Future Screens NI

Lead Research Organisation: University of Ulster
Department Name: Faculty of Arts

Abstract

Future Screens NI comprises the two higher education institutions (Ulster University and QUB) and a number of key industrial partners central to the creative economy in the region, including NI Screen, BBC, Belfast City Council, Belfast Harbour, Causeway Enterprise Agency, Digital Catapult, Catalyst Inc., RTE, Games NI, Kainos, Invest NI, Techstart NI, Matrix and Tourism NI.
The Northern Ireland Assembly defines the creative industries as 'those industries which have their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent and which have a potential for wealth and job creation through the generation and exploitation of intellectual property'. The Partnership has, from this, developed a definition of, and a working model for, the creative industries in NI which is focused on participation, cultural and economic growth, and social and economic regeneration placing the Partnership as a leading developmental catalyst in this NI sector.
In the context of Northern Ireland, the creative industries are more than just another key economic sector, generating, according to DCMS figures, £1.01 billion in gross added value of the NI economy, and employing 2.9% of the entire NI workforce. For a region emerging from a period of profound conflict, and social and cultural division and dysfunction, the creative industries sector has continued to offer an alternative and successful paradigm, a new model for cultural expression, personal growth, and economic attainment.
The cluster of organisations involved in Future Screens NI may be defined as:
(a) audiovisual-led, complemented by the strength of the digital sector and the impact of technology in other more traditional sectors, eg. in tourism, heritage, textiles and crafts;
(b) operating across NI as a region, driven by the Belfast travel-to-work-area (add ref to NESTA) but with a region-wide remit linking, in particular, to the North West of the province;
c) a spatially defined multi-industry cluster that is distinctive within the UK, shaped by the complexity of cultural space in the aftermath of 20th-century conflict, a plurality of commercial and cultural relationships including across the border with the Republic of Ireland, the role of economic development bodies such as Invest NI and Catalyst Inc., and the significant investment of the HEIs and FE colleges in the creative industries;
d) comprising emerging animation, games and immersive technologies industries, which although small by international standards, is one of the fastest growing sectors of the NI economy.

The overarching aim of Future Screens NI is to develop a new understanding of the role the creative industries can play in advancing the NI economy both in terms of financial growth and the creation of new employment opportunities. It will do this by researching new technologies and opportunities, developing appropriate educational and training models, placing NI creative businesses in front of international markets, and working with government and other key agencies to ensure sustained growth.
The importance of this intervention is that it establishes the creative industries in NI as a neutral space where contemporary and emerging industrial forms can be advanced in secure settings in a transitional period which is still informed by underlying political tensions. The role of the Cluster as a safe space for high-risk creative endeavour in a low-risk innovation environment, one that fosters experiment and cultural opportunity, cannot be overestimated. As Benedict Anderson (1991) has shown, communities interact through concepts of imagined connection and Future Screens NI will actively work as a hub to create new forms of imagined community which advance and normalise political stability while creating real employment and building economic growth.

Planned Impact

Developing at the 2015 rate identified in Bazalgette of 0.9% of UK, we forecast creative industries (CI) contribution to the economy in Northern Ireland to grow from £797million to £1.2billion by 2025 and to create 9,000 (20-30K forecast by INI) new jobs by 2030. However, as we detail elsewhere in this bid, we feel that an injection of support on the scale provided by the AHRC Creative R&D Partnership will drive growth from 0.9% to 2.7% of UK GVA in the sector generating £2.1 billion GVA and creating 20,000 new jobs in NI.

Specific impacts will include:
1. Enhancement and expansion of R&D capacity, knowledge and skills of CI businesses (micro and SMEs) and their owner/managers. The embedding of new knowledge and core technical/business enterprise skills will bring an in-depth understanding of the commercial reality of doing business in CI in a way that will foster collaboration and growth resulting in
improved productivity and efficiency at an individual firm level and, in turn across sub-sectors.
2. Commercialisation and exploitation of technical/expert knowledge leading to spin out companies, as well as the creation of new processes, products and services.
3. Development of the international commercial capabilities of CI business owners to aid the sector to attract R&D investment from global business.
4. Increased wealth generation and economic prosperity, evident in the creation and growth of companies and jobs, and the enhancement of business revenue and innovative capacity in high performing CI sub-sectors in NI.
5. Establishment of specialised physical Creative Innovation Hubs in Belfast, Newry, Derry and Coleraine.
6. Development of innovative hardware and software solutions for application in creative contexts.
7. Implementation of flexible, agile and bespoke training and accreditation for CPD and technical skills development.
8. Evidence-based and industry-informed recommendations to policy-makers (including Northern Ireland Assembly and Executive), building upon the draft NI Industrial Strategy 'Economy 2030' but also influencing development of future policy and strategy to create, develop and market NI's unique IP for the CI sector so the predicted growth of the sector is realised.
9. Increased productivity of individual high performing (or potential high growth) CI firms.
10. Increased number of ideas driven through to successful product development and commercialisation.
11. Improved efficiency, performance and sustainability of CI firms by targeted interventions that focus on the personal and professional development of their business leaders.
12. New frameworks of leadership development for the CI sector to facilitate collaboration between micro-businesses via HE, local authorities and enterprise agencies to ensure training, advice and mentoring that is fit for purpose.
13. Contribution to regeneration and economic development in the sub-regions of Belfast and areas of the North Coast and Derry/Londonderry by the development of local creative clusters and programme activity.
14. Connection of pockets of excellence across the region harnessing the opportunities afforded through the region's heritage and tourism product.
15. Testing of issues posed by BREXIT in Creative Industries and development of solutions in the cross border area of Derry.
16. Provision of investment and support at the later stages of innovation to translate and bring ideas into commercial reality and on a global platform.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Title XR alley - Belfast Media Festival 
Description Thanks to HTC, Future Screens NI, Digital Catapult NI and BBC Rewind, a collection of exciting and ground-breaking XR experiences and technologies was available at the festival for everyone to sample. A few smaller demos could be found on the first floor of the MAC, as well as a larger display - XR Alley - just across the street on the ground floor of Ulster University, offering some of the world's best XR entertainment including award-nominated content from the 2019 Raindance Festival. This provided an invaluable method for us to get engagment on our funding oppotunites as well as giving the local companies involved in the XR alley some well deserved exposure to the local XR community 
Type Of Art Artistic/Creative Exhibition 
Year Produced 2019 
Impact Gains acquired in public recgonition of what Future Screens can do for those who wish you persue projects and businesses within the XR field, in addition to this we also were made aware of further opportunities that were offered to exhibitors at the XR alley including invitations to futher showcase their work at other events. 
 
Description Ulster University, Experimental Design, NI Screen and Queen's University Belfast are the lead partners in the £13mn UKRI Industrial Challenge Creative Cluster Future Screens NI. The 2016-2017 draft PFG proposes that NI has 'an innovative creative society where people can fulfil their potential'. The draft NI Industrial Strategy and the Invest NI Business Strategy 2017 identify 'digital and creative technologies' as one of six 'broad' areas of the economy where Northern Ireland has 'world-class capabilities, 'further noting that 'NI has gained a global reputation in the creative industries with notable success in the TV and film industry as well as the burgeoning animation sector.' In spite of this there has been significant underinvestment in R&D within the local creative economy. Businesses within the sector face challenges in drawing traditional forms of R&D funding. The Creative Industries Sector Deal (2018) highlights the need to 'provide a more consistent national spread of creative industries' confirming the Belfast region as one of 47 UK creative clusters and noting its 'high concentration and growth'. The Sector Deal states 'The problem is not that London is too big, but that other centres are too small. There is enormous potential to grow other leading hubs across the UK.' Ulster University and NI Screen developed the Future Screens NI Creative Cluster in order to address these challenges by together securing £13mn to invest in R&D within the creative industries in NI. The injection of support on the scale provided by Future Screens NI will drive growth from 0.9% to 2.7% of UK GVA in the sector generating £2.1 billion GVA and creating 20,000 new jobs in NI. Ulster University and NI Screen together nurture the local creative sector and support the development of R&D. The partnership works tightly together meeting on a weekly basis to ensure that the project meets industry research needs and bring the creative industries together at least once a month to drive forward R&D and innovation.

Data from DCMS had suggested that Northern Ireland was the only region in the UK to see a decline in GVA for Creative Industries since 2010 (a 11.7% decrease). However, the revised regional GVA data - used in the July 2019 release - has increased both NI's total GVA and the amount generated by Creative Industries, due to a changing estimate of the 'headquarters effect' and other factors. The GVA for Creative Industries in Northern Ireland (NI) in 2017 was 1.07% of the UK's total. This share has remained low for the entire period of 2010-2017, consistently amounting to c1% of the total UK Creative Industries GVA. This size of share is similar to both Wales and the North East, though the growth over the period is closer to the latter rather than the former. These figures illustrate the important role that FSNI can play in facilitating growth within the Creative Industries albeit in the context of a fragile economy and the more pronounced risk of Brexit within the NI context.

Future Screens NI is a £13mn creative cluster in Northern Ireland. The partnership is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), as well as the industry. It brings together Ulster University, Queen's University Belfast, and key industrial partners, who are at the forefront of the local creative economy. Future Screens NI has the aim of delivering expert technical skills, opportunity and growth across:

• Film and broadcast
• Animation
• Games
• Immersive technologies

Addressing challenges and building on existing strengths in creative industries in the region, areas of focus include:
• Narrative and storytelling in digital content
• Applications of VR/AR in health, tourism and engineering
• Development of a games nexus
• Expanding capacity for large scale film and TV production
• Enhancing the high-level skills pipeline in 2D and 3D animation

Future Screens NI, the partnership between Ulster and NI Screen is a knowledge transfer partnership investing £13mn in R&D within the local creative industries. Together Ulster University, NI Screen and partners have invested £1.9mn in R&D in Year One. Ulster University is the lead partner and provides leadership, academic expertise, and investment throughout and has achieved the following achievements which would not have been possible without the partnership between Ulster University in the project and which address the challenges outlined in the question above:
• Future Screens NI and NI Screen have established a funding ecosystem to direct and support industry and SMEs within the sector to ensure that there is a funding progression pathway.
• The Investment of £1.9 million in the NI Creative Economy in Year One
• Created a local Creative Industries Innovation Hub
• 25 live R&D projects in gaming, med-tech, immersion, animation, mental health and wellbeing, and pain relief which are at the forefront of R&I within new and emerging technologies
• Future Screens NI and NI Screen have hosted over 20 R&D lead events attended by more than 5,000 creative industry representatives and academics
• 22 members of academic staff who are leaders in their field working collaboratively with the industry attended by more than 4,000 Creative industries reps and showcasing 30 local R&D projects
• 4 PhD students undertaking Future Focused research in Cinematics, Design Thinking and Leadership.
• Built a research partnership comprising 20 Lead industry partners including: RTÉ, NI Screen, BBC, BCC, Digital Catapult, Invest NI, Innovate UK, Tourism NI, Retinize, Humain, The Lyric Theatre, and 100 SMEs at the forefront of new immersive and emerging technologies including Alt Animation, Italic Pig Ltd, Taunt Ltd, Sentireal, Sixteen South, Incisiv, PreCog, NEON and JadeBlok.
• Built a global partnership involving the World Building Institute, Experimental Design, Disney, Warner Media, Industrial Light and Magic, HBO and The Romeros.
• Developed the Pixel Mill which is an R&D led Gaming and Innovation Hub which is home to 18 businesses and provides accommodation, mentoring, expertise and leadership development. Including building an R&D led network.
• Created 79 new R&D led jobs within the creative sector in Year 1.
• Worked collaboratively with Italic Pig on the Infinite Hotel which was nominated for Best Immersive Game at Raindance 2019. Italic Pig have been recognised as Game Studio of the Year, one a creative collaborative opportunity with Industrial Light and Magic, and secured the largest local investment in gaming R&D. Ulster University and Italic Pig have developed an R&D led sector changing AI solution to character generation in Immersive Gaming. Ulster University and Italic Pig secured an industry showcase at Beyond.
• Worked collaboratively with Retinize to develop solutions to real-time avatar capture for use in 6DoF (Degree of Freedom) virtual reality, augmented environments, app development, content creation and the pre-visualisation sectors in real-time. Ulster University assisted Retinize to attract significant investment.
• Developed a bespoke R&D led Leadership programme to 100 local creative industry businesses which has resulted in the development of new business models and created 10 new R&D led jobs
• Worked collaboratively with NI Screen develop a 4K rendering which will ensure that animation companies in NI can more cost effectively and efficiently render their content for new market demands, enabling the industry to remain competitive on a global scale.
• Future Screens NI and NI Screen have become embedded as a creative industry initiative within the Ormeau Baths Innovation Hub.
• The Hearios has the potential to stimulate listening skills at pre-school age
• 4k Rendering project has driven industry transformation and improved experience and return within the animation sector.
• Future Screens NI has participated in a series of well-received showcases at SXSW, and New York-New Belfast and is building strong collaborative partnerships with NY, Pennsylvania Los Angeles and China. Therefore network has been established towards realising the Global potential of the project.
• A number of public and sectoral engagement events are in development in partnership with the BBC.
• The Lead2Grow programme which has been developed to generate new leadership models commenced in March 2019 with an initial Lead2Grow Programme which was attended by 211 participants. The programme will go live in October 2019 with 30 registered participants.
• The Future Belfast collaboration with the World Building Institute is well underway. The World Building Framework which is in development has the potential to transform the local creative economy towards prosperity and growth particularly within hard to reach areas.

"Working with Ulster University has ensured we can invest in local talent in way that was never possible before"
Richard Williams, CEO of NI Screen

Future Screens NI (Ulster) and NI Screen together identified the problem of underinvestment in the local creative industries, the need to drive forward research and development within the local creative economy. Together the partnership worked closely with UKRI to ensure that the councils recognised the importance of investing in the regions. The partnership and their credible collaboration helped shape the creative cluster call and ensured that there would be an emphasis on investment outside of London.

Together the partnership build a creative cluster comprising 20 Lead industry partners including: RTÉ, NI Screen, BBC, BCC, Digital Catapult, Invest NI, Innovate UK, Tourism NI, Retinize, Humain, The Lyric Theatre, and 100 SMEs at the forefront of new immersive and emerging technologies including Alt Animation, Italic Pig Ltd, Taunt Ltd, Sentireal, Sixteen South, Incisiv, PreCog, NEON and JadeBlok alongside significant global partners including the World Building Institute, Experimental Design, Disney, Warner Media, Industrial Light and Magic, HBO and The Romeros.

• Working together Ulster and NI Screen secured £6m from the AHRC to which NI Screen Northern Ireland Screen is the national screen agency for Northern Ireland committed a further £4.8mn to invest in R&D within the sector.
• Working together Ulster and NI Screen secured a further £2.2mn from additional industry partners. This would not have been achieved without the strength and commitment of the two lead partners. Ulster and NI Screen.
• Ulster and NI Screen have developed a strong working partnership that meets weekly in order to drive forward local R&D investment and to ensure that once businesses have completed the application and verification processes, they can access finance quickly and efficiently.
• Ulster University and NI Screen work together to ensure that industry applicants are effectively matched to Academic Collaborators to ensure that R&D led projects are co-created, meet the excellence requirements of the AHRC, are deliverable and address industry requirements.
• Together Ulster University and NI Screen have invested £1.9mn. Ulster University and NI Screen provide a unique funding stream in which £100,000 of the finance goes to the industry partner to address their R&D led challenge. This investment has generated 79 jobs.
• Working together in close partnership NI Screen have ensured that Future Screens NI is the strongest project within the entire UK Industrial Strategy Programme. This was announced by Professor Andrew Chitty, Challenge Director - Creative Industries Clusters and Audience of the Future Programme at the AHRC Beyond Conference 2019.

Future Screens NI at Forefront of the Industrial Strategy Programme

• Ulster University and NI Screen have established the Pixel Mill, a unique R&D led Gaming Incubation Hub home to 18 businesses.
• Ulster University and NI Screen have transformed the local creative sector by providing infrastructure, creating a strong ecosystem, supporting industry to advance along the R&D funding pipeline and to access prestigious funding and mentoring opportunities from Innovate UK and Industrial Light and Magic.
• Future Screens NI and NI Screen hosted the NI Assembly STEM All-Party Group in order to ensure that the local STEM ecosystem and Political Structures understand the important role of the Creative Industries in the generation and application of new and emerging technologies.
• Future Screens NI and NI Screen have supported A Baseline Study of Digital Education in Primary Schools. This report was published in January 2020. All of the key stakeholders within the Education and Technology Sector were represented. Key Notes were delivered by the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People and the Chief Executive of the EA. The event was attended by 120 delegates. DigiSkills has been included in the draft Economic Strategy.
• NI Screen and Future Screens NI have developed the Storytelling for the Futures project. Northern Ireland Screen's strategy sets out to develop six 'sectors' within the Northern Ireland screen industries:
1. Large-scale (film and television projects with budgets over $35m)
2. Animation (feature films and series)
3. Television Drama (including children's drama)
4. Independent film (including feature documentary)
5. Interactive (games, VR and AR)
6. Factual and Entertainment Television

Northern Ireland Screen, the Seamus Heaney Centre and Future Screens NI have collaborated in order to determine what the storytelling challenges within each of the six sectors are, how they might be overcome, and what the future opportunities for writers might be. In doing so the partnership has delivered six storytelling workshops attended by 300 participants. 4 participants from the programme have identified storytelling challenges and successfully secured funding from Future Screens NI to address these challenges.
• NI Screen and Future Screens NI have developed a vital research and development project into 4K rendering which is assisting local animation companies in Northern Ireland to more cost effectively and efficiently render their content for new market demands, enabling the industry to remain competitive on a global scale. This initial project has focused upon reducing rendering times, rather than improving processing larger 4K file sizes.
• NI Screen and Future Screens have collaborated to work with Italic Pig on the Infinite Hotel. The Infinite Hotel has achieved significant recognition and was short listed for Best Immersive at Raindance.

https://www.italicpig.com/italic-pig/2019/9/25/italic-pig-nominated-for-raindance-film-festival-immersive-summit-award

The current Character Generator does not function to the level wish Italic Pig wish to achieve. Future Screens NI and NI Screen are collaborating to create a second generation Character Generator that uses fewer assets in an innovative method, and uses machine learning to create believably randomised characters (known as "Randos") that are appealing to the player.

