Create Fellows: The North West Creative Economy Engagement Fellowships

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Arts Languages and Cultures


The project will support fellowships that aim to support:
- some of the UK's most talented researchers and nurture future leaders
- the broader skills development of high-calibre recent doctoral graduates in the art and humanities, particularly in relation to working with partners to support the wider impact of research.
- projects broadly aligned with the core themes, challenges and opportunities that are highlighted in the Industrial Strategy Green paper
- research which is cross-disciplinary and innovation-orientated"
- the best international talent

Planned Impact

See Case for Support


10 25 50
Title Popup view - Pop up gallery developed out of VR painting for creative economy engagement 
Description A way of viewing as a virtual gallery the products of digital artworks made in VR using the engagement methods developed by the research by Jessica Symons. A key challenge for Augmented and Virtual Reality is people's awareness of the terms themselves. The terms AR/VR mean little to the general public. Since there are already so many apps, technologies, digital and social media tools, there is little incentive for people to try to work out what AR/VR is and its value in their lives. Popup View addresses this knowledge gap by making AR fun, easy and sticky. It provides access to digital artworks via a phone app with a very simple message: 
Type Of Art Artistic/Creative Exhibition 
Year Produced 2019 
Impact The product is being trialled in a number of different contexts, including digital arts and community arts festivals. 
Description The research and engagement activities funded supported a number of researcher-industry partnerships within the regional creative industries sector, aligned with Industrial Strategy interests and priorities. Projects and their findings varied across the 6 fellowships, supporting research and development for industry application, including:
- research focusing on consumer behaviour in multi-channel fashion retailing, using eye tracking technology in-store, online and via mobile (Tupikockaja-Omovie);
- an AI collaboration between Manchester - Metropolitan University and Comma Press, Manchester, developing a 'chatbot' that can have conversations with its users about a selection of short stories (Jackson)
- the promotion of creative employment in peri- urban and rural Cheshire using VR engagement methods (Symons)
- interactive technologies and the mitigation and impact of loneliness (Long)
- AI and haptic musical experiences (Prescott)
- immersive holographic technology for modelling (Gholami)
Exploitation Route They are being taken forward by individual industry partners and also through dissemination of research outputs for academic audiences.
Sectors Creative Economy,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections,Retail

Description The projects supported the ongoing relationship development and management between a multitude of industry partners and early career researchers within the consortia of HEIs involved, relating to the creative economy. Whilst these varied from institution to institution, the development of a suite of projects produced shared learning, for both industry partners and for the Create Fellows, in terms of their own professional development. The project which developed public engagement methodologies in the creative economy using VR in rural Cheshire, led by Jessica Symons, has led to a number of developments, including the upskilling of local artists, digital and rural workers in using VR for creative expression. Symons has now established a company 'Visioning Lab' to continue this on a consultancy basis. Another Fellow, David Jackson is continuing his research on the creative application of AI technology in narrative contexts and how these new forms affect their audiences. Researcher, Narrative and AI as a post-doc researcher at Manchester Metropolitan University. Current projects include: * £1m Innovate UK funded collaboration with SME partners Forever Holdings and Bright White creating VR experiences which allow people to meet their heroes * Immersive storytelling project about acoustic surveillance in collaboration with Digital Storytelling Labs, New York * Working with young carers to communicate and respond to feelings of loneliness and isolation with a digital music application. Funded by the Coop Foundation and UK Government and the Big Lottery Fund * Seed project which looks at how how machine learning tagging data for media could be improved to reduce bias and marginalisation effects for UK young people with South Asian heritage (NNHRC and Wellcome Trust funded) David is the co-founder of Algorithms for Marginalised People (www.ampunit)
First Year Of Impact 2018
Sector Creative Economy,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections,Retail
Impact Types Societal,Economic,Policy & public services

Description Position Paper for Cheshire East Council on developing the creative digital economy, written by Dr Jessica Symons
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact Influenced the development of a rural public engagement programme using digital and virtual reality technologies in community libraries.
Title Using eye tracking and mixed methods to research mobile consumer behaviour 
Description This research methodology is described by the researcher Zofija Tupikovskaja-Omovie following her experience as a Create Fellow. 
Type Of Material Technology assay or reagent 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The research tool has been trialled and the outcomes disseminated through conference papers 
Description Creative VR network in Cheshire East - Dr Jessica Symons 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Dr. Jessica Symons led engagement programme in Cheshire which engaged with 40+ organisations and artists across Cheshire including libraries, community centres, creative digital companies and local authorities, using VR technologies to prompt discussion about creative talent progression and access to training and skills development.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
Description MAPPING YOUR RESEARCH ONTO THE INDUSTRIAL STRATEGY CHALLENGE FUND - part of NWCDTP PGR conference on digital humanities, human technologies 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Workshop on research engagement methodologies with industry partner by CEEF FEllows, led by Symonds
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
Description VR network at University of Manchester - Dr Jessica Symons 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Development of a network of professional practitioners and researchers interested in immersive technologies, which consequently developed into VR Manchester, based at University of Manchester
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019