UWE Bristol to be part of new multi-million-pound creative hub for the South West

Issue date: 26 June 2020


UWE Bristol will join a new creative media powerhouse called MyWorld which is set to create more than 700 jobs and make the South West an international trailblazer in screen-based media, thanks to £46 million funding.

The visionary initiative, led by Professor David Bull at the University of Bristol, will develop major new research and development (R&D) facilities and partnerships connecting regional and national partners with global tech giants, including Netflix, Google, and Microsoft. Together they will pioneer new digital formats and technologies, creating innovative experiences across fiction, documentary, games, and live performance.

The MyWorld creative hub has been awarded £30m from the UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Strength in Places Fund (SIPF) with a further £16m coming from an alliance of more than 30 industry and academic partners joining forces in the five-year scheme due to start by the end of the year.

Professor Mandy Rose, who will lead the UWE Bristol team in MyWorld said: “Whether as a producer of factual TV or virtual and augmented reality, Bristol and the South West has a unique profile and reputation for screen-based media. We’re extremely excited to be part of this project which will enhance the capabilities and effectiveness of the sector at the same time as making sure that it is open to and inclusive of new talent.”

The team of UWE Bristol academics will contribute expertise in immersive media production, and draw on a significant body of research into creative industry ecosystems to understand the impact of the MyWorld project in the region. They will also build on insights and experience developed within a number of UWE Bristol-led creative research projects, including the REACT Hub, South West Creative Technology Network and Bristol & Bath Creative R & D.

The BBC, Aardman Animations, BT, Digital Catapult, and Bristol Old Vic and Theatre Royal Trust, along with a host of other creative companies and sector organisations, are all part of the unique cross-sector consortium. The hub is projected to generate more than 700 new jobs and boost the economy by £223m. It will forge dynamic collaborations between world-leading academic institutions and creative industries to progress technological innovation, creative excellence, inclusive cultures, and knowledge sharing.

In collaboration also with the University of Bath, and Bath Spa University, MyWorld will provide advanced training programmes and talent development feeding into an extensive knowledge exchange network. Accessible facilities are also planned, with Bristol’s Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus, The Bottle Yard Studios, and Bath Spa University as key focal points.

The initiative is among seven projects nationally selected to share £186m government funding as part of the UKRI’s SIPF. The successful projects have all been under development with UKRI pilot funding since last year.

David Sweeney, Research England’s Executive Chair, who leads the Strength in Places Fund, said: “UK Research and Innovation’s flagship Strength in Places Fund is distinctive in specifically targeting investment to foster the local research and innovation ecosystems that can support sustained growth.

“All of these projects have the potential to deliver research and innovation that will transform activity within their target industries, in a way that is deeply rooted in local strengths and well linked to wider local economic plans.”

Photo taken at Creative Producers International Residential Lab at the Watershed, Bristol.

Photo credit: Shamphat Productions

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