The Infinite Hotel was featured in the Showcase at the AHRC Beyond Conference. Beyond is the annual R&D conference for the creative industries.
In 2019 we will explore the intersection between Artificial Intelligence and creativity. The event took place from the 20-21 November 2019 in Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh.

https://beyondconference.org/showcase/the-infinite-hotel/

• NI Screen and Future Screens NI are collaborating on The Hearios. The Hearios is a new and exciting stop motion animation and live action mixed media series aimed at a pre-school audience featuring a family of musical moles who teach children the important developmental skill of active listening. Future. In order to make The Hearios stand out from its competitors, have carried out user testing with the target audience, in collaboration with QUB, to provide information about the existing listening skills and vocabulary of pre-schoolers and how they are affected by the central conceit of the show. The series has been designed to improve children's active listening skills which have been shown to assist with their development in areas such as speech, language skills and memory. ALT have conducted user testing in order to establish the effectiveness of the show in capturing children's attention to the sounds presented and their development of a vocabulary of sounds. Educational aspects of a series are of huge importance to broadcasters, especially public service broadcasters who have a particular remit to inspire and educate their audiences.

https://altanimation.wetransfer.com/downloads/46cb97ed83a61c13dc7d757eb5d6172220191028135926/da75d8

• NI Screen, Future Screens NI and Sixteen South are collaborating in order to develop and implement new software which will be instrumental in creating a new and bespoke workflow, purely designed to create animated content that can reach its audience directly through a streaming platform which will have a 48 hour turnover for each episode.
• NI Screen, Future Screens NI and Darkley Films are collaborating to deliver a 5 minute live action therapeutic VR experience for victims and perpetrators of mental abuse. This will deliver a training tool for frontline medical and care staff. It is the first VR platform targeted to mental abuse.

Additional Supporting Information
https://vimeo.com/372602129 (Video)
https://tinyurl.com/vydpuku (images)
https://tinyurl.com/rqmkwmy (report)
https://creativeindustriesclusters.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Clusters-Booklet-Story-So-Far-FINAL-web.pdf
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZY6eQbPLGU&feature=youtu.be
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42mItwjPW8I&feature=youtu.be
Exploitation Route The outcomes from Future Screens NI illustrate the impact of investing in place and space, and investing the creative industries. The initial investment has created 79 jobs and stimulated outcomes across a range of areas ranging from rendering, med-tech, gaming for good, animation and VR. The project has emphasised the important role of new, emerging and immersive technology within current society and breadth of application and use.
The project has underlined the importance of STEAM within the economy and education. The term "STEAM" has been devised and used to represent STEM plus the arts - humanities, language arts, dance, drama, music, visual arts, design and new media. Understanding science and mathematics knowledge and practices, as well as technological and engineering practices, has become a priority for educational programs across the world (Kelley & Knowles, 2016) . The policy framework within the UK promotes science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) integration both in and out of schools (STEM Learning, 2018) . Within the Northern Ireland Context the Policy Framework is laid out within Success Through STEM (Department for the Economy, 2011) which was developed in response to the STEM Review in 2009 (Department and Education and Department for Employment and Learning, (2009) . It is noted in the STEM Strategy, that better linkages with local companies, particularly SMEs and micro businesses, will facilitate a more coordinated approach to articulating local demand, improving sector attractiveness, highlighting available opportunities, continuous professional development and careers advice and guidance. Engaging with these companies is the single biggest challenge in taking the STEM Strategy forward (Department for the Economy 2011) . It is Future Screen's NI's position that the challenges facing the STEM community reconcile with the STEAM community. Future Screens NI has developed the much needed infrastructure through which to engage Universities, Industry, SMEs and microbusinesses in the implementation of actions required within the STEM Strategy to address challenges associated with the growth the economy through capacity development. There are important lessons here for the economy and society. The learning within our space reinforces the requirement for credible digiskills within the education system.
Research by Ulster University commissioned by NI Screen and Future Screens NI has shown that Primary Schools teachers have reported low levels of confidence when using computers and digital devices. The report "Digital Education in Primary Schools" authored by Professor Linda Clarke shows that just 57% of Teachers participating in the study reported that they felt fairly confident when using computers and digital devices. A further 10% reporting that they felt threatened by the thought of using a digital device. The report was launched by the NI Commissioner for Children and Young People, Koulla Yiasouma on Thursday the 16th of January at the Ormeau Baths Innovation Hub at an event hosted by both Future Screens NI and Northern Ireland Screen, organisations which are at the cutting edge of rapid advances in digital technology.
The recommendations within the report point towards the need for greater investment in, and a more strategic approach to Digital Education. Northern Ireland is the only region within the UK without a Digital Strategy. The last long-term development plan and ICT framework for ICT policy was set out by the government over two decades ago, namely: the 'Strategy for Education Technology in Northern Ireland'. This challenge has been taken up by the Department for the Economy within the draft Economic Strategy. The report was endorsed by all of the key stake holders within Education including the Education Authority, CCEA, The NI Commissioner for Children and Young People and others.
https://www.futurescreens.org/news/2020/1/16/primary-school-teachers-report-low-levels-of-confidence-in-using-computers-and-digital-devices
Northern Ireland has faced particular challenges in accessing Research Council funding, particularly large scale funding through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ICSF), Innovate UK, Global Challenge Research Fund (GCRF) and other large-scale opportunities. This are not associated with the level of research excellence within the region but as a result of the peripheral location of the region. Future Screens NI demonstrates the importance and impact of investing within the region.
There is broad consensus across the political spectrum to increase total investment in UK R&D. To achieve the target of 2.4% of GDP invested in UK R&D within ten years, and a longer-term goal of 3%, the UK must create a vibrant environment that fosters and encourages research and innovation across public services, universities and business, as well as attracting global investment. However, there are region specific implications associated with the implementation of these targets. Most importantly, there is no guarantee that increases in investment in R&D at the Westminster level will be reflected in the NI budget.
• While the UK spent £527 on R&D per head of population in 2017, there were large differences between the nations. England spent £554 per head and Scotland £466. Northern Ireland spent £371 which is well below the UK average.
• The NI Department for the Economy (DfENI) investment in R&D in 2016 was £47million, which is £25 per head of population compared to the British average of £31 per person.
• In Scotland, the Scottish Funding Council invested £279 million in R&D which is £52 per head of population, which is more than double the local per capita investment of £25 by DfENI, and well above the UK average.
• The level of investment by the Research Councils in 2016 was £32 million £17 per capita in comparison to the UK average of £31 per capita.

The success of Future Screens NI and the recognition that the project is at the Forefront of the Industrial Strategy emphasises the importance of investing in the region inn the context of Excellence and provides a model for Future Investment. The Creative Economy team within the AHRC have created a strong framework to support regional and UK Wide Investment. This is an important finding in the context of the move towards the establishment of Future Funding Streams in the context of Brexit.

https://www.futurescreens.org/news/2019/11/25/future-screens-ni-are-at-the-forefront-of-the-industrial-strategy-programme

There is potential for funding mechanisms of this kind to address the challenges experienced within the region which are associated with:

• Continued disparity in the level of funding invested by DfENI in R&D in comparison with the UK average.
• Reduced draw down of Research Council funding within the region in comparison with the UK average.
• Pronounced challenges in maximising draw down from the large scale opportunities within the ICSF and GCRF.

Future Screens NI is pivotal to deliver:
• The NI draft PFG which proposes that NI has 'an innovative creative society where people can fulfil their potential'.
• The draft NI Industrial Strategy and the Invest NI Business Strategy 2017 identify 'digital and creative technologies' as one of six 'broad' areas of the economy where Northern Ireland has 'world-class capabilities, 'further noting that 'NI has gained a global reputation in the creative industries with notable success in the TV and film industry as well as the burgeoning animation

Future Screen NI has provided a pivotal investment programme which is addressing the long-term and significant underinvestment in R&D within the local creative economy. It is also addressing significant challenges regarding the lack of appropriate infrastructure to drive forward the local creative industries. Through the creation of a Creative Industries Innovation Hub located within Ormeau Baths and ongoing outreach to the North West. However it is essential that Future Screens NI is not considered to be a replacement for an alternative to other public funding streams which creative industries already face challenges in accessing. Future Screens NI is a unique addition to the local funding pipeline and not an alternative to current programmes. Businesses within the sector face challenges in drawing traditional forms of R&D funding. The Creative Industries Sector Deal (2018) highlights the need to 'provide a more consistent national spread of creative industries' confirming the Belfast region as one of 47 UK creative clusters and noting its 'high concentration and growth'. The Sector Deal states 'The problem is not that London is too big, but that other centres are too small. There is enormous potential to grow other leading hubs across the UK.' Ulster University and NI Screen developed the Future Screens NI Creative Cluster in order to address these challenges by together securing £13mn to invest in R&D within the creative industries in NI. The injection of support on the scale provided by Future Screens NI will drive growth from 0.9% to 2.7% of UK GVA in the sector generating £2.1 billion GVA and creating 20,000 new jobs in NI. Ulster University and NI Screen together nurture the local creative sector and support the development of R&D. The partnership works tightly together meeting on a weekly basis to ensure that the project meets industry research needs and bring the creative industries together at least once a month to drive forward R&D and innovation.
Data from DCMS had suggested that Northern Ireland was the only region in the UK to see a decline in GVA for Creative Industries since 2010 (a 11.7% decrease). However, the revised regional GVA data - used in the July 2019 release - has increased both NI's total GVA and the amount generated by Creative Industries, due to a changing estimate of the 'headquarters effect' and other factors. The GVA for Creative Industries in Northern Ireland (NI) in 2017 was 1.07% of the UK's total. This share has remained low for the entire period of 2010-2017, consistently amounting to c1% of the total UK Creative Industries GVA. This size of share is similar to both Wales and the North East, though the growth over the period is closer to the latter rather than the former. These figures illustrate the important role that FSNI can play in facilitating growth within the Creative Industries albeit in the context of a fragile economy and the more pronounced risk of Brexit within the NI context.

ccording to the most recent data produced by DCMS, the Creative Industries has the most jobs (2.0 million). Growth is also apparent within the Digital Sector which accounts for 1.5 million jobs. The number of jobs in the Creative Industries increased by 30.6% from 2011: three times the growth rate of employment in the UK overall (10.1%) (DCMS, 2019[1]). The most recent figures from DCMS show that within Creative Industries, Digital and Telecoms sectors, fewer than 10% of jobs were held by those considered 'less advantaged', compared to the UK average of (32.3%)[2]. The Creative industries and the Digital have higher levels of participation of BAME and a greater proportion of employees who were born outside of the UK. These figures illustrate that capacity exists within the Creative sector to realise diversity and inclusion as exemplified through significant capacity for expansion and some evidence of greater diversity. That said the challenge of delivering diversity and inclusion persists.

Nowhere is this challenge more paramount than within the Northern Ireland context. Northern Ireland represents a society transitioning out of a prolonged conflict. Growth and expansion within the Creative Industries within the Northern Ireland context presents the opportunity to create employment that transcends beyond the challenges of sectarian divisions and in doing so presents opportunities to those people and communities who have as yet been unable to fully benefit. Future Screen NI which is a £13mn creative cluster in Northern Ireland funded by the Industrial Strategy via the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), as well as the industry has openly identified this challenge and taken measures to resolve it. These measures although at an early stage of development have the potential to transform both the creative and employment landscape within the NI context.

The NI Creative Industries Cluster has the potential to be a sustainable creative ecosystem operating at local, national and international levels. It is built upon well-developed resilient and tacit networks and supports, economic, cultural, and social, whilst also having the clear potential for new, exciting and economically sustainable international capabilities. For a region emerging from a period of conflict and social and cultural division and dysfunction, the creative industries sector offers an alternative and successful paradigm for economic attainment, cultural expression, and personal growth. This has generated the potential for the creative industries to provide a more neutral space in a transitional period (outside the accepted cultures of binary opposition), differences between approaches to education and skills across divided communities, and the impact of deindustrialization (especially in working class communities). Whilst recognising that there is need to construct new narratives for the region, which are grounded in the economic, creative, social, and cultural ecology of Northern Ireland, and to bring these stories to the communities where they can most make a difference.
In order to achieve this the project has embarked upon a Future Focused Research and Development Stream with the overall aim of widening participation in the creative industries. This ambitious endeavour is built upon a partnership developed between the Future Screens NI and the World Building Institute in Los Angeles which is led by Future Technologist, Alex McDowell, also well-known for his role as the Creative Director of the Minority Report. World building is a design practice which has been applied to significant societal challenges in a variety of contexts including Berlin and Saudi Arabia. The holistic and collaborative structure which is applied through world building is particularly relevant within the NI context given the unique nature of both the traditional and creative economy, and the significant socio-cultural challenges that persist within a society transitioning from a prolonged conflict. The location of world building within both organic and fluid narrative presents the potential to devise a new framework which can be applied across a variety of significant challenges which persist including the need to generate a social and cultural dividend alongside economic growth, to build inclusivity and to both generate and share prosperity, particularly within communities and populations considered to be left behind. The world building approach both identifies and listens to domain expertise that extends beyond the technical knowledge of both design and production generating seeds which can build a framework with the capacity to propel the development of infrastructure, generate and utilise resources, identify and resolve societal or cultural challenges, empower people and build capacity (McDowell, 2019)[3]. The framework will pioneer new technologies with the overall aim of sharing human and financial resources with those who have as yet been excluded.

There are of course already existing examples of good practice within the NI context. The Gaming industry in NI includes a proliferation of young women entrepreneurs who are at the forefront of technical advances within the region. The region is also home to a number of unique initiative which have the overall aim of broadening access to the creative industries. Future Screens NI have funded an initiative with Farset Labs and researchers at Queen's University Belfast which is exploring the ways in which immersive sound spaces can provide an accessible creative space for disabled musicians. The region is also home to Paper Owl who developed the children's TV series Pablo which follows the adventures of a five year old autistic boy.
The region also has recognised strengths and unrealised potential in VR/AR, Machine Learning and Data Analytics. Future Screens NI has the potential to act as vehicle to stimulate the creative industries and digital sector in a manner which advances the whole of society whilst recognising the need to apply technology towards addressing economic societal challenges in order to achieve better outcomes for the economy, society and the environment. The World Building has the potential be extended towards addressing both the local and global challenge of developing technology for good.
Whilst Future Screens NI identified the need to leverage the social and economic dividend from investment in the Creative industries and is developing a mechanism to deliver greater diversity and inclusion building upon the uniqueness of both the expertise and challenges within the region. There remains the added challenge to government to ensure that data and policy developments keep up.
Sectors Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Government, Democracy and Justice

URL https://www.futurescreens.org/
 
Description Future Screens NI has become an integral part of the creative industries economy in NI. This assertion, evidenced by the stated views of leading companies in the region, is by far the most important thing which can be said about the first year of operations. FSNI has become a recognised R&D funding source alongside longer established bodies such as NI Screen and Invest NI. The decision to install the FSNI offices in the Ormeau Baths complex was also central to the cluster being seen as residing in the industry rather than in the HEIs. The Open Call structure initiated through an Expression of Interest has been vital in advancing the understanding of R&D as opposed to 'normal' product development. The meetings arranged with every applicant have resulted in a more focused R&D project in most cases and where a concept was not fundable the applicant was given support to reapply at a later stage. The 'reverse fellowship concept' has also been more popular than anticipated with the result that it has been rebranded and is being officially launched a Future Fellowships call. There is evidence that in a number of company cases (Alt Animation, ItalicPig) the speed with which funding was allocated allowed for the completion of pitches and product from which significant further funding can be leveraged. FSNI has been central to the emergence of a Belfast City Deal bid and a further FSNI funding application for £2.5 million has been submitted to Invest NI at their request. The Management Team (MT) are far from complacent, however, since the Challenge Call aspect of the work of FSNI has been slower to develop but it is hoped to have one major call live before the end of the calendar year. The positive nature of much of this work is also tempered by over-arching concerns. The much needed debate about the definition of growth in the NI context has been difficult to advance with an industry presumption that 'normal' definitions of extractive, default or spillover economic growth is sufficient to explain the creative industry in NI and indeed to allow it to evolve in a manner which embeds the cluster at the centre of the NI economy. The experience of this first year underlines the developmental thrust of the work of FSNI and this debate will be a key focus of Work Package 2 in the coming year. The governance aspects of the work of FSNI have proven robust and supportive. The weekly Management Team meetings have underpinned the HEI collaboration and the industry partner input has been invaluable to the MT conversations. The support of the major partners in FSNI has also been evident in the work of the Steering Group which has opted to meet three times a year rather than the proposed two and which plays a central role in the assessment of full applications. In general the key partners have been supportive and encouraging where necessary but, more importantly, critical and mentoring when the occasion demanded. While FSNI has, of course, developed a communications policy and a necessary online presence, it is in the field of public visibility that the cluster has been most active, and indeed most effective. Presentations have been made at seventeen major events in NI (many joint presentations with the Director and Deputy Director) and the Director is working with an academic/industry group in Dublin to advance a cluster programme for the Republic of Ireland. FSNI has been represented at leading NI events such as the Belfast Media Festival, conferences and symposia and in the performance space, most notably through sponsorship at the Lyric Theatre where a cluster champion, Dr Geraldine Hughes was performing. There is no doubt this visibility has been central to FSNI having carved out its own identity space in the creative industries sector. Future Screens NI is both integral to and embedded within the creative industries economy in NI. Throughout year one the project has been operating within has been operating in a within a liminal space due to the political crisis and the very recent re-establishment of the NI Executive and Assembly, the continued and pronounced risk of Brexit and the overall fragility of the region's economy. Growth and expansion within the Creative Industries within the Northern Ireland context presents the opportunity to create employment that transcends beyond the challenges of sectarian divisions and in doing so presents opportunities to those people and communities who have as yet been unable to fully benefit. Future Screens NI are unique in their ambition of driving forward opportunity, prosperity and growth in an inclusive manner with the potential to transform the local creative economy. This is demonstrated through the unique partnership with the World Building Institute and Experimental Design in LA. Future Screens NI have adopted a developmental approach within the cluster. This is exemplified through the live Open Call and the one to one capacity building meetings which are held with all applicants to ensure that the finite resources which industry and SMEs are targeted in the most appropriate manner and to reduce the risk of industry and SMEs submitting applications which are outside the scope of Future Screens NI and to ensure that applications are co-created through industry led academic partnerships. This approach has embedded a credible R&D approach within the cluster demonstrated by the current live projects which are being delivered across the themes of animation, VR, AR, Storytelling, AI character acceleration and rendering. This approach was also core to securing a partnership with the Arts Council NI which has resulted in a unique call which has invested £365,00 in the local creative industries for innovative work which includes partnership building across Universities, the creative industries, the artist community, and community organisations with the overall aim of increasing the use of an engagement within new, emerging and immersive technologies. Future Screens NI has been operating in a liminal space: liminal in relation to the absence of a devolved government until early 2020, liminal in relation to the status of the region post-Brexit and liminal in relation to the overall fragility of the region's economy. This fragility is underlined by work undertaken a part of work Package 4 aimed at developing creative industries data particular to NI. Provisional 2017 data from DCMS had suggested that Northern Ireland was the only region in the UK to see a decline in GVA for Creative Industries since 2010 (11.7% decrease). However, the revised regional GVA data - used in the July 2019 release - has increased both NI's total GVA and the amount generated by Creative Industries, due to a changing estimate of the 'headquarters effect' and other factors. Figure 1 shows the growth in GVA in Creative Industries has remained slightly ahead of total GVA growth over the period 2010 to 2017. Figure 1. Changes in GVA 2010-2017 (Source: Creative Industries Economic Estimates 2019 in Northern Ireland) According to DCMS estimates for the UK regions (shown in Table 2), the GVA for Creative Industries in Northern Ireland (NI) in 2017 was 1.07% of the UK's total. This share has remained low for the entire period of 2010-2017, consistently amounting to c1% of the total UK Creative Industries GVA. This size of share is similar to both Wales and the North East, though the growth over the period is closer to the latter rather than the former. These figures illustrate that a central aspect of driving growth for FSNI was to be seen as a focus for both the support of the creative industries and as a 'champion' for the sector in the region. The most important achievement during this year, therefore, has been the embedding of FSNI as an entity in its own right. The decision to site the FSNI offices in the Ormeau Baths industry hub has been central to that perception. Related to this is the embedding of the infrastructure to deliver the project efficiently, the creation of which necessitated prolonged negotiation with University departments unaccustomed to dealing with the novelty and complexities of the cluster programme. Much of this embedding has been achieved through intense engagement with both the local business community and key public bodies, engagement which included one-to-one discussions, meetings and public presentations. Where possible these presentations were delivered jointly by the two HEIs. With regard to R&D collaboration FSNI has to this point funded or committed to funding 25 projects and has invested £1.9million in the creative industries. There has also been a surprising degree of interest from companies in the 'reverse fellowship' scheme, so much so that a decision has been made to formalise the scheme, rebranding it as Future Fellowships which was publicly launched in November. Four Fellows are currently progressing through the approval process and will be announced imminently. A major strategic influence has been the central role of FSNI in the Belfast City Deal application for a Screen and Media Innovation Lab (SMIL). The Screen and Media Innovation Lab (SMIL) is the Universities' bid for capital to provide physical infrastructure to support the rapidly expanding activity in creative industries in the region, to support new creatively-led, technologically-driven R&D and to expand on the successes achieved already in the Creative Industries in Film and Broadcast, Animation, Immersive (VR/AR/MR) and Games Design and Development. Other successes include: • High level of industry engagement in the Cluster as exemplified by attendance at Future Screens NI launch initiatives. • Well attended Lead2Grow Conference and the development and delivery of leadership programmes via Lead to Grow • Support for the Pixel Mill, the games hub developed in collaboration with NI Screen which is currently home to seven SME's engaging in R&D and Games Development. The partnership with Future Screens NI and NI Screen has ensured that these businesses have had access to Incubation Space, Director Shadowing and Capacity building with respect to R&D, Technical Capacity, and Craft • Development of a Future Belfast project with the World Building Institute (to be delivered Feb 2020) • High level of engagement with the Future Screens NI Open Call • 25 live R&D projects which have been funded across a range of areas including VR, Immersive sound, artificial intelligence, storytelling, rendering and animation • 26 projects recently announced in collaboration with the Arts Council NI/ • Creation of a creative industries cluster working group in the Republic of Ireland with government planned for December 2019 • Development of international links - USA, Canada, China, Germany, South Africa. This has included several visits to the project with delegations from New York and Pennsylvania, and strong engagement with potential industry partners. • Collaborative projects with other sectors, particularly the fintech, medtech sectors • Recognition of Future Screens NI as a strategic and valuable STEAM project by the NI All Party Group on STEM and included within the group. • Significant SME and industry support as demonstrated by leverage of £700,000 realised within 2018-19.
First Year Of Impact 2018
Sector Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Government, Democracy and Justice,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections,Other
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Economic

