lead the world in adopting immersive technology to find new audiences and create ground-breaking content. But to do this we need to develop our creative talent to make the best of this new medium. StoryFutures Academy is a partnership that brings together exceptional researchers, a world-class film school and partners across the industry who will not only support the centre but gain the benefit of its graduates.” Said Andrew Chitty, Audience of the Future Challenge Director, when announcing the winning bidders during a speech at the Raindance Film Festival.

Initially, training will take the form of placements, including boot camp intensive training for established screen industry practitioners, experimental labs, work experience placements and shadowing opportunities. The NFTS and Royal Holloway will then offer five-six short courses available at a range of locations in the UK after a year of learning from experimental labs. The end result will see both institutions launch Masters provision in a range of immersive specialisms. The StoryFutures Academy will also offer paid placements for experts in a range of fields in traditional screen sectors to work with immersive companies and expand their knowledge base.

“From Harry Potter to Downton Abbey, Damien Hirst to Grand Theft Auto, the UK has the most incredible storytellers bringing their art to life for the entire world to enjoy. Immersive technology, such as virtual reality, can transform our traditional creative industries into something even more awe-inspiring for audiences, giving them the feeling of really being there.” Said Science and Innovation Minister, Sam Gyimah: “The new Centre for Immersive Storytelling takes us a step closer to reaching our ambition within the Creative Industries Sector Deal to boost the UK’s place as a world leader in this kind of content by 2025.”

More information on the project and the StoryFutures Academy, including opportunities to get involved, can be found on the UK Research and Innovation website. VRFocus will be sure to bring you all latest on future developments so stay tuned for more.