 
Description Future Screens NI is a Member of the STEM APG
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guideline committee
URL http://aims.niassembly.gov.uk/mlas/apgdetails.aspx?&cid=546
 
Description Skills Funding via the Creative Economy and Creative Clusters Programme
Amount £220,000 (GBP)
Organisation Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2020 
End 03/2021
 
Description UK Government: Belfast Region City Deal
Amount £350,000,000 (GBP)
Organisation Government of the UK 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2021 
End 03/2027
 
Title ALT Animation - The Hearios 
Description ALT Animation proposed to carry out research and development with their target audience of their animated series The Hearios which is aimed at a pre-school audience and teaches them important lessons on active listening. With funding from Future Screens NI they planned to structure some research around the development of materials, such as an animatic for a sample episode, and use these artefacts to frame some user testing sessions with a sample of our target audience. The materials developed for the user testing sessions, as well as the results of the sessions in terms of empirical evidence and video footage of the children interacting with the series, formed a compelling proof of concept for them as they look to pitch the series to the international broadcast market. The core conceit of the series is about sound identification and listening skills so this will form the basis of the research that they carried out. In collaboration with Dr Trevor Agus (QUB/SARC) and Dr Tim Fosker (QUB/Psychology) ALT animation tested what pre-schoolers learn about listening from The Hearios. Preschool children were asked to describe sound from the show, either before or after the show. It had been hypothesised that children tested after the show will more frequently use the precise vocabulary of sounds presented (e.g. "squeaking", "rustling"), but those tested before the show will more frequently use general naming descriptions (e.g. "it's a mouse!", "it sounds like leaves"). Preschool children were also presented with two sounds coming from two loudspeakers and asked to choose which stuffed toy (placed on the loudspeakers) is making a specified sound (e.g. "rustling"). A control group completed the same test after watching an unrelated animation geared towards the same age-group. The results of these two experiments helped to establish the effectiveness of the show in capturing children's attention to the sounds presented and their development of a vocabulary of sounds. ALT carried out these activities with as large a sample of their target audience of pre-schoolers as possible within the scope of the funding. They have a wealth of experience of carrying out user testing in the past for shows that we have developed at other studios, so are able to carry out the activities we propose above. The production management team are well equipped to acquire all of the relevant approvals and implement the safeguarding procedures that will be necessary when dealing with pre-school children, in line with the University's ethical standards, and deliver this research efficiently and to a very high standard. This research has enabled them to then tailor our suite of pitch materials with evidence backing up the core educational message for the series and greatly increase our chances of selling the series internationally and raising the finance necessary to go into production. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Successfull creation of a product which was backed by the extensive user testing to determine the effectiveness of their product. As a result of this research ALT Animation were able to produce a full series of The Hearios which boasts 52 episodes at a 7 minute length for each of them, totalling 364 minutes of programming 
URL https://www.altanimation.com/
 
Title Action Sense-Gaming Tool for Pain Relief 
Description Action Sense have developed a methodology which appliesgame technology to provide pain relief during clinically prescribed home exercise routines. Through this unique provision of tailored computer games ActionSense can enhance engagement and completion of prescribed exercises using gamified processes and tasks to aid motivation; also this unique provision will add 3D graphics to augment the presentation of feedback and continuous real-time visualization of clinical data. One of the core challenges is in designing game mechanics that require very spe-cific physical movements as game inputs. In the case of hand and finger-based exercises for arthritis management, sensing hand flexing and extension needs to be the basis of a game control mechanism. This is very specific game input signal. - The motion that generates the input can vary between people due to differing de-grees of arthritis and pain affecting range of movement. Thus, input control must be tailored to each person and adapted over time. - Rehabilitation exercises usually require a focus on repetition, which can also vary per person. Timing and accuracy are often important game control factors that are commonly paired with repetition. However, due to restricted motion of the hand and fingers of a person affected by arthritis, the design of game mechanics need to be focused predominantly on repetition. This restricts the types of games that can be designed and is it more challenging to create fun gameplay. - A core technical challenge is in the real-time transmission of the data from the glove sensors (or other sensors) to the computer in such a way that it is accessible to a game engine. There are two aspects to this: in accessing the data via the communication channel and translating in into a suitable data format, and in ensur-ing real-time performance. User finger joint positions will be used as the basis for the animation of 3d hand models in real time and need to responsive to user movement - i.e. limited lag and suitably high framerate. A suitable means of providing real-time and summative aesthetic performance on a VR or flat screen display, and outcome feedback will need to investigated and tested. Action Sense have pioneered technology which captures finger movement and records data, and supports the guided and gamified exercise. The approach supports real-time visual replaying of user motion alongside rich 3D visualization. This com-bined solution is unique in the data glove market. Currently clinicians use goni-ometers to measure perceived stiffness in patients joint mobility - the latest Action-Sense data glove facilitates automated and intelligent stiffness measurement with cloud storage of patient data. This additional gaming feature will enhance the Action-Sense product offering. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Action Sense have pioneered technology which captures finger movement and records data, and supports the guided and gamified exercise. The approach supports real-time visual replaying of user motion alongside rich 3D visualization. This com-bined solution is unique in the data glove market. Currently clinicians use goni-ometers to measure perceived stiffness in patients joint mobility - the latest Action-Sense data glove facilitates automated and intelligent stiffness measurement with cloud storage of patient data. This additional gaming feature will enhance the Action-Sense product offering. 
URL https://www.actionsense.org/
 
Title Alec Parkin - Research & Development into 4K rendering pipeline for animation 
Description The approach to R&D involved coordination between the associated academic and NI Screen on behalf of local industry. The initial funding would help establish exploratory qualitative research into the problem. This qualitative research included how other production studios in this market are testing and using animated content for 4K rendering. For example, 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story's' visual effects supervisor, John Knoll gave insight into how they utilised and modified Epic's Unreal Engine 4, to allow his team to approach filming the movie in a way they couldn't previously. Knoll spoke at length about how Epic's engine allowed the ILM team to render the beloved, sarcastic droid K-2SO in real time, bypassing the pre-rendering process. As a result, the team was able to see K-2SO on the screen during a specific scene instead of having to implement the rendering and editing after the fact. Knoll explained that achieving final pixels on screen helped with the production of Rogue One - and it marked the first time the studio was able to work with CGI in the moment. The technique was developed by a team at ILM, modifying Unreal Engine 4's source code. Getting an understanding of current hardware used for rendering & look development by different local studios was a major benefit in the decision on how to test animated 4K content during this research. We are imaging 3 different hardware options at different price points would be a good starting point. For example GPU rendering becomes more efficient with 2 graphics cards in a machine - and then there are medium range of graphics cards, but also the high end RTX NVidia cards that are also capable of ray tracing in real time The test animated scene(s) or asset(s) were collected from the different studios which were identified, depending on the type of animated content, there were different test scenes setup. This included 2D puppet animations (CelAction / toon boom / After Effects) and 3D assets (Maya / Blender etc) This bringing together of creativity and industry (Creative Industries) is a major growth area as outlined in the Bazalgette report (2017) and "are of central importance to the UK's productivity and global success". 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact successful creation of a 4k rendering pipeline that when subjected to the test conditions from various local studios was able to perform as expected, this created the ability to render for 4k using a GPU based pipeline creating the ability for local studios to not have to use server farms to render large projects 
 
Title Darkly Films - Mental Abuse Matters 
Description Darkly's approach was to develop and roll out the project 4 stages: workshops, design, build and production, product testing/customer discovery and dissemination. Stage 1: workshops. A series of 2 inter disciplinary workshops at QUB, in partnership with industry. The first was a general collaborative session across disciplines and skill sets articulating and recording best practice. The 2nd is focused on this project, with case studies and working through in the form of practice. 1: Development of best practice: 1 day. (QUB funded) VR technicians, producers, directors crew and creatives (writers, actors, dramaturg) working in the immersive space shared and discussed technique and best practice with academics across psychology, social work, film studies and SARC working in immersive tech. Plenary session where feedback and discussion was recorded for an industry report and/or article. 2: Challenges in narrative, sound and space: 1 day. (Future Screens funded) A more focused workshop where Darkly explored the specific creative, ethical and technical challenges of this project, and market context, using case studies and blocking through action with creatives, production crew and technicians. Invited GP partners, psychologist, social worker and abuse counsellor partners for contributions and discussion. Darkly also brought in their sales agent in at this point to give market perspective i.e. how would this be sold into the healthcare system, what are the market requirements. Stage 2: Design, build and production (Future Screens and Mental Abuse Matters charity funded): Content development, VR environment and sound design, casting, filming and sound recording. Film production. This will be in close collaboration with Retinize, SARC and other partners. Darkley Films and Retinize teams have many years of experience developing, producing and delivering complex film and technology projects. Stage 3: Product testing and customer discovery (QUB and Future Screens funded) Prototype distributed to key stakeholders and partners, in close collaboration with their sales agent. Testing of prototype on non-clinical sample. Sending the pilot to a selected representatives in the NHS and private practice identified through sales agents Feedback and adjustments to pilot Phase 1 roll out to NHS and private healthcare customer base Phase 2 roll out to remaining customer base Stage 3: Dissemination and further Market Research Preparation for phase 4 international client identification and product testing 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact With delivery of the product Darkly could see their VR experience could be used as a training tool and therapeutic aid across a wide customer base. Their customer base includes the healthcare (NHS and private), psychotherapy, social care, academic and charity sectors. VR has been used on a smaller scale for medical projects such as pediatric MRI preparation at King's Hospital in London and PTSD therapy with veterans at Cardiff University and Cardiff and Vale University Health Board (CVUHB). Darkly now aim to roll this pilot out with a view to producing further tailored experiences to healthcare clients, including the NHS. To gauge customer buy in they have road tested our concept with their GP surgery partners, Stockwell Practice and their clinical associates; clinical psychologist and film maker Andy Glynne; practicing social worker and trauma therapist Paul Best at QUB, abuse counsellor partner Carrie Montgomery and our charity and academic partners. All have said this is an excellent product and from their point of view would be a valuable tool in the healthcare marketplace. 
 
Title EnterYes - ONAR 
Description EnterYes created a two-minute narrative example (IP) of ray tracing within Unity and which was produced over a 4-month period. They also produced detailed documentation (IP) that outlines and explains the pipeline and the workflow required for an artist, developer, and creative studio to streamline the transition from an SD render pipe line to a ray tracing High Definition Render Pipeline (HDRP). In the future they will also produce a piece of bespoke and licensable software (IP) that automates aspects of texture generation and HDPR conversions required. From working with the research experts at Future Screens NI they were able to create a solution that automated processes that streamlined a large amount of repetitive work conducted by most industry professionals in this space 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact EnterYes were able to successfully create their HRDP pipeline for the use in Ray-Tracing which has opened a major channel for them to market. The market opportunity is multi faceted. Internally this will allow Enter Yes to become more competitive within the global video games and computer animation market as both a content provider and service provider. Externally Enter Yes will also benefit from creating licensable software and documentation that generates a potential revenue stream by using the narrative video as marketing material for both internal and external benefits. 
 
Title Glenn Patterson - Story Telling for Future Screens 
Description At any one time the Seamus Heaney Centre accommodates some seventeen published - or produced - writers, ranging from full-time to visiting fellow, and including writers for young audiences, writers for screen, radio, stage, as well page (fiction, non-fiction, and poetry), and writers with experience in documentary film, both short and feature-length. The Centre has in recent times actively been exploring other forms of storytelling such as board-game scripting and immersive technologies. The Centre further encourages and facilitates interdisciplinary research and creative projects. It is an increasing requirement for new staff to be able to teach, or demonstrate experience in more than one form of writing. An initial meeting between the Applicant and Associated Academic - immediately following the awarding of funding - identified the writers within the Heaney Centre best able to lead on each of the six proposed seminars. In some cases, this was be instantly obvious: Tim Loane has worked on large-scale television projects such as Versailles and Das Boot; Nick Laird recently scripted an eighty-minute documentary for BBC2. In other cases, the lead writer(s) came at the topic from a less obvious angle. So, Stephen Sexton is a poet, in the early stages of his publishing career, who nevertheless has already collaborated with artist/musician/provocateur Bill Drummond on a documentary for Radio 4 and has an interest in interactive games that encompasses the ways in which the discipline of poetic forms may benefit games' narratives. In all cases, the emphasis was on expanding the participants' understanding of approaches to storytelling, of the opportunities for the wider application of their own existing expertise and of areas where that expertise could be enhanced. This involved an element of (constructive) challenge: an engagement with forms that lie outside the participants' area of interest. Some advance preparation - reading, viewing, or attendance at an event - may be recommended for all participants. The question was the same: 'What can you learn from?' Seminars took place in the Seamus Heaney Centre and were three hours in duration. Though they were guided primarily by their own needs, the seminars included, in their introductory section, a summary of the lead writer's own creative and professional pathway. (The Associated Academic, to take only one example, having focused exclusively on novels for the first few years of his professional writing life, has in the decades since written television and radio documentaries, screenplays, stage plays and libretti as well as memoir and essays to accompany the work of photographers and visual artists.) Each participant was then offered a follow-up session with the writer(s) leading the seminar, within two weeks of the seminar itself, at which point further areas of bespoke training and/or collaboration could be agreed. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Participants responded well to them seminars and the feedback from participants was positive which resulted in several later collaborations and further training were conducted 
 
Title Italic Pig - Proceedural Character Generator using Machine Learning 
Description The R&D development method used by Italic Pig on this project took the form of iterative cycles to design, build and test. Evaluation at the end of each development cycle was assessed through data analysis of the proc-gen character metrics, and through rapid evaluation using the custom made crowd-based filtration system (Rando-Tinder). An evaluation of aesthetic qualities of the characters can be scaled up using a cost effective, crowdsourced testing with Prolific (https://www.prolific.ac) or something similar. In order to overcome the obstacles outlined above, the aim of this project was to develop: ? custom rigging solution allowing for rapid base-layer generation ? real-time skin binding for fluid animation ? larger tank of skeletal and textural assets (understanding that a degree of selection is necessary but not the answer) ? hybridisation of bespoke animations with procedural in-game responsiveness ? seed-based algorithm to ensure maximum diversity and recall ? crowd-based filtration system (Rando-Tinder) to weed out seeds that break suspension of disbelief ? tailored viable character design using case-based machine learning via evolutionary neural network The majority of research and programming that was to be completed by Italic Pig lead programmer Noel Waters with support from Dr Darryl Charles who is a Future Screens NI team member. In addition to support they received from Dr. Charles, they found themselves in the fortunate position of having a strong relationship with both HTC & Oculus, and anticipated that they could draw from their industry knowledge and contacts should they require further advice, guidance or come upon any serious roadblocks that they are unable to solve. Each project feature required rapid implementation and frequent internal testing to ensure that were achieving our goal. Testing conducted using Italic Pig's in-house team, bolstering data with an online crowdsource service, offering access to thousands of anonymous human opinions for a reasonable cost. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact This project was primarily about player engagement. The games industry, not to mention the screen industry in general, is insanely competitive. Screens are everywhere, each offering a different compelling form of entertainment. The two greatest challenges are discoverability and retention. The VR market is still made up of prosumers and early adopters. VR is still looking for its "Fruit Ninja" or "Killer App" - many genres have ported, few have stuck, but they have yet to experience a game built uniquely for VR that cements its position in the market. The goal with The Infinite Hotel was to focus on the demographic, and the limitations of the medium. The three commonalities found between all VR users were: 1. They're looking for immersion (what the tech is built for) 2. They're not afraid to pay for experiences (definition of early adopters) 3. They have limited physical space. With this information from the research conducted Italic Pig were able to further formulate a contructive way of assessing the viability of VR projects while also including the use of machine learning and proceedural programming to create something that is truly unique to the games indsutry as a whole, the ability to create truly random characters that all feel unique, this to date, is something that a multitude of games studios have tried to achieve since the beginning of video games, however this research shows that it no longer an impossibility and more so now, it would appear to be the future of games as we know them 
 
Title JadeBlok - Creative Content Compliance Gateway 
Description The R&D was focused on developing a technical middleware solution which establishes the context and framework for interoperability between multiple users or content platforms operating across differing jurisdictions and variable contexts/sectors. Initiated Project: • Resource Mapping • Contracts, Agreements, Policies • Team Engagement - Roles & Responsibilities • Tasks & Schedules Instigate Partnerships: JadeBlok partnered with academics from Ulster University's Creative Industries Institute and Computer Science Research Institute to support, enhance and advise on the development of an Interoperable Data Gateway System to be trialled in a live environment on completion. Partnership with Sentireal will facilitate the development of a live testbed for solution testing. • Darryl Charles (AI, Core Investigator) asked to provide expertise in the application of data analytics, distributed ledger technology and machine learning to facilitate interoperability as a part of middleware solution that privileges content access based on consensus and rule-based protocol. He will also provide advice on the recruitment of outsourced developers. • JadeBlok has agreed with David Trainor of Sentireal® to develop a virtual test bed for the demonstration of use case scenarios that are relevant to the regulation of digital content. These will provide a modelling solution in a specifically designed environment which can examine particular aspects of the challenge. Define Protocol Parameters/Prototype Design and Testing: • Professor Hui Wang refined the architecture for the proposed prototype to orient the solution towards content regulation. • This design implemented and developed as a prototype built upon the Linux Hyperledger Fabric DLT using a modular approach. Reporting - Slide Deck and Demonstration Software: • The commercial viability of the prototype became the focus of an investor-oriented slide deck setting out the business case, strategic plans and channels to market. • This also included a demonstration video of the prototype for the purposes of explaining and promoting the solution. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact JadeBlok were able to successfully text and deploy a prototype version of their product which went to testbed and performed as expected, this means that the product should be ready to bring to scale 
URL http://www.jadeblok.com/
 
Title Neon - Talking Sense 
Description In the team Neon were the project management lead partner and administrator for Talking Sense. The project took 3 months. Neon bought the Charisma.ai story editor license for 3 months from To Play For as well as their expertise, workshop input and technical support. Neon owns all IP on Talking Sense. Please see detailed biographies under Team to fully understand the expertise of each partner. The first part of the R&D activity was a scoping workshop to be delivered by Annette Parry from To Play For in Belfast along with Neon and Ulster University academics Stephen Gallagher and/or Micky Keenan. This outlined their considerations in terms of thinking about the sorts of conversations they want parents to have on the AR platform,taking in to consideration the following: what exactly it is we want to learn; the type of voice that will be used i.e. pitch rate should it be AI or synthetic; refine the proof of concept outcomes; how to enhance learning from proof of concept; to define the analytics in terms of which words will be used. Following the workshop Neon also consulted with parents of children with ASD and autism charities to ensure that real needs are being met. Parents will say what help they need and the ongoing conversation is based on pre- recorded conversation pathways. Neon then analyse the impact of this conversation AR training tool by analysing the levels of increased understanding and insight into parents' experience, interaction, emotion and mood through the following dynamic machine learning processes and analytics which enable detection of words used and also detect facial expressions through the emotion engine where it is possible to: monitor whole experience; analyse specific words used; track the whole story; analyse which words affect which emotion; through the platform detect whether dialogue makes person happy or unhappy; and awareness of changes in the emotion of the person. The end user data is all anonymised. Neon recorded outputs from all workshop activities. Neon then met with Stephen Gallagher and Micky Keenan to refine the proposition. This was consulted on with Annette Parry (expert advisor). Once signed off, Neon set up second workshop with Annette Parry, Brian Coyle and Alec Parkin to scope the approach to building the AR app. They then applied to R&D Apple Enterprise Account for limited distribution so that they were able to demo the proof of concept on a phone/ipad. Foolowing this they integrated user testing at each key phase of the proof of concept build. Once proof of concept was complete Neon facilitated the final testing with 10 parents of children with ASD. Neon is also responsible for collating all data and analytics. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Notable developments from this research were that Neon were successfully able to produce a working proof of concept piece that provided better support for parents of children with ASD, due to the fact that most ASD treatment courses have very long waiting lists to get on to them this project from Neon shows that it is able to create a product capable of filling in the gaps that are left by these long waiting lists and serving patients who need it. 
 
Title Retinize- Digital Humanoids 
Description Future Screens NI and Retinize have produced real time digital humanoids that are multi-faceted. The techniques applied combine a high resolution hyper realistic photo scan of a performer alongside a motion capture suit and high end smartphone. The motion capture suit will allow for accurate recording of body movements, while the high end smartphone will allow for highly precise facial capture for a relatively low cost (in comparison to existing facial capture methodologies and technologies). This allows an almost true to life capture to be undertaken rapidly but at a vastly reduced cost when compared to current high end options currently on offer, such as pure volumetric capture. This methodology will also help to improve on some of the limitations of these systems, especially facial recordings. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Retinize and Future Screens NI have addressed this issue by creating a service that streamlines this whole pipeline enabling us to rapidly produce content for film, TV, gaming and immersive media which provides clients with the highest quality digital humanoids, in an efficient and cost effective way, that allows them to tell their stories. Retinize then assess their project, storyboards, and ideas, and guide them towards the best method to achieve their vision. With subsequent increases in quality and decreases in production time. Together they have created a showcase of the latest techniques of various capture methods (such as volumetric performance capture and various motion capture methods) that would allow for an easy side by side comparison. In order to allow clients and creatives to make an informed choice regarding capture methodologies and pursue the best path forward for their project. An additional benefit is that this showcase acts an educational tool for sectors of the creative industry and give a greater understanding of each process to the relevant people, allowing for faster and more accurate future decisions. This research is informing the kind of facilities required by local industry going forward in relation to motion capture technology through any investment from the Belfast City Deal initiative. Retinize Future Screens NI have produced a service that streamlines the production pipeline enabling us the rapid production of content for film, TV, gaming and immersive media which provides clients with the highest quality digital humanoids, in an efficient and cost effective way, that allows them to tell their stories. Retinize then assess their project, storyboards, and ideas, and guide them towards the best method to achieve their vision. The creation of a showcase of the latest techniques of various capture methods (such as volumetric performance capture and various motion capture methods) that would allow for an easy side by side comparison. In order to allow clients and creatives to make an informed choice regarding capture methodologies and pursue the best path forward for their project. An additional benefit is that this showcase acts an educational tool for sectors of the creative industry and give a greater understanding of each process to the relevant people, allowing for faster and more accurate future decisions. This research is informing the kind of facilities required by local industry going forward in relation to motion capture technology through any investment from the Belfast City Deal initiative. The production of real time digital humanoids that are multi-faceted. The techniques applied combine a high resolution hyper realistic photo scan of a performer alongside a motion capture suit and high end smartphone. The motion capture suit will allow for accurate recording of body movements, while the high end smartphone will allow for highly precise facial capture for a relatively low cost (in comparison to existing facial capture methodologies and technologies). This allows an almost true to life capture to be undertaken rapidly but at a vastly reduced cost when compared to current high end options currently on offer, such as pure volumetric capture. This methodology will also help to improve on some of the limitations of these systems, especially facial recordings. Future Screens have provided the academic expertise via Dr Declan Keeney to deviese a practice-based approach to this R&D activity, exploring each of the processes for creating realistic digital humanoids. This has included different options for volumetric and motion capture that are currently on the market. The team have the trialed various hardware options (e.g. XSens Motion Capture suit) using our own internal equipment, trialling additional equipment and working with project partners who own and are willing to rent additional equipment to conduct the research. SDKs and frameworks have been downloaded and explored to analyse the best software offerings for volumetric and motion capture. Where possible we will maintain a dialogue with the software development companies to establish best practice for using their toolsets. Retinize's has a dual business model, commercial content creation and original content creation. This business model has allowed Retinize to create content for a wide range of industries ranging from broadcasters, car brands, charities and tourism destinations. Within both sides of the business the demand for realistic animation models has increased and become more and more important. Retinize's commercial business focuses on the advertising, museums and tourism industry were project briefs are asking for every increasing realistic environments and characters. Within the advertising industry retail and cosmetic brands want realistic 3D avatars with which they can display their products digital, digital is increasingly seen as an key avenue for engaging with consumers. Digital displays in shops, AR apps which can be accessed at home, even VR fashion shows are becoming more popular. Future Screens NI and Retinize have worked together to identify and address the key challenges associated with making the products look as real digitally as they do in real life and a key component of this is having realistic avatars. Within the museum sector realistic avatars are seen as a potentially important, and cost effective component to bringing exhibits to life. Having realistic digital characters on display that reflect the artefacts can drive visitor engagement and enhance the visitor experience. Also having the characters digital captured means that new content can be created easily meaning that exhibits can be continually updated to keep them engaging for visitors. Using digital technology to engage with the next generation of visitors is seen as increasingly important as they are the generation that has grown up with digital content and now expect any learning to be delivered through the same methods. Within the Tourism sector AR has become an area of interest for providing guides for visitors. We are currently working with a number of tourism bodies to deliver AR guides and feedback that Retinize have received is that realistic digital guides are important. It is the position of Retinize that the significantly increased level of realism achieved with AR avatars resulting from this project will open up a number of commercial avenues for AR tourism not just in the UK but globally 
URL https://www.retinize.com/
 
Title Taunt - Real-Time Rendering Pipeline 
Description In the development of this project, Taunt touched on three major avenues for research; 1. Technology Infrastructure Taunt's first step was to obtain the necessary hardware and software for the creation of their pilot. This included making a decision about which real-time engine to work with, (Unreal or Unity) and what would be the most future-proof hardware to invest in (NVIDIA graphics etc). In addition to this, real-time Ray Tracing is a recent development which is shipped with Unreal Engine 4. The Ray Tracer enables raytraced results for shadows, ambient occlusion (AO), reflections, interactive global illumination, and translucency all in real-time. This is an exciting new technology, but is dependant on a specific hardware setup being implemented. 2. Training & Expertise The funding for this project then gave them the opportunity to bring a team member on board who had extensive experience working in Real-Time. They proved to be a key member at the beginning of the process as the studio staff gots up to speed on the workflow that was to be adopted for the project. During this phase Taunt also worked closely with their industry Partner, Alec Parkin, who is a member fo the Future Screens NI team. He was a key advisor in ensuring our processes are in line or at the cutting edge of the industry and an important figure in the decision making process as they moved forward with the pilot. 3. Production From here they created the project with real-time rendering in mind from the start. This process involved Taunt developing an in-house solution to photogrammetry, character creation, environment creation, animation, lighting and rendering. Each one of these steps in the process needed to have a tailored approach for the end result being in real-time. Throughout the duration of the project they will carried out research within the local industry which took the form of meeting with companies that are in a similar sector to themselves, and investigating what their needs were from a rendering solution. This will allowed them to fully understand the potential of this approach on a broader local scale. 4. Reporting The final R&D phase consisted of compiling the research into a comprehensive guide to adapting this technology into a businesses setup. Following on from this they then dedicated time to reaching out to fellow studios in the animation sector, to discuss their findings with them, and how real-time rendering could be applied to their studio. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact One of the major outcomes from this research is that Taunt are now in the process of opening up conversations with Epic (Unreal engine) and Unity. These two companies are the developers of the two biggest game engines out there, pioneering the Real-Time rendering movement. We hope to open up a collaborative relationship with either of them for the project, in the hope that they will include the pilot amongst their real-time showcases. This will grant Taunt an introduction to new customer segments, such as the game cinematic industry and previsualisation for feature film. Beyond the games industry this technology allows for studios of a similar sized studios to Taunt to access the film and VFX industry, which up until now, due to the complex nature of the projects and the tight turnaround of the deliveries has been increasingly difficult for smaller studios to make a name in. It opens up the doors for more developed partnerships with studios such as Yellowmoon Post Production and similar studios outside of Northern Ireland. 
 
Title World Building Framework-Experimental Design 
Description The definition and use of world building as a narrative design system was created and developed by Experimental creative director Alex McDowell, in the first year of the 21st Century. Like any powerful methodology, it continues to evolve. World building combines the power of rigorous research, systems design, and collective storytelling to make sense of the rapidly changing world. In this unique time of exponential progress and massive disruption, world building enables organizations to envision, design, and experience preferred futures - and create the stable steps to realize these futures. Stories define the vision of Experimental Design which position the studio as an ideal partner in an economic development programme operating within the NI context in which narrative and storytelling has a unique power in the context of both reconciliation and community empowerment. World building is equal parts science and art, empirical and poetic. Worlds create a visual common language that can be understood across an organisation or a society. Stories are used to debate and discuss the future, helping to inspire new approaches to external and internal communications, strategic business planning and partnership development. World building is built upon the premise of future building. World building exists at the intersection of design, technology, and storytelling. In its ability to enable and conjure deeply considered holistic worlds, it represents the foundational narrative and design practice for transmedia, spherical storytelling, and the post-cinematic. World building takes a lateral anthropological stance, borrowing specifically from ethnographic practice to contextualize speculative designs in real world research. World builders as designers then use this ethnographic groundwork as a place from which to begin imagining future possibilities. This process allows designers to intelligently project plausible scenarios and outcomes through the creation of diegetic prototypes and models backed by rigorous research, envisioning desirable futures and the steps taken to realise them. Any storyteller can weave a compelling narrative, but world builders create story worlds that support myriad stories by multiple storytellers across disparate platforms - including those platforms that may not yet be named. Such world building becomes even more powerful when it moves beyond transmedia entertainment experiences and tackles real-world challenges in realworld environments. It is this unique aspect of the world building framework which is crucial in the context of divided contexts which may persist within NI. World building employs a collaborative, ethnographic design methodology that incorporates extensive research at the individual, community, and world scales; a constant redefinition of research questions; a research and world map; as well as expert interviews, speculative fiction, character lenses and development, narrative design, and rapid prototyping. This is the approach that has been adopted by Experimental Design within the NI Context. Future Screens NI and Experimental Design are collaborating to produce a framework which will act as a catalyst for a new grassroots creative industry. The intention is to empower young people to become the creative force through which to drive a community centred economy through the use of new, immerging and immersive technology. Future Screen NI are providing the academic expertise and place related knowledge that is required to achieve this objective credibly and cognisant of the impact of the conflict. The project is also providing much needed developmental support to the £38mn Screen and Medial Innovation Lab project under City Deals. Achievements specific to the Future Belfast project include: • A 3-day industrial and community site visit in May 2019 in which Future Screens NI and Experimental Design engaged with more than 60 creative industries and community representatives and which ensured that the Future Belfast visit was co-created with local creatives and community organisations. • A public event in which Alex McDowell outlined the World Building Framework and it's potential for application within the NI context which was attended by 110 members of the public, representatives of the creative industries, university representative and community groups. • A 4 day site visit in February 2019 in which Future Screens NI and Experimental Design undertook essential fieldwork activity to develop, test and define the framework. • Future Screens NI and Experimental Design met with Mayor of Belfast in order to explore the potential for joint working. • Future Screens NI and Experimental Design met with Deirdre Hargey, Minister for Communities. Future Screens NI and Experimental Design are continuing to engage with the Minister regarding the future development of the project. • Future Screens NI, Experimental Design and partners won the award for Best International Collaboration at the 2020 Irish Education Awards in recognition of both the excellence and impact of the project. https://www.futurescreens.org/news/2020/2/24/future-screens-ni-and-experimental-design-la-win-best-international-collaboration https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Zv7n_B-vPMU0n9TRfEpjuU-Xdw3qBna6 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Achievements specific to the Future Belfast project include: • A 3-day industrial and community site visit in May 2019 in which Future Screens NI and Experimental Design engaged with more than 60 creative industries and community representatives and which ensured that the Future Belfast visit was co-created with local creatives and community organisations. • A public event in which Alex McDowell outlined the World Building Framework and it's potential for application within the NI context which was attended by 110 members of the public, representatives of the creative industries, university representative and community groups. • A 4 day site visit in February 2019 in which Future Screens NI and Experimental Design undertook essential fieldwork activity to develop, test and define the framework. • Future Screens NI and Experimental Design met with Mayor of Belfast in order to explore the potential for joint working. • Future Screens NI and Experimental Design met with Deirdre Hargey, Minister for Communities. Future Screens NI and Experimental Design are continuing to engage with the Minister regarding the future development of the project. • Future Screens NI, Experimental Design and partners won the award for Best International Collaboration at the 2020 Irish Education Awards in recognition of both the excellence and impact of the project. The development of a framework which can redistribute success and resource to previously unreached groups and communities. 
URL https://www.futurescreens.org/news/2019/10/9/future-screens-ni-a-framework-to-deliver-opportunity-an...
 
Description ALT Animation, The Hearios 
Organisation ALT Animation
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Future Screens NI have invested £75,480 in the Hearios project. This includes an R&D grant of £19,980 and academic and research expertise and administrative support. Future Screens NI identified a clear path to a R&D challenge due to the requirement for rigorous user testing and research in to how the project (The Hearios) could be used to aid development of speech, language and memory skills in pre school children. The Future Screens NI team have co-created the solution to the research and development challenge with ALT Animation. This solution was to employ user testing with their target demographic to provide infromation about the existing listening skills and vocabulary of pre-school children and how they are affected by the central conceit of the show. The series has been designed to actively improve these skills which has been shown to have an overall effect on the development of further skills such as speech and memory. Future Screens NI was able to provide ALT Animation with experts who specialise in this field: - Dr Trevor Agus is a hearing researcher based in SARC at Queen's University Belfast, specialising in the auditory perception of everyday sounds. - Dr Tim Fosker is a developmental psychologist at Queen's University Belfast, specialising in the development of speech and language. - Dr Franziska Schroeder is a Senior Lecturer in Music and Sonic Arts at Queen's University Belfast and a Future Screens NI co-investigator. - Agus and Fosker have previously collaborated to develop methods for testing the auditory abilities of preschoolers (e.g. Gillen, Agus & Fosker, Auditory Perception & Cognition, 2019; "Measuring auditory discrimination thresholds in preschool children: An empirically based analysis"). Who were able to proivde expert advise on the subject and in particular to the ffectiveness and use cases for conducting user testing on pre-school children. The proposed user testing was then carried out to establish the effectiveness of the content in capturing the attention of children to the sounds that are presented to them and the development of their vocabularly of sounds. The educational aspects of this series are of major importance to broadcasters, and in this case especially public service broadcasters, which has a strng remit to inspire and educate their young audiences.
Collaborator Contribution ALT Animation is a collective of creative professionals who joined forces to create a production studio focused on delivering high quality story driven animated content, using efficient production pipelines to provide creative solutions and compelling content for global audiences of all ages across multiple platforms. Formed in 2016, ALT Animation is made up of Animation Producers, Tim Bryans and Andrea McQuade and Creative Director Lee McQuade. Since their formation, ALT Animation have been focused on developing a slate of animated properties for the global market. In 2017 ALT Animation optioned an idea for an animated series from children's author and music expert Ann Bryant. The Hearios is a new and exciting stop motion animation and live action mixed media series aimed at a pre-school audience featuring a family of musical moles who teach children the important developmental skill of active listening. Working with Ann and Mark Gordon of Score Draw Music, ALT have developed the idea into The Hearios, a property with true international appeal which promises to couple compelling animated content with a very valuable message for a modern pre-school audience. In the current market, the competition for commissions from broadcasters and SVODs is extremely high with production companies from around the world competing for the relatively small number of shows that get picked up every year. The children's department at the BBC receive over 1,000 pitch documents every year, from which they will commission 3 or 4 projects. Whilst the BBC are obviously the market leader in children's animation, this level of uptake is indicative of the competition that animation producers face to get their content out into market.
Impact ALT were able to succesfully complete their R&D in to user testing for their project which followed in the creation of 52 x 7 minutes of programming being create for the pre-school market
Start Year 2019
 
Description Action Sense LTD, Glove Play Pain relief 
Organisation ActionSense
Country Ireland 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Future Screens NI are investing £32,950 in this project. This includes a £10,000 R&D award, and academic, research and administrative expertise. Future Screens NI have worked with Action Sense to identify a clear R&D challenge born out of a need for improved treatment in rheumatology. The expertise of the Future Screens NI team has been directed towards addressing the research objective of this project and found that it was indeed sound reasoning that this area required more focussed research on developing way to deal with rheumatology related illness. The Future Screens NI team have been involved in the co-creation of the solution to the research and development challenege with Action Sense LTD through the development of a glove which acts as a bespoke digital solution for the use in treatment and rehabilitation of rheumatology. By using state-of-the-art technology sensor infused gloves it has been shown that they can analyse the movement of the hand, wrist and fingers in order to detect and measure the stiffness of the joints. Future Screens NI Co-Investigator Dr Darryl Charles was of particular help to Action Sense LTD in this space due to the need to gamify the solution by providing users clinically prescribed home exercise routines. Through this unique provision of tailored computer games Action Sense LTD would be able to enhance engagement with users by way of including gamified elements to prescribed exercises and tasks which aid motivation. In addition to this it was also pertinent to give the users a sense of feedback from the solution which took the form of 3D graphics which were used to present infomation to the user on how they were doing, this provides a clear and understandible way to show real-time visualisations of clinical data. Currently, the existing software system records finger movement and records data, but does not support guided and gamified exercise. It also does not support sufficient real-time visual replaying of user motion alongside rich 3D visualization. This new combined solution will be unique in the data glove market. Currently clinicians use goniometers to measure perceived stiffness in patients joint mobility - the latest ActionSense data glove facilitates automated and intelligent stiffness measurement with cloud storage of patient data. This additional gaming feature will enhance the ActionSense product offering.
Collaborator Contribution Action Sense LTD have the mission is to provide a range of cost effective and intelligent glove-based solutions to measure and improve joint mobility. Action Sense LTD is lead by Dr Joan Condell PhD MSc BSc, Computer Science Research Institute, SCEIS in CEBE. Joan is found-er, CEO and also Senior Lecturer at Ulster University where she has brought in over 12 million of funding and has over 280 publications. The project addresses a variety of user and clinical problems in current approaches: • Design, prototype and test a more fun way to ensure patients complete their exercises • To relieve pain as patients exercise, as we know exercise will long-term enable pain relief but in short term patients are reluctant to increase or complete exercises due to existing pain that they experience. • Provide the user with a user-centered, structured, progressive, guided exercise programme with informative feedback. • Seek end-user feedback throughout prototype development to ensure user acceptance of final product. A proof of concept serious game will be produced in which the gameplay is based on repetitive hand motion as inputs. This will be approached on a series of fronts in order to achieve the desired end result: • The input will be captured by a bespoke glove created in-house at ActionSense. • The game(s) will be tailored to the requirements of arthritis patients and adapted to individual needs. • Software will provide real-time and summative aesthetically rich feedback to arthritis sufferers, helping guide effective exercises/rehabilitation and motivate users to engage more regularly. • Data will be recorded to enable clinical visualization of movement and changes in movement of fingers over time - either in 3D with within the game engine using hand animations or using summary graphs and charts.
Impact Action Sense LTD were able to relieve pain for patients through longterm exercise using their pain relief gloves which were able to provide the user with a user-centered, structured, progressive, guided exercise programme with informative feedback.
Start Year 2019
 
Description Barclays Eagle Lab Belfast 
Organisation Barclays
Department Barclay Eagle Labs Belfast
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Future Screens NI has located a Creative Industries Innovation Hub within Ormeau Baths Innovation Hub. In the context of Northern Ireland, the creative industries are more than just another key economic sector, generating, according to DCMS figures, £1.01 billion in gross added value of the NI economy, and employing 2.9% of the entire NI workforce. For a region emerging from a period of profound conflict, and social and cultural division and dysfunction, the creative industries sector has continued to offer an alternative and successful paradigm, a new model for cultural expression, personal growth, and economic attainment. Ormeau Baths provides a perfectly appointed space through which to develop and build the Future Screens NI Creative Cluster based upon these objectives. Eagle Labs Belfast is co-located Ormeau Baths and Future Screens NI. Eagle Labs is building a platform to connect the UK's entrepreneurial ecosystem to drive digital skills development to help grow the economy through innovation and change. These objectives reflect the core objectives of Future Screens NI. Together both organisations have developed the creative industries eco system within the Ormeau Baths Innovation Hub. Barclays are focused upon ensuring that NI is one of the best places in the UK to start and grow innovative businesses by promoting creativity and entrepreneurship. Barclays Eagle Labs offer a range of activities and create opportunities for individuals and businesses of all sizes to access a broad range of skills to support this mission. Eagle Labs also support the transformation of businesses, industries and larger organisations through the delivery of structured innovation programming and access to new and emerging technologies. The provision at Eagle Labs has played an essential role in the successful establishment of Future Screens NI as one of the most successful clusters within the creative economy programme. Eagle Labs provide high-potential businesses with the services they need to help their businesses. From each location we cultivate a community of likeminded entrepreneurs who benefit from access to a collaborative co-working and office space, structured mentoring and a curated events programme. The cluster of organisations involved in Future Screens NI may be defined as: (a) audiovisual-led, complemented by the strength of the digital sector and the impact of technology in other more traditional sectors, eg. in tourism, heritage, textiles and crafts; (b) operating across NI as a region, driven by the Belfast travel-to-work-area (add ref to NESTA) but with a region-wide remit linking, in particular, to the North West of the province; c) a spatially defined multi-industry cluster that is distinctive within the UK, shaped by the complexity of cultural space in the aftermath of 20th-century conflict, a plurality of commercial and cultural relationships including across the border with the Republic of Ireland, the role of economic development bodies such as Invest NI and Catalyst Inc., and the significant investment of the HEIs and FE colleges in the creative industries; d) comprising emerging animation, games and immersive technologies industries, which although small by international standards, is one of the fastest growing sectors of the NI economy. The overarching aim of Future Screens NI is to develop a new understanding of the role the creative industries can play in advancing the NI economy both in terms of financial growth and the creation of new employment opportunities. It will do this by researching new technologies and opportunities, developing appropriate educational and training models, placing NI creative businesses in front of international markets, and working with government and other key agencies to ensure sustained growth. Future Screens NI (Ulster) and Eagle Labs Belfast together identified the problem of underinvestment in, and an absence of infrastructure for the local creative industries, and need to drive forward research and development within the local creative economy. Together the partnership have developed the infrastructure and a site of engagement for the local creative industries. Eagle Labs Belfast and Future Screens NI work collaboratively in order to build and support the network and drive forward a culture of public engagement. The partnership between Future Screens NI and Eagle Labs Belfast have resulted in more than 60 EOIs to the Future Screens NI Open Call and 25 live projects. Future Screens NI provide the academic and research expertise to drive forward the cluster and Eagle Labs Belfast provide the necessary infrastructure and support required to build the local creative cluster. The importance of the partnership between Future Screens NI and Eagle Labs Belfast within the Ormeau Baths Innovation Hub has generated the creative industries in NI as a neutral space located in accessible area within Belfast City Centre where contemporary and emerging industrial forms can be advanced in secure settings in a transitional period which is still informed by underlying political tensions. The role of the Cluster as a safe space for high-risk creative endeavour in a low-risk innovation environment, one that fosters experiment and cultural opportunity, cannot be overestimated. As BenedictAnderson (1991) has shown, communities interact through concepts of imagined connection and Future Screens NI and Eagle Labs Belfast together will actively work as a hub to create new forms of imagined community which advance and normalise political stability while creating real employment and building economic growth. Together the partnership build a creative cluster comprising 20 Lead industry partners including: RTÉ, NI Screen, BBC, BCC, Digital Catapult, Invest NI, Innovate UK, Tourism NI, Retinize, Humain, The Lyric Theatre, and 100 SMEs at the forefront of new immersive and emerging technologies including Alt Animation, Italic Pig Ltd, Taunt Ltd, Sentireal, Sixteen South, Incisiv, PreCog, NEON and JadeBlok alongside significant global partners including the World Building Institute, Experimental Design, Disney, Warner Media, Industrial Light and Magic, HBO and The Romeros. In doing so Future Screens NI and Eagle Labs Belfast have established a network consisting of: • 25 live R&D projects in gaming, med-tech, immersion, animation, mental health and wellbeing, and pain relief which are at the forefront of R&I within new and emerging technologies • Future Screens NI and Ormeau Baths have hosted over 20 R&D lead events attended by more than 5,000 creative industry representatives and academics • Established the regular Future Tuesdays Series which takes place on the second Tuesday of every month and is attended by an average of 60 representative • 22 members of academic staff who are leaders in their field working collaboratively with the industry attended by more than 4,000 Creative industries reps and showcasing 30 local R&D projects • 4 PhD students undertaking Future Focused research in Cinematics, Design Thinking and Leadership. • Built a research partnership comprising 20 Lead industry partners including: RTÉ, NI Screen, BBC, BCC, Digital Catapult, Invest NI, Innovate UK, Tourism NI, Retinize, Humain, The Lyric Theatre, and 100 SMEs at the forefront of new immersive and emerging technologies including Alt Animation, Italic Pig Ltd, Taunt Ltd, Sentireal, Sixteen South, Incisiv, PreCog, NEON and JadeBlok. • Built a global partnership involving the World Building Institute, Experimental Design, Disney, Warner Media, Industrial Light and Magic, HBO and The Romeros. • Developed the Pixel Mill which is an R&D led Gaming and Innovation Hub which is home to 18 businesses and provides accommodation, mentoring, expertise and leadership development. Including building an R&D led network. • Created 79 new R&D led jobs within the creative sector in Year 1. • Developed a bespoke R&D led Leadership programme to 100 local creative industry businesses which has resulted in the development of new business models and created 10 new R&D led jobs • Developed the Hearios has the potential to stimulate listening skills at pre-school age • The Lead2Grow programme which has been developed to generate new leadership models commenced in March 2019 with an initial Lead2Grow Programme which was attended by 211 participants. The programme will go live in October 2019 with 30 registered participants. • Future Screens NI and Eagle Labs Belfast are co-located with the Propel Pre-accelerator at Ormeau Baths. The Propel Pre-Accelerator is home to 21 new programmes. The Propel Pre-Accelerator is delivered by IGNITE, a UK based start up support and investment network. • Working together in close partnership Eagle Labs has ensured that Future Screens NI is the strongest project within the entire UK Industrial Strategy Programme. This was announced by Professor Andrew Chitty, Challenge Director - Creative Industries Clusters and Audience of the Future Programme at the AHRC Beyond Conference 2019. Future Screens NI at Forefront of the Industrial Strategy Programme • Ulster University and Eagle Labs have established the Pixel Mill, a unique R&D led Gaming Incubation Hub home to 18 businesses. • Ulster University and Eagle Labs have transformed the local creative sector by providing infrastructure, creating a strong ecosystem, supporting industry to advance along the R&D funding pipeline and to access prestigious funding and mentoring opportunities from Innovate UK and Industrial Light and Magic. • Future Screens NI and Eagle Labs hosted the NI Assembly STEM All-Party Group in order to ensure that the local STEM ecosystem and Political Structures understand the important role of the Creative Industries in the generation and application of new and emerging technologies. • Future Screens and Eagle Labs have worked together to ensure that Future Screens NI is at the Forefront of the Industrial Strategy Programme as announced by Professor Andrew Chitty, Director of the Creative Economy Programme at the Beyond Conferenc 20-21 November 2019 in Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh. https://beyondconference.org/showcase/the-infinite-hotel/ • Alt Animation,. Eagle Labs Belfast and Future Screens NI are collaborating on The Hearios. The Hearios is a new and exciting stop motion animation and live action mixed media series aimed at a pre-school audience featuring a family of musical moles who teach children the important developmental skill of active listening. Future. In order to make The Hearios stand out from its competitors, have carried out user testing with the target audience, in collaboration with QUB, to provide information about the existing listening skills and vocabulary of pre-schoolers and how they are affected by the central conceit of the show. The series has been designed to improve children's active listening skills which have been shown to assist with their development in areas such as speech, language skills and memory. ALT have conducted user testing in order to establish the effectiveness of the show in capturing children's attention to the sounds presented and their development of a vocabulary of sounds. Educational aspects of a series are of huge importance to broadcasters, especially public service broadcasters who have a particular remit to inspire and educate their audiences. https://altanimation.wetransfer.com/downloads/46cb97ed83a61c13dc7d757eb5d6172220191028135926/da75d8 Other specific impacts have included: • Enhancement and expansion of R&D capacity, knowledge and skills of CI businesses (micro and SMEs) and their owner/managers. The embedding of new knowledge and core technical/business enterprise skills will bring an in-depth understanding of the commercial reality of doing business in CI in a way that will foster collaboration and growth resulting in improved productivity and efficiency at an individual firm level and, in turn across sub-sectors. • Commercialisation and exploitation of technical/expert knowledge leading to spin out companies, as well as the creation of new processes, products and services. • Development of the international commercial capabilities of CI business owners to aid the sector to attract R&D investment from global business. • Increased wealth generation and economic prosperity, evident in the creation and growth of companies and jobs, and the enhancement of business revenue and innovative capacity in high performing CI sub-sectors in NI. • Establishment of specialised physical Creative Innovation Hubs in Belfast • Development of innovative hardware and software solutions for application in creative contexts. • Increased productivity of individual high performing (or potential high growth) CI firms. • Increased number of ideas driven through to successful product development and commercialisation. • New frameworks of leadership development for the CI sector to facilitate collaboration between micro-businesses via HE, local authorities and enterprise agencies to ensure training, advice and mentoring that is fit for purpose. • Connection of pockets of excellence across the region harnessing the opportunities afforded through the partnership with Ormeau Baths. Additional Supporting Information https://vimeo.com/372602129 (Video) https://tinyurl.com/vydpuku (images) https://tinyurl.com/rqmkwmy (report) https://creativeindustriesclusters.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Clusters-Booklet-Story-So-Far-FINAL-web.pdf https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZY6eQbPLGU&feature=youtu.be https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42mItwjPW8I&feature=youtu.be https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jgEYcVlpmY
Collaborator Contribution Future Screens NI has located a Creative Industries Innovation Hub within Ormeau Baths Innovation Hub. In the context of Northern Ireland, the creative industries are more than just another key economic sector, generating, according to DCMS figures, £1.01 billion in gross added value of the NI economy, and employing 2.9% of the entire NI workforce. For a region emerging from a period of profound conflict, and social and cultural division and dysfunction, the creative industries sector has continued to offer an alternative and successful paradigm, a new model for cultural expression, personal growth, and economic attainment. Ormeau Baths provides a perfectly appointed space through which to develop and build the Future Screens NI Creative Cluster based upon these objectives. Eagle Labs Belfast is co-located Ormeau Baths and Future Screens NI. Eagle Labs is building a platform to connect the UK's entrepreneurial ecosystem to drive digital skills development to help grow the economy through innovation and change. These objectives reflect the core objectives of Future Screens NI. Together both organisations have developed the creative industries eco system within the Ormeau Baths Innovation Hub. Barclays are focused upon ensuring that NI is one of the best places in the UK to start and grow innovative businesses by promoting creativity and entrepreneurship. Barclays Eagle Labs offer a range of activities and create opportunities for individuals and businesses of all sizes to access a broad range of skills to support this mission. Eagle Labs also support the transformation of businesses, industries and larger organisations through the delivery of structured innovation programming and access to new and emerging technologies. The provision at Eagle Labs has played an essential role in the successful establishment of Future Screens NI as one of the most successful clusters within the creative economy programme. Eagle Labs provide high-potential businesses with the services they need to help their businesses. From each location we cultivate a community of likeminded entrepreneurs who benefit from access to a collaborative co-working and office space, structured mentoring and a curated events programme. The cluster of organisations involved in Future Screens NI may be defined as: (a) audiovisual-led, complemented by the strength of the digital sector and the impact of technology in other more traditional sectors, eg. in tourism, heritage, textiles and crafts; (b) operating across NI as a region, driven by the Belfast travel-to-work-area (add ref to NESTA) but with a region-wide remit linking, in particular, to the North West of the province; c) a spatially defined multi-industry cluster that is distinctive within the UK, shaped by the complexity of cultural space in the aftermath of 20th-century conflict, a plurality of commercial and cultural relationships including across the border with the Republic of Ireland, the role of economic development bodies such as Invest NI and Catalyst Inc., and the significant investment of the HEIs and FE colleges in the creative industries; d) comprising emerging animation, games and immersive technologies industries, which although small by international standards, is one of the fastest growing sectors of the NI economy. The overarching aim of Future Screens NI is to develop a new understanding of the role the creative industries can play in advancing the NI economy both in terms of financial growth and the creation of new employment opportunities. It will do this by researching new technologies and opportunities, developing appropriate educational and training models, placing NI creative businesses in front of international markets, and working with government and other key agencies to ensure sustained growth. Future Screens NI (Ulster) and Eagle Labs Belfast together identified the problem of underinvestment in, and an absence of infrastructure for the local creative industries, and need to drive forward research and development within the local creative economy. Together the partnership have developed the infrastructure and a site of engagement for the local creative industries. Eagle Labs Belfast and Future Screens NI work collaboratively in order to build and support the network and drive forward a culture of public engagement. The partnership between Future Screens NI and Eagle Labs Belfast have resulted in more than 60 EOIs to the Future Screens NI Open Call and 25 live projects. Future Screens NI provide the academic and research expertise to drive forward the cluster and Eagle Labs Belfast provide the necessary infrastructure and support required to build the local creative cluster. The importance of the partnership between Future Screens NI and Eagle Labs Belfast within the Ormeau Baths Innovation Hub has generated the creative industries in NI as a neutral space located in accessible area within Belfast City Centre where contemporary and emerging industrial forms can be advanced in secure settings in a transitional period which is still informed by underlying political tensions. The role of the Cluster as a safe space for high-risk creative endeavour in a low-risk innovation environment, one that fosters experiment and cultural opportunity, cannot be overestimated. As BenedictAnderson (1991) has shown, communities interact through concepts of imagined connection and Future Screens NI and Eagle Labs Belfast together will actively work as a hub to create new forms of imagined community which advance and normalise political stability while creating real employment and building economic growth. Together the partnership build a creative cluster comprising 20 Lead industry partners including: RTÉ, NI Screen, BBC, BCC, Digital Catapult, Invest NI, Innovate UK, Tourism NI, Retinize, Humain, The Lyric Theatre, and 100 SMEs at the forefront of new immersive and emerging technologies including Alt Animation, Italic Pig Ltd, Taunt Ltd, Sentireal, Sixteen South, Incisiv, PreCog, NEON and JadeBlok alongside significant global partners including the World Building Institute, Experimental Design, Disney, Warner Media, Industrial Light and Magic, HBO and The Romeros. In doing so Future Screens NI and Eagle Labs Belfast have established a network consisting of: • 25 live R&D projects in gaming, med-tech, immersion, animation, mental health and wellbeing, and pain relief which are at the forefront of R&I within new and emerging technologies • Future Screens NI and Ormeau Baths have hosted over 20 R&D lead events attended by more than 5,000 creative industry representatives and academics • Established the regular Future Tuesdays Series which takes place on the second Tuesday of every month and is attended by an average of 60 representative • 22 members of academic staff who are leaders in their field working collaboratively with the industry attended by more than 4,000 Creative industries reps and showcasing 30 local R&D projects • 4 PhD students undertaking Future Focused research in Cinematics, Design Thinking and Leadership. • Built a research partnership comprising 20 Lead industry partners including: RTÉ, NI Screen, BBC, BCC, Digital Catapult, Invest NI, Innovate UK, Tourism NI, Retinize, Humain, The Lyric Theatre, and 100 SMEs at the forefront of new immersive and emerging technologies including Alt Animation, Italic Pig Ltd, Taunt Ltd, Sentireal, Sixteen South, Incisiv, PreCog, NEON and JadeBlok. • Built a global partnership involving the World Building Institute, Experimental Design, Disney, Warner Media, Industrial Light and Magic, HBO and The Romeros. • Developed the Pixel Mill which is an R&D led Gaming and Innovation Hub which is home to 18 businesses and provides accommodation, mentoring, expertise and leadership development. Including building an R&D led network. • Created 79 new R&D led jobs within the creative sector in Year 1. • Developed a bespoke R&D led Leadership programme to 100 local creative industry businesses which has resulted in the development of new business models and created 10 new R&D led jobs • Developed the Hearios has the potential to stimulate listening skills at pre-school age • The Lead2Grow programme which has been developed to generate new leadership models commenced in March 2019 with an initial Lead2Grow Programme which was attended by 211 participants. The programme will go live in October 2019 with 30 registered participants. • Future Screens NI and Eagle Labs Belfast are co-located with the Propel Pre-accelerator at Ormeau Baths. The Propel Pre-Accelerator is home to 21 new programmes. The Propel Pre-Accelerator is delivered by IGNITE, a UK based start up support and investment network. • Working together in close partnership Eagle Labs has ensured that Future Screens NI is the strongest project within the entire UK Industrial Strategy Programme. This was announced by Professor Andrew Chitty, Challenge Director - Creative Industries Clusters and Audience of the Future Programme at the AHRC Beyond Conference 2019. Future Screens NI at Forefront of the Industrial Strategy Programme • Ulster University and Eagle Labs have established the Pixel Mill, a unique R&D led Gaming Incubation Hub home to 18 businesses. • Ulster University and Eagle Labs have transformed the local creative sector by providing infrastructure, creating a strong ecosystem, supporting industry to advance along the R&D funding pipeline and to access prestigious funding and mentoring opportunities from Innovate UK and Industrial Light and Magic. • Future Screens NI and Eagle Labs hosted the NI Assembly STEM All-Party Group in order to ensure that the local STEM ecosystem and Political Structures understand the important role of the Creative Industries in the generation and application of new and emerging technologies. • Future Screens and Eagle Labs have worked together to ensure that Future Screens NI is at the Forefront of the Industrial Strategy Programme as announced by Professor Andrew Chitty, Director of the Creative Economy Programme at the Beyond Conferenc 20-21 November 2019 in Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh. https://beyondconference.org/showcase/the-infinite-hotel/ • Alt Animation,. Eagle Labs Belfast and Future Screens NI are collaborating on The Hearios. The Hearios is a new and exciting stop motion animation and live action mixed media series aimed at a pre-school audience featuring a family of musical moles who teach children the important developmental skill of active listening. Future. In order to make The Hearios stand out from its competitors, have carried out user testing with the target audience, in collaboration with QUB, to provide information about the existing listening skills and vocabulary of pre-schoolers and how they are affected by the central conceit of the show. The series has been designed to improve children's active listening skills which have been shown to assist with their development in areas such as speech, language skills and memory. ALT have conducted user testing in order to establish the effectiveness of the show in capturing children's attention to the sounds presented and their development of a vocabulary of sounds. Educational aspects of a series are of huge importance to broadcasters, especially public service broadcasters who have a particular remit to inspire and educate their audiences. https://altanimation.wetransfer.com/downloads/46cb97ed83a61c13dc7d757eb5d6172220191028135926/da75d8 Other specific impacts have included: • Enhancement and expansion of R&D capacity, knowledge and skills of CI businesses (micro and SMEs) and their owner/managers. The embedding of new knowledge and core technical/business enterprise skills will bring an in-depth understanding of the commercial reality of doing business in CI in a way that will foster collaboration and growth resulting in improved productivity and efficiency at an individual firm level and, in turn across sub-sectors. • Commercialisation and exploitation of technical/expert knowledge leading to spin out companies, as well as the creation of new processes, products and services. • Development of the international commercial capabilities of CI business owners to aid the sector to attract R&D investment from global business. • Increased wealth generation and economic prosperity, evident in the creation and growth of companies and jobs, and the enhancement of business revenue and innovative capacity in high performing CI sub-sectors in NI. • Establishment of specialised physical Creative Innovation Hubs in Belfast • Development of innovative hardware and software solutions for application in creative contexts. • Increased productivity of individual high performing (or potential high growth) CI firms. • Increased number of ideas driven through to successful product development and commercialisation. • New frameworks of leadership development for the CI sector to facilitate collaboration between micro-businesses via HE, local authorities and enterprise agencies to ensure training, advice and mentoring that is fit for purpose. • Connection of pockets of excellence across the region harnessing the opportunities afforded through the partnership with Ormeau Baths. Additional Supporting Information https://vimeo.com/372602129 (Video) https://tinyurl.com/vydpuku (images) https://tinyurl.com/rqmkwmy (report) https://creativeindustriesclusters.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Clusters-Booklet-Story-So-Far-FINAL-web.pdf https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZY6eQbPLGU&feature=youtu.be https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42mItwjPW8I&feature=youtu.be https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jgEYcVlpmY
Impact Future Screens NI and Eagle Labs Belfast have established a network consisting of: • 25 live R&D projects in gaming, med-tech, immersion, animation, mental health and wellbeing, and pain relief which are at the forefront of R&I within new and emerging technologies • Future Screens NI and Ormeau Baths have hosted over 20 R&D lead events attended by more than 5,000 creative industry representatives and academics • Established the regular Future Tuesdays Series which takes place on the second Tuesday of every month and is attended by an average of 60 representative • 22 members of academic staff who are leaders in their field working collaboratively with the industry attended by more than 4,000 Creative industries reps and showcasing 30 local R&D projects • 4 PhD students undertaking Future Focused research in Cinematics, Design Thinking and Leadership. • Built a research partnership comprising 20 Lead industry partners including: RTÉ, NI Screen, BBC, BCC, Digital Catapult, Invest NI, Innovate UK, Tourism NI, Retinize, Humain, The Lyric Theatre, and 100 SMEs at the forefront of new immersive and emerging technologies including Alt Animation, Italic Pig Ltd, Taunt Ltd, Sentireal, Sixteen South, Incisiv, PreCog, NEON and JadeBlok. • Built a global partnership involving the World Building Institute, Experimental Design, Disney, Warner Media, Industrial Light and Magic, HBO and The Romeros. • Developed the Pixel Mill which is an R&D led Gaming and Innovation Hub which is home to 18 businesses and provides accommodation, mentoring, expertise and leadership development. Including building an R&D led network. • Created 79 new R&D led jobs within the creative sector in Year 1. • Developed a bespoke R&D led Leadership programme to 100 local creative industry businesses which has resulted in the development of new business models and created 10 new R&D led jobs • Developed the Hearios has the potential to stimulate listening skills at pre-school age • The Lead2Grow programme which has been developed to generate new leadership models commenced in March 2019 with an initial Lead2Grow Programme which was attended by 211 participants. The programme will go live in October 2019 with 30 registered participants. • Future Screens NI and Eagle Labs Belfast are co-located with the Propel Pre-accelerator at Ormeau Baths. The Propel Pre-Accelerator is home to 21 new programmes. The Propel Pre-Accelerator is delivered by IGNITE, a UK based start up support and investment network. • Working together in close partnership Eagle Labs has ensured that Future Screens NI is the strongest project within the entire UK Industrial Strategy Programme. This was announced by Professor Andrew Chitty, Challenge Director - Creative Industries Clusters and Audience of the Future Programme at the AHRC Beyond Conference 2019. Future Screens NI at Forefront of the Industrial Strategy Programme • Ulster University and Eagle Labs have established the Pixel Mill, a unique R&D led Gaming Incubation Hub home to 18 businesses. • Ulster University and Eagle Labs have transformed the local creative sector by providing infrastructure, creating a strong ecosystem, supporting industry to advance along the R&D funding pipeline and to access prestigious funding and mentoring opportunities from Innovate UK and Industrial Light and Magic. • Future Screens NI and Eagle Labs hosted the NI Assembly STEM All-Party Group in order to ensure that the local STEM ecosystem and Political Structures understand the important role of the Creative Industries in the generation and application of new and emerging technologies. • Future Screens and Eagle Labs have worked together to ensure that Future Screens NI is at the Forefront of the Industrial Strategy Programme as announced by Professor Andrew Chitty, Director of the Creative Economy Programme at the Beyond Conferenc 20-21 November 2019 in Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh. https://beyondconference.org/showcase/the-infinite-hotel/ • Alt Animation,. Eagle Labs Belfast and Future Screens NI are collaborating on The Hearios. The Hearios is a new and exciting stop motion animation and live action mixed media series aimed at a pre-school audience featuring a family of musical moles who teach children the important developmental skill of active listening. Future. In order to make The Hearios stand out from its competitors, have carried out user testing with the target audience, in collaboration with QUB, to provide information about the existing listening skills and vocabulary of pre-schoolers and how they are affected by the central conceit of the show. The series has been designed to improve children's active listening skills which have been shown to assist with their development in areas such as speech, language skills and memory. ALT have conducted user testing in order to establish the effectiveness of the show in capturing children's attention to the sounds presented and their development of a vocabulary of sounds. Educational aspects of a series are of huge importance to broadcasters, especially public service broadcasters who have a particular remit to inspire and educate their audiences. https://altanimation.wetransfer.com/downloads/46cb97ed83a61c13dc7d757eb5d6172220191028135926/da75d8 Other specific impacts have included: • Enhancement and expansion of R&D capacity, knowledge and skills of CI businesses (micro and SMEs) and their owner/managers. The embedding of new knowledge and core technical/business enterprise skills will bring an in-depth understanding of the commercial reality of doing business in CI in a way that will foster collaboration and growth resulting in improved productivity and efficiency at an individual firm level and, in turn across sub-sectors. • Commercialisation and exploitation of technical/expert knowledge leading to spin out companies, as well as the creation of new processes, products and services. • Development of the international commercial capabilities of CI business owners to aid the sector to attract R&D investment from global business. • Increased wealth generation and economic prosperity, evident in the creation and growth of companies and jobs, and the enhancement of business revenue and innovative capacity in high performing CI sub-sectors in NI. • Establishment of specialised physical Creative Innovation Hubs in Belfast • Development of innovative hardware and software solutions for application in creative contexts. • Increased productivity of individual high performing (or potential high growth) CI firms. • Increased number of ideas driven through to successful product development and commercialisation. • New frameworks of leadership development for the CI sector to facilitate collaboration between micro-businesses via HE, local authorities and enterprise agencies to ensure training, advice and mentoring that is fit for purpose. • Connection of pockets of excellence across the region harnessing the opportunities afforded through the partnership with Ormeau Baths. Additional Supporting Information https://vimeo.com/372602129 (Video) https://tinyurl.com/vydpuku (images) https://tinyurl.com/rqmkwmy (report) https://creativeindustriesclusters.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Clusters-Booklet-Story-So-Far-FINAL-web.pdf https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZY6eQbPLGU&feature=youtu.be https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42mItwjPW8I&feature=youtu.be https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jgEYcVlpmY
Start Year 2018
 
Description Belfast City Council 
Organisation Belfast City Council
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Future Screens NI is a £13mn creative cluster in Northern Ireland. The partnership is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), as well as the industry. It brings together Ulster University, Queen's University Belfast, and key industrial partners including Belfast City Council, who are at the forefront of the local creative economy. Future Screens NI academic team are delivering expert technical skills, opportunity and growth across: • Film and broadcast • Animation • Games • Immersive technologies Addressing challenges and building on existing strengths in creative industries in the region, areas of focus include: • Narrative and storytelling in digital content • Applications of VR/AR in health, tourism and engineering • Development of a games nexus • Expanding capacity for large scale film and TV production • Enhancing the high-level skills pipeline in 2D and 3D animation Ulster University, Belfast City Council and Queen's University Belfast are key partners in the £13mn UKRI Industrial Challenge Creative Cluster Future Screens NI. Together they competitively secured £6mn from the AHRC, Belfast City Council have contributed £1mn to the cluster. Together the partnership has invested in significant Research and Development Projects within the local creative economy. The 2016-2017 draft PFG proposes that NI has 'an innovative creative society where people can fulfil their potential'. The draft NI Industrial Strategy and the Invest NI Business Strategy 2017 identify 'digital and creative technologies' as one of six 'broad' areas of the economy where Northern Ireland has 'world-class capabilities, 'further noting that 'NI has gained a global reputation in the creative industries with notable success in the TV and film industry as well as the burgeoning animation sector.' In spite of this there has been significant underinvestment in R&D within the local creative economy. Businesses within the sector face challenges in drawing traditional forms of R&D funding. The Creative Industries Sector Deal (2018) highlights the need to 'provide a more consistent national spread of creative industries' confirming the Belfast region as one of 47 UK creative clusters and noting its 'high concentration and growth'. The Sector Deal states 'The problem is not that London is too big, but that other centres are too small. There is enormous potential to grow other leading hubs across the UK.' Ulster University and NI Screen developed the Future Screens NI Creative Cluster in order to address these challenges by together securing £13mn to invest in R&D within the creative industries in NI. The injection of support on the scale provided by Future Screens NI will drive growth from 0.9% to 2.7% of UK GVA in the sector generating £2.1 billion GVA and creating 20,000 new jobs in NI. Ulster University and NI Screen together nurture the local creative sector and support the development of R&D. The partnership works tightly together meeting on a weekly basis to ensure that the project meets industry research needs and bring the creative industries together at least once a month to drive forward R&D and innovation. Data from DCMS had suggested that Northern Ireland was the only region in the UK to see a decline in GVA for Creative Industries since 2010 (a 11.7% decrease). However, the revised regional GVA data - used in the July 2019 release - has increased both NI's total GVA and the amount generated by Creative Industries, due to a changing estimate of the 'headquarters effect' and other factors. The GVA for Creative Industries in Northern Ireland (NI) in 2017 was 1.07% of the UK's total. This share has remained low for the entire period of 2010-2017, consistently amounting to c1% of the total UK Creative Industries GVA. This size of share is similar to both Wales and the North East, though the growth over the period is closer to the latter rather than the former. These figures illustrate the important role that FSNI is playing in facilitating growth within the Creative Industries albeit in the context of a fragile economy and the more pronounced risk of Brexit within the NI context. Future Screens NI, the partnership between Ulster and Belfast City Council is a knowledge transfer partnership investing £13mn in R&D within the local creative industries. Ulster University is the lead partner and provides leadership, academic expertise, and investment throughout and has achieved the following achievements which would not have been possible without the partnership between Ulster University and Belfast City Council in the project and which address the challenges outlined above: • Future Screens NI and Belfast City have established a funding ecosystem to direct and support industry and SMEs within the sector to ensure that there is a funding progression pathway. • Created a local Creative Industries Innovation Hub • Collaborated to deliver a successful Panel on the local creative industries at New York/New Belfast and SXSW • Collaborated on a range of inward DTI visits to the region with the aim of attracting inward investment • Future Screens NI and Belfast City Council are key partners in the Belfast City Deal initiative and have secured £38mn investment in infrastructure within the local creative industries • Collaborated to develop a delegation to SXSW 2020 consisting of 30 representatives of the local creative industries • Delivered a Future Fellowship Launch as part of the Digital Cities programme which has resulted in the appointment of 4 industry Fellows (yet to be announced) • BCC, Future Screens NI and Yellow Design have partnered in order to undertake significant research and development work and commercial proof of concepts that have delivered the AR360 platform. AR360 provides a mechanism to gather real-time data, Yellow have developed a platform that allows tourists using their smart phones to avail of Augmented Reality experiences, multi-lingual location-based-marketing and wayfinding that integrates within public transport systems. Work to date has qualified the market opportunity, delivered a number of innovative immersive visitor experiences and allowed the Yellow team to show case and further develop our technical and creative expertise within a Smart City Tourism context. • Secured The Romeros to participate in Belfast Media Festival to deliver a technical skills and leadership programme attended by 200 gamers and representatives of the creative industries • Created an XR alley operational within Belfast Media Festival 2019 in partnership with Maria Rakusanova curator of the Raindance Festival which was accessed by more than 500 people. • Delivered a panel consisting of Maria Rakusanova, local creative industry leaders Kevin Beimers and Dee Harvey, and academic expert Dr Declan Keeney who is the Director of the Ulster University Screen Academy. The panel was attended by 200 local creative industry representatives. • Co-delivered the Output Festival which is features more than 40 live acts and is attended by more than 2,000 delegates. The conference featured the launch of the Digital Revolution Tamed: The Case of the Recording Industry by Dr Hyojung Sun, who is the Research Associate on the Future Screens NI project which was attended by 200 delegates. The conference featured a panel hosted by Future Screens NI on the Music 2025 Report- Content Creation, Distribution and Remuneration which was chaired by Professor Frank Lyons, Future Screens NI Co-I and featured Peter Jenner the former manager of Pink Floyd, The Clash and Billy Bragg, David Humphries, Head if Research, Economics, Research and Evidence at the Intellectual Property Office, Dr Hyojung Sun, Research Associate, Professor Kevin Curran, Professor Cyber Security at Ulster University and Paul O'Hagan, PhD Researcher at Ulster University. The panel was attended by 400 delegates. • Co-delivered the Output Festival which is features more than 40 live acts and is attended by more than 2,000 delegates. The conference featured the launch of the Digital Revolution Tamed: The Case of the Recording Industry by Dr Hyojung Sun, who is the Research Associate on the Future Screens NI project which was attended by 200 delegates. The conference featured a panel hosted by Future Screens NI on the Music 2025 Report- Content Creation, Distribution and Remuneration which was chaired by Professor Frank Lyons, Future Screens NI Co-I and featured Peter Jenner the former manager of Pink Floyd, The Clash and Billy Bragg, David Humphries, Head if Research, Economics, Research and Evidence at the Intellectual Property Office, Dr Hyojung Sun, Research Associate, Professor Kevin Curran, Professor Cyber Security at Ulster University and Paul O'Hagan, PhD Researcher at Ulster University. The panel was attended by 400 delegates. The conference featured a panel on Immersive Live Performance entitled Exploring The Future of Live Performance featuring Kev Feeney from Algorithm-Visual, Luke McNeice, Interactivity, Richard Zijlma, Ex-Gm of ADE, Oisin O'Brien, Visual Spectrum, and Lewis Smith Tech/Music. This panel was attended by 300 delegates. http://www.outputbelfast.com/ http://belfastmediafestival.co.uk/events/future-screens/
Collaborator Contribution Future Screens NI is a £13mn creative cluster in Northern Ireland. The partnership is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), as well as the industry. It brings together Ulster University, Queen's University Belfast, and key industrial partners including Belfast City Council, who are at the forefront of the local creative economy. Belfast City Council has contributed £1mn to the Creative Cluster. Ulster University is the lead partner and provides leadership, academic expertise, and investment throughout and has achieved the following achievements which would not have been possible without the partnership between Ulster University and Belfast City Council in the project and which address the challenges outlined above: • Future Screens NI and Belfast City have established a funding ecosystem to direct and support industry and SMEs within the sector to ensure that there is a funding progression pathway. • Created a local Creative Industries Innovation Hub • Collaborated to deliver a successful Panel on the local creative industries at New York/New Belfast and SXSW • Collaborated on a range of inward DTI visits to the region with the aim of attracting inward investment • Future Screens NI and Belfast City Council are key partners in the Belfast City Deal initiative and have secured £38mn investment in infrastructure within the local creative industries • Collaborated to develop a delegation to SXSW 2020 consisting of 30 representatives of the local creative industries • Delivered a Future Fellowship Launch as part of the Digital Cities programme which has resulted in the appointment of 4 industry Fellows (yet to be announced) • BCC, Future Screens NI and Yellow Design have partnered in order to undertake significant research and development work and commercial proof of concepts that have delivered the AR360 platform. AR360 provides a mechanism to gather real-time data, Yellow have developed a platform that allows tourists using their smart phones to avail of Augmented Reality experiences, multi-lingual location-based-marketing and wayfinding that integrates within public transport systems. Work to date has qualified the market opportunity, delivered a number of innovative immersive visitor experiences and allowed the Yellow team to show case and further develop our technical and creative expertise within a Smart City Tourism context. • Secured The Romeros to participate in Belfast Media Festival to deliver a technical skills and leadership programme attended by 200 gamers and representatives of the creative industries • Created an XR alley operational within Belfast Media Festival 2019 in partnership with Maria Rakusanova curator of the Raindance Festival which was accessed by more than 500 people. • Delivered a panel consisting of Maria Rakusanova, local creative industry leaders Kevin Beimers and Dee Harvey, and academic expert Dr Declan Keeney who is the Director of the Ulster University Screen Academy. The panel was attended by 200 local creative industry representatives. • Co-delivered the Output Festival which is features more than 40 live acts and is attended by more than 2,000 delegates. The conference featured the launch of the Digital Revolution Tamed: The Case of the Recording Industry by Dr Hyojung Sun, who is the Research Associate on the Future Screens NI project which was attended by 200 delegates. The conference featured a panel hosted by Future Screens NI on the Music 2025 Report- Content Creation, Distribution and Remuneration which was chaired by Professor Frank Lyons, Future Screens NI Co-I and featured Peter Jenner the former manager of Pink Floyd, The Clash and Billy Bragg, David Humphries, Head if Research, Economics, Research and Evidence at the Intellectual Property Office, Dr Hyojung Sun, Research Associate, Professor Kevin Curran, Professor Cyber Security at Ulster University and Paul O'Hagan, PhD Researcher at Ulster University. The panel was attended by 400 delegates. • Co-delivered the Output Festival which is features more than 40 live acts and is attended by more than 2,000 delegates. The conference featured the launch of the Digital Revolution Tamed: The Case of the Recording Industry by Dr Hyojung Sun, who is the Research Associate on the Future Screens NI project which was attended by 200 delegates. The conference featured a panel hosted by Future Screens NI on the Music 2025 Report- Content Creation, Distribution and Remuneration which was chaired by Professor Frank Lyons, Future Screens NI Co-I and featured Peter Jenner the former manager of Pink Floyd, The Clash and Billy Bragg, David Humphries, Head if Research, Economics, Research and Evidence at the Intellectual Property Office, Dr Hyojung Sun, Research Associate, Professor Kevin Curran, Professor Cyber Security at Ulster University and Paul O'Hagan, PhD Researcher at Ulster University. The panel was attended by 400 delegates. The conference featured a panel on Immersive Live Performance entitled Exploring The Future of Live Performance featuring Kev Feeney from Algorithm-Visual, Luke McNeice, Interactivity, Richard Zijlma, Ex-Gm of ADE, Oisin O'Brien, Visual Spectrum, and Lewis Smith Tech/Music. This panel was attended by 300 delegates. http://www.outputbelfast.com/ http://belfastmediafestival.co.uk/events/future-screens/
Impact The Future Screens NI partnership is a multidisciplinary partnership comprising experts from Communication and Media, Music, Law, Business, Computer Science, Psychology, Serious Games, Broadcast, Animation, Engineering, Education, Economics, Art and Design, and Film Making. • Future Screens NI and Belfast City have established a funding ecosystem to direct and support industry and SMEs within the sector to ensure that there is a funding progression pathway. • Created a local Creative Industries Innovation Hub • Collaborated to deliver a successful Panel on the local creative industries at New York/New Belfast and SXSW • Collaborated on a range of inward DTI visits to the region with the aim of attracting inward investment • Future Screens NI and Belfast City Council are key partners in the Belfast City Deal initiative and have secured £38mn investment in infrastructure within the local creative industries • Collaborated to develop a delegation to SXSW 2020 consisting of 30 representatives of the local creative industries • Delivered a Future Fellowship Launch as part of the Digital Cities programme which has resulted in the appointment of 4 industry Fellows (yet to be announced) • BCC, Future Screens NI and Yellow Design have partnered in order to undertake significant research and development work and commercial proof of concepts that have delivered the AR360 platform. AR360 provides a mechanism to gather real-time data, Yellow have developed a platform that allows tourists using their smart phones to avail of Augmented Reality experiences, multi-lingual location-based-marketing and wayfinding that integrates within public transport systems. Work to date has qualified the market opportunity, delivered a number of innovative immersive visitor experiences and allowed the Yellow team to show case and further develop our technical and creative expertise within a Smart City Tourism context. • Secured The Romeros to participate in Belfast Media Festival to deliver a technical skills and leadership programme attended by 200 gamers and representatives of the creative industries • Created an XR alley operational within Belfast Media Festival 2019 in partnership with Maria Rakusanova curator of the Raindance Festival which was accessed by more than 500 people. • Delivered a panel consisting of Maria Rakusanova, local creative industry leaders Kevin Beimers and Dee Harvey, and academic expert Dr Declan Keeney who is the Director of the Ulster University Screen Academy. The panel was attended by 200 local creative industry representatives. • Co-delivered the Output Festival which is features more than 40 live acts and is attended by more than 2,000 delegates. The conference featured the launch of the Digital Revolution Tamed: The Case of the Recording Industry by Dr Hyojung Sun, who is the Research Associate on the Future Screens NI project which was attended by 200 delegates. The conference featured a panel hosted by Future Screens NI on the Music 2025 Report- Content Creation, Distribution and Remuneration which was chaired by Professor Frank Lyons, Future Screens NI Co-I and featured Peter Jenner the former manager of Pink Floyd, The Clash and Billy Bragg, David Humphries, Head if Research, Economics, Research and Evidence at the Intellectual Property Office, Dr Hyojung Sun, Research Associate, Professor Kevin Curran, Professor Cyber Security at Ulster University and Paul O'Hagan, PhD Researcher at Ulster University. The panel was attended by 400 delegates. The conference featured a panel on Immersive Live Performance entitled Exploring The Future of Live Performance featuring Kev Feeney from Algorithm-Visual, Luke McNeice, Interactivity, Richard Zijlma, Ex-Gm of ADE, Oisin O'Brien, Visual Spectrum, and Lewis Smith Tech/Music. Created 10 jobs
Start Year 2018
 
Description Collaboration with NI Screen 
Organisation Northern Ireland Screen
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Future Screens NI is a £13mn creative cluster in Northern Ireland. The partnership is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), as well as the industry. It brings together Ulster University, Queen's University Belfast, and key industrial partners, who are at the forefront of the local creative economy. Future Screens NI academic team are delivering expert technical skills, opportunity and growth across: • Film and broadcast • Animation • Games • Immersive technologies Addressing challenges and building on existing strengths in creative industries in the region, areas of focus include: • Narrative and storytelling in digital content • Applications of VR/AR in health, tourism and engineering • Development of a games nexus • Expanding capacity for large scale film and TV production • Enhancing the high-level skills pipeline in 2D and 3D animation Ulster University, NI Screen and Queen's University Belfast are the lead partners in the £13mn UKRI Industrial Challenge Creative Cluster Future Screens NI. Together they competitively secured £6mn from the AHRC, NI Screen contributed a further £4.8mn and Ulster University and NI Screen worked collaboratively to secure a further £2.2mn from significant industry partners including RTÉ, BBC, and Belfast City Council. Together the partnership has invested in significant Research and Development Projects within the local creative economy. Together the partnership has attracted significant Global Partners including Experimental Design LA, Disney, HBO, The Romeros, Discovery and Warner Media. In Year 1 alone the Future Screens NI partnership has invested £2mn research undertaken by local SMEs. £0.7mn via the AHRC and £1.2mn from NI Screen and industry partners. This is the first time that both Universities and Industry have collaborated on this scale. This would not have been achieved without NI Screen. The 2016-2017 draft PFG proposes that NI has 'an innovative creative society where people can fulfil their potential'. The draft NI Industrial Strategy and the Invest NI Business Strategy 2017 identify 'digital and creative technologies' as one of six 'broad' areas of the economy where Northern Ireland has 'world-class capabilities, 'further noting that 'NI has gained a global reputation in the creative industries with notable success in the TV and film industry as well as the burgeoning animation sector.' In spite of this there has been significant underinvestment in R&D within the local creative economy. Businesses within the sector face challenges in drawing traditional forms of R&D funding. The Creative Industries Sector Deal (2018) highlights the need to 'provide a more consistent national spread of creative industries' confirming the Belfast region as one of 47 UK creative clusters and noting its 'high concentration and growth'. The Sector Deal states 'The problem is not that London is too big, but that other centres are too small. There is enormous potential to grow other leading hubs across the UK.' Ulster University and NI Screen developed the Future Screens NI Creative Cluster in order to address these challenges by together securing £13mn to invest in R&D within the creative industries in NI. The injection of support on the scale provided by Future Screens NI will drive growth from 0.9% to 2.7% of UK GVA in the sector generating £2.1 billion GVA and creating 20,000 new jobs in NI. Ulster University and NI Screen together nurture the local creative sector and support the development of R&D. The partnership works tightly together meeting on a weekly basis to ensure that the project meets industry research needs and bring the creative industries together at least once a month to drive forward R&D and innovation. Data from DCMS had suggested that Northern Ireland was the only region in the UK to see a decline in GVA for Creative Industries since 2010 (a 11.7% decrease). However, the revised regional GVA data - used in the July 2019 release - has increased both NI's total GVA and the amount generated by Creative Industries, due to a changing estimate of the 'headquarters effect' and other factors. The GVA for Creative Industries in Northern Ireland (NI) in 2017 was 1.07% of the UK's total. This share has remained low for the entire period of 2010-2017, consistently amounting to c1% of the total UK Creative Industries GVA. This size of share is similar to both Wales and the North East, though the growth over the period is closer to the latter rather than the former. These figures illustrate the important role that FSNI is playing in facilitating growth within the Creative Industries albeit in the context of a fragile economy and the more pronounced risk of Brexit within the NI context. Future Screens NI, the partnership between Ulster and NI Screen is a knowledge transfer partnership investing £13mn in R&D within the local creative industries. Together Ulster University, NI Screen and partners have invested £1.9mn in R&D in Year One. Ulster University is the lead partner and provides leadership, academic expertise, and investment throughout and has achieved the following achievements which would not have been possible without the partnership between Ulster University in the project and which address the challenges outlined above: • Future Screens NI and NI Screen have established a funding ecosystem to direct and support industry and SMEs within the sector to ensure that there is a funding progression pathway. • The Investment of £1.9 million in the NI Creative Economy in Year One • Created a local Creative Industries Innovation Hub • 25 live R&D projects in gaming, med-tech, immersion, animation, mental health and wellbeing, and pain relief which are at the forefront of R&I within new and emerging technologies • Future Screens NI and NI Screen have hosted over 20 R&D lead events attended by more than 5,000 creative industry representatives and academics • 22 members of academic staff who are leaders in their field working collaboratively with the industry attended by more than 4,000 Creative industries reps and showcasing 30 local R&D projects • 4 PhD students undertaking Future Focused research in Cinematics, Design Thinking and Leadership. • Built a research partnership comprising 20 Lead industry partners including: RTÉ, NI Screen, BBC, BCC, Digital Catapult, Invest NI, Innovate UK, Tourism NI, Retinize, Humain, The Lyric Theatre, and 100 SMEs at the forefront of new immersive and emerging technologies including Alt Animation, Italic Pig Ltd, Taunt Ltd, Sentireal, Sixteen South, Incisiv, PreCog, NEON and JadeBlok. • Built a global partnership involving the World Building Institute, Experimental Design, Disney, Warner Media, Industrial Light and Magic, HBO and The Romeros. • Developed the Pixel Mill which is an R&D led Gaming and Innovation Hub which is home to 18 businesses and provides accommodation, mentoring, expertise and leadership development. Including building an R&D led network. • Created 79 new R&D led jobs within the creative sector in Year 1. • Worked collaboratively with Italic Pig on the Infinite Hotel which was nominated for Best Immersive Game at Raindance 2019. Italic Pig have been recognised as Game Studio of the Year, one a creative collaborative opportunity with Industrial Light and Magic, and secured the largest local investment in gaming R&D. Ulster University and Italic Pig have developed an R&D led sector changing AI solution to character generation in Immersive Gaming. Ulster University and Italic Pig secured an industry showcase at Beyond. • Worked collaboratively with Retinize to develop solutions to real-time avatar capture for use in 6DoF (Degree of Freedom) virtual reality, augmented environments, app development, content creation and the pre-visualisation sectors in real-time. Ulster University assisted Retinize to attract significant investment. • Developed a bespoke R&D led Leadership programme to 100 local creative industry businesses which has resulted in the development of new business models and created 10 new R&D led jobs • Worked collaboratively with NI Screen develop a 4K rendering which will ensure that animation companies in NI can more cost effectively and efficiently render their content for new market demands, enabling the industry to remain competitive on a global scale. • Future Screens NI and NI Screen have become embedded as a creative industry initiative within the Ormeau Baths Innovation Hub. • The Hearios has the potential to stimulate listening skills at pre-school age • 4k Rendering project has driven industry transformation and improved experience and return within the animation sector. • Future Screens NI has participated in a series of well-received showcases at SXSW, and New York-New Belfast and is building strong collaborative partnerships with NY, Pennsylvania Los Angeles and China. Therefore network has been established towards realising the Global potential of the project. • A number of public and sectoral engagement events are in development in partnership with the BBC. • The Lead2Grow programme which has been developed to generate new leadership models commenced in March 2019 with an initial Lead2Grow Programme which was attended by 211 participants. The programme will go live in October 2019 with 30 registered participants. • The Future Belfast collaboration with the World Building Institute is well underway. The World Building Framework which is in development has the potential to transform the local creative economy towards prosperity and growth particularly within hard to reach areas. "Working with Ulster University has ensured we can invest in local talent in way that was never possible before" Richard Williams, CEO of NI Screen Future Screens NI (Ulster) and NI Screen together identified the problem of underinvestment in the local creative industries, the need to drive forward research and development within the local creative economy. Together the partnership worked closely with UKRI to ensure that the councils recognised the importance of investing in the regions. The partnership and their credible collaboration helped shape the creative cluster call and ensured that there would be an emphasis on investment outside of London. Together the partnership build a creative cluster comprising 20 Lead industry partners including: RTÉ, NI Screen, BBC, BCC, Digital Catapult, Invest NI, Innovate UK, Tourism NI, Retinize, Humain, The Lyric Theatre, and 100 SMEs at the forefront of new immersive and emerging technologies including Alt Animation, Italic Pig Ltd, Taunt Ltd, Sentireal, Sixteen South, Incisiv, PreCog, NEON and JadeBlok alongside significant global partners including the World Building Institute, Experimental Design, Disney, Warner Media, Industrial Light and Magic, HBO and The Romeros. • Working together Ulster and NI Screen secured £6m from the AHRC to which NI Screen Northern Ireland Screen is the national screen agency for Northern Ireland committed a further £4.8mn to invest in R&D within the sector. • Working together Ulster and NI Screen secured a further £2.2mn from additional industry partners. This would not have been achieved without the strength and commitment of the two lead partners. Ulster and NI Screen. • Ulster and NI Screen have developed a strong working partnership that meets weekly in order to drive forward local R&D investment and to ensure that once businesses have completed the application and verification processes, they can access finance quickly and efficiently. • Ulster University and NI Screen work together to ensure that industry applicants are effectively matched to Academic Collaborators to ensure that R&D led projects are co-created, meet the excellence requirements of the AHRC, are deliverable and address industry requirements. • Together Ulster University and NI Screen have invested £1.9mn. Ulster University and NI Screen provide a unique funding stream in which £100,000 of the finance goes to the industry partner to address their R&D led challenge. This investment has generated 79 jobs. • Working together in close partnership NI Screen have ensured that Future Screens NI is the strongest project within the entire UK Industrial Strategy Programme. This was announced by Professor Andrew Chitty, Challenge Director - Creative Industries Clusters and Audience of the Future Programme at the AHRC Beyond Conference 2019. Future Screens NI at Forefront of the Industrial Strategy Programme • Ulster University and NI Screen have established the Pixel Mill, a unique R&D led Gaming Incubation Hub home to 18 businesses. • Ulster University and NI Screen have transformed the local creative sector by providing infrastructure, creating a strong ecosystem, supporting industry to advance along the R&D funding pipeline and to access prestigious funding and mentoring opportunities from Innovate UK and Industrial Light and Magic. • Future Screens NI and NI Screen hosted the NI Assembly STEM All-Party Group in order to ensure that the local STEM ecosystem and Political Structures understand the important role of the Creative Industries in the generation and application of new and emerging technologies. • Future Screens NI and NI Screen have supported A Baseline Study of Digital Education in Primary Schools. This report was published in January 2020. All of the key stakeholders within the Education and Technology Sector were represented. Key Notes were delivered by the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People and the Chief Executive of the EA. The event was attended by 120 delegates. DigiSkills has been included in the draft Economic Strategy. • NI Screen and Future Screens NI have developed the Storytelling for the Futures project. Northern Ireland Screen's strategy sets out to develop six 'sectors' within the Northern Ireland screen industries: 1. Large-scale (film and television projects with budgets over $35m) 2. Animation (feature films and series) 3. Television Drama (including children's drama) 4. Independent film (including feature documentary) 5. Interactive (games, VR and AR) 6. Factual and Entertainment Television Northern Ireland Screen, the Seamus Heaney Centre and Future Screens NI have collaborated in order to determine what the storytelling challenges within each of the six sectors are, how they might be overcome, and what the future opportunities for writers might be. In doing so the partnership has delivered six storytelling workshops attended by 300 participants. 4 participants from the programme have identified storytelling challenges and successfully secured funding from Future Screens NI to address these challenges. • NI Screen and Future Screens NI have developed a vital research and development project into 4K rendering which is assisting local animation companies in Northern Ireland to more cost effectively and efficiently render their content for new market demands, enabling the industry to remain competitive on a global scale. This initial project has focused upon reducing rendering times, rather than improving processing larger 4K file sizes. • NI Screen and Future Screens have collaborated to work with Italic Pig on the Infinite Hotel. The Infinite Hotel has achieved significant recognition and was short listed for Best Immersive at Raindance. https://www.italicpig.com/italic-pig/2019/9/25/italic-pig-nominated-for-raindance-film-festival-immersive-summit-award The current Character Generator does not function to the level wish Italic Pig wish to achieve. Future Screens NI and NI Screen are collaborating to create a second generation Character Generator that uses fewer assets in an innovative method, and uses machine learning to create believably randomised characters (known as "Randos") that are appealing to the player. The Infinite Hotel was featured in the Showcase at the AHRC Beyond Conference. Beyond is the annual R&D conference for the creative industries. In 2019 we will explore the intersection between Artificial Intelligence and creativity. The event took place from the 20-21 November 2019 in Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh. https://beyondconference.org/showcase/the-infinite-hotel/ • NI Screen and Future Screens NI are collaborating on The Hearios. The Hearios is a new and exciting stop motion animation and live action mixed media series aimed at a pre-school audience featuring a family of musical moles who teach children the important developmental skill of active listening. Future. In order to make The Hearios stand out from its competitors, have carried out user testing with the target audience, in collaboration with QUB, to provide information about the existing listening skills and vocabulary of pre-schoolers and how they are affected by the central conceit of the show. The series has been designed to improve children's active listening skills which have been shown to assist with their development in areas such as speech, language skills and memory. ALT have conducted user testing in order to establish the effectiveness of the show in capturing children's attention to the sounds presented and their development of a vocabulary of sounds. Educational aspects of a series are of huge importance to broadcasters, especially public service broadcasters who have a particular remit to inspire and educate their audiences. https://altanimation.wetransfer.com/downloads/46cb97ed83a61c13dc7d757eb5d6172220191028135926/da75d8 • NI Screen, Future Screens NI and Sixteen South are collaborating in order to develop and implement new software which will be instrumental in creating a new and bespoke workflow, purely designed to create animated content that can reach its audience directly through a streaming platform which will have a 48 hour turnover for each episode. • NI Screen, Future Screens NI and Darkley Films are collaborating to deliver a 5 minute live action therapeutic VR experience for victims and perpetrators of mental abuse. This will deliver a training tool for frontline medical and care staff. It is the first VR platform targeted to mental abuse. Additional Supporting Information https://vimeo.com/372602129 (Video) https://tinyurl.com/vydpuku (images) https://tinyurl.com/rqmkwmy (report) https://creativeindustriesclusters.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Clusters-Booklet-Story-So-Far-FINAL-web.pdf https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZY6eQbPLGU&feature=youtu.be https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42mItwjPW8I&feature=youtu.be
Collaborator Contribution NI Screen have contributed £4.8mn to the Creative Cluster, and Ulster University and NI Screen worked collaboratively to secure a further £2.2mn from significant industry partners including RTÉ, BBC, and Belfast City Council. Together the partnership has invested in significant Research and Development Projects within the local creative economy. Together the partnership has attracted significant Global Partners including Experimental Design LA, Disney, HBO, The Romeros, Discovery and Warner Media. In Year 1 alone the Future Screens NI partnership has invested £2mn research undertaken by local SMEs. £0.7mn via the AHRC and £1.2mn from NI Screen and industry partners. This is the first time that both Universities and Industry have collaborated on this scale. This would not have been achieved without NI Screen. The 2016-2017 draft PFG proposes that NI has 'an innovative creative society where people can fulfil their potential'. The draft NI Industrial Strategy and the Invest NI Business Strategy 2017 identify 'digital and creative technologies' as one of six 'broad' areas of the economy where Northern Ireland has 'world-class capabilities, 'further noting that 'NI has gained a global reputation in the creative industries with notable success in the TV and film industry as well as the burgeoning animation sector.' In spite of this there has been significant underinvestment in R&D within the local creative economy. Businesses within the sector face challenges in drawing traditional forms of R&D funding. The Creative Industries Sector Deal (2018) highlights the need to 'provide a more consistent national spread of creative industries' confirming the Belfast region as one of 47 UK creative clusters and noting its 'high concentration and growth'. The Sector Deal states 'The problem is not that London is too big, but that other centres are too small. There is enormous potential to grow other leading hubs across the UK.' Ulster University and NI Screen developed the Future Screens NI Creative Cluster in order to address these challenges by together securing £13mn to invest in R&D within the creative industries in NI. The injection of support on the scale provided by Future Screens NI will drive growth from 0.9% to 2.7% of UK GVA in the sector generating £2.1 billion GVA and creating 20,000 new jobs in NI. Ulster University and NI Screen together nurture the local creative sector and support the development of R&D. The partnership works tightly together meeting on a weekly basis to ensure that the project meets industry research needs and bring the creative industries together at least once a month to drive forward R&D and innovation. Data from DCMS had suggested that Northern Ireland was the only region in the UK to see a decline in GVA for Creative Industries since 2010 (a 11.7% decrease). However, the revised regional GVA data - used in the July 2019 release - has increased both NI's total GVA and the amount generated by Creative Industries, due to a changing estimate of the 'headquarters effect' and other factors. The GVA for Creative Industries in Northern Ireland (NI) in 2017 was 1.07% of the UK's total. This share has remained low for the entire period of 2010-2017, consistently amounting to c1% of the total UK Creative Industries GVA. This size of share is similar to both Wales and the North East, though the growth over the period is closer to the latter rather than the former. These figures illustrate the important role that FSNI is playing in facilitating growth within the Creative Industries albeit in the context of a fragile economy and the more pronounced risk of Brexit within the NI context. Future Screens NI, the partnership between Ulster and NI Screen is a knowledge transfer partnership investing £13mn in R&D within the local creative industries. Together Ulster University, NI Screen and partners have invested £1.9mn in R&D in Year One. Ulster University is the lead partner and provides leadership, academic expertise, and investment throughout and has achieved the following achievements which would not have been possible without the partnership between Ulster University in the project and which address the challenges outlined above: • Future Screens NI and NI Screen have established a funding ecosystem to direct and support industry and SMEs within the sector to ensure that there is a funding progression pathway. • The Investment of £1.9 million in the NI Creative Economy in Year One • Created a local Creative Industries Innovation Hub • 25 live R&D projects in gaming, med-tech, immersion, animation, mental health and wellbeing, and pain relief which are at the forefront of R&I within new and emerging technologies • Future Screens NI and NI Screen have hosted over 20 R&D lead events attended by more than 5,000 creative industry representatives and academics • 22 members of academic staff who are leaders in their field working collaboratively with the industry attended by more than 4,000 Creative industries reps and showcasing 30 local R&D projects • 4 PhD students undertaking Future Focused research in Cinematics, Design Thinking and Leadership. • Built a research partnership comprising 20 Lead industry partners including: RTÉ, NI Screen, BBC, BCC, Digital Catapult, Invest NI, Innovate UK, Tourism NI, Retinize, Humain, The Lyric Theatre, and 100 SMEs at the forefront of new immersive and emerging technologies including Alt Animation, Italic Pig Ltd, Taunt Ltd, Sentireal, Sixteen South, Incisiv, PreCog, NEON and JadeBlok. • Built a global partnership involving the World Building Institute, Experimental Design, Disney, Warner Media, Industrial Light and Magic, HBO and The Romeros. • Developed the Pixel Mill which is an R&D led Gaming and Innovation Hub which is home to 18 businesses and provides accommodation, mentoring, expertise and leadership development. Including building an R&D led network. • Created 79 new R&D led jobs within the creative sector in Year 1. • Worked collaboratively with Italic Pig on the Infinite Hotel which was nominated for Best Immersive Game at Raindance 2019. Italic Pig have been recognised as Game Studio of the Year, one a creative collaborative opportunity with Industrial Light and Magic, and secured the largest local investment in gaming R&D. Ulster University and Italic Pig have developed an R&D led sector changing AI solution to character generation in Immersive Gaming. Ulster University and Italic Pig secured an industry showcase at Beyond. • Worked collaboratively with Retinize to develop solutions to real-time avatar capture for use in 6DoF (Degree of Freedom) virtual reality, augmented environments, app development, content creation and the pre-visualisation sectors in real-time. Ulster University assisted Retinize to attract significant investment. • Developed a bespoke R&D led Leadership programme to 100 local creative industry businesses which has resulted in the development of new business models and created 10 new R&D led jobs • Worked collaboratively with NI Screen develop a 4K rendering which will ensure that animation companies in NI can more cost effectively and efficiently render their content for new market demands, enabling the industry to remain competitive on a global scale. • Future Screens NI and NI Screen have become embedded as a creative industry initiative within the Ormeau Baths Innovation Hub. • The Hearios has the potential to stimulate listening skills at pre-school age • 4k Rendering project has driven industry transformation and improved experience and return within the animation sector. • Future Screens NI has participated in a series of well-received showcases at SXSW, and New York-New Belfast and is building strong collaborative partnerships with NY, Pennsylvania Los Angeles and China. Therefore network has been established towards realising the Global potential of the project. • A number of public and sectoral engagement events are in development in partnership with the BBC. • The Lead2Grow programme which has been developed to generate new leadership models commenced in March 2019 with an initial Lead2Grow Programme which was attended by 211 participants. The programme will go live in October 2019 with 30 registered participants. • The Future Belfast collaboration with the World Building Institute is well underway. The World Building Framework which is in development has the potential to transform the local creative economy towards prosperity and growth particularly within hard to reach areas. "Working with Ulster University has ensured we can invest in local talent in way that was never possible before" Richard Williams, CEO of NI Screen Future Screens NI (Ulster) and NI Screen together identified the problem of underinvestment in the local creative industries, the need to drive forward research and development within the local creative economy. Together the partnership worked closely with UKRI to ensure that the councils recognised the importance of investing in the regions. The partnership and their credible collaboration helped shape the creative cluster call and ensured that there would be an emphasis on investment outside of London. Together the partnership build a creative cluster comprising 20 Lead industry partners including: RTÉ, NI Screen, BBC, BCC, Digital Catapult, Invest NI, Innovate UK, Tourism NI, Retinize, Humain, The Lyric Theatre, and 100 SMEs at the forefront of new immersive and emerging technologies including Alt Animation, Italic Pig Ltd, Taunt Ltd, Sentireal, Sixteen South, Incisiv, PreCog, NEON and JadeBlok alongside significant global partners including the World Building Institute, Experimental Design, Disney, Warner Media, Industrial Light and Magic, HBO and The Romeros. • Working together Ulster and NI Screen secured £6m from the AHRC to which NI Screen Northern Ireland Screen is the national screen agency for Northern Ireland committed a further £4.8mn to invest in R&D within the sector. • Working together Ulster and NI Screen secured a further £2.2mn from additional industry partners. This would not have been achieved without the strength and commitment of the two lead partners. Ulster and NI Screen. • Ulster and NI Screen have developed a strong working partnership that meets weekly in order to drive forward local R&D investment and to ensure that once businesses have completed the application and verification processes, they can access finance quickly and efficiently. • Ulster University and NI Screen work together to ensure that industry applicants are effectively matched to Academic Collaborators to ensure that R&D led projects are co-created, meet the excellence requirements of the AHRC, are deliverable and address industry requirements. • Together Ulster University and NI Screen have invested £1.9mn. Ulster University and NI Screen provide a unique funding stream in which £100,000 of the finance goes to the industry partner to address their R&D led challenge. This investment has generated 79 jobs. • Working together in close partnership NI Screen have ensured that Future Screens NI is the strongest project within the entire UK Industrial Strategy Programme. This was announced by Professor Andrew Chitty, Challenge Director - Creative Industries Clusters and Audience of the Future Programme at the AHRC Beyond Conference 2019. Future Screens NI at Forefront of the Industrial Strategy Programme • Ulster University and NI Screen have established the Pixel Mill, a unique R&D led Gaming Incubation Hub home to 18 businesses. • Ulster University and NI Screen have transformed the local creative sector by providing infrastructure, creating a strong ecosystem, supporting industry to advance along the R&D funding pipeline and to access prestigious funding and mentoring opportunities from Innovate UK and Industrial Light and Magic. • Future Screens NI and NI Screen hosted the NI Assembly STEM All-Party Group in order to ensure that the local STEM ecosystem and Political Structures understand the important role of the Creative Industries in the generation and application of new and emerging technologies. • Future Screens NI and NI Screen have supported A Baseline Study of Digital Education in Primary Schools. This report was published in January 2020. All of the key stakeholders within the Education and Technology Sector were represented. Key Notes were delivered by the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People and the Chief Executive of the EA. The event was attended by 120 delegates. DigiSkills has been included in the draft Economic Strategy. • NI Screen and Future Screens NI have developed the Storytelling for the Futures project. Northern Ireland Screen's strategy sets out to develop six 'sectors' within the Northern Ireland screen industries: 1. Large-scale (film and television projects with budgets over $35m) 2. Animation (feature films and series) 3. Television Drama (including children's drama) 4. Independent film (including feature documentary) 5. Interactive (games, VR and AR) 6. Factual and Entertainment Television Northern Ireland Screen, the Seamus Heaney Centre and Future Screens NI have collaborated in order to determine what the storytelling challenges within each of the six sectors are, how they might be overcome, and what the future opportunities for writers might be. In doing so the partnership has delivered six storytelling workshops attended by 300 participants. 4 participants from the programme have identified storytelling challenges and successfully secured funding from Future Screens NI to address these challenges. • NI Screen and Future Screens NI have developed a vital research and development project into 4K rendering which is assisting local animation companies in Northern Ireland to more cost effectively and efficiently render their content for new market demands, enabling the industry to remain competitive on a global scale. This initial project has focused upon reducing rendering times, rather than improving processing larger 4K file sizes. • NI Screen and Future Screens have collaborated to work with Italic Pig on the Infinite Hotel. The Infinite Hotel has achieved significant recognition and was short listed for Best Immersive at Raindance. https://www.italicpig.com/italic-pig/2019/9/25/italic-pig-nominated-for-raindance-film-festival-immersive-summit-award The current Character Generator does not function to the level wish Italic Pig wish to achieve. Future Screens NI and NI Screen are collaborating to create a second generation Character Generator that uses fewer assets in an innovative method, and uses machine learning to create believably randomised characters (known as "Randos") that are appealing to the player. The Infinite Hotel was featured in the Showcase at the AHRC Beyond Conference. Beyond is the annual R&D conference for the creative industries. In 2019 we will explore the intersection between Artificial Intelligence and creativity. The event took place from the 20-21 November 2019 in Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh. https://beyondconference.org/showcase/the-infinite-hotel/ • NI Screen and Future Screens NI are collaborating on The Hearios. The Hearios is a new and exciting stop motion animation and live action mixed media series aimed at a pre-school audience featuring a family of musical moles who teach children the important developmental skill of active listening. Future. In order to make The Hearios stand out from its competitors, have carried out user testing with the target audience, in collaboration with QUB, to provide information about the existing listening skills and vocabulary of pre-schoolers and how they are affected by the central conceit of the show. The series has been designed to improve children's active listening skills which have been shown to assist with their development in areas such as speech, language skills and memory. ALT have conducted user testing in order to establish the effectiveness of the show in capturing children's attention to the sounds presented and their development of a vocabulary of sounds. Educational aspects of a series are of huge importance to broadcasters, especially public service broadcasters who have a particular remit to inspire and educate their audiences. https://altanimation.wetransfer.com/downloads/46cb97ed83a61c13dc7d757eb5d6172220191028135926/da75d8 • NI Screen, Future Screens NI and Sixteen South are collaborating in order to develop and implement new software which will be instrumental in creating a new and bespoke workflow, purely designed to create animated content that can reach its audience directly through a streaming platform which will have a 48 hour turnover for each episode. • NI Screen, Future Screens NI and Darkley Films are collaborating to deliver a 5 minute live action therapeutic VR experience for victims and perpetrators of mental abuse. This will deliver a training tool for frontline medical and care staff. It is the first VR platform targeted to mental abuse. Additional Supporting Information https://vimeo.com/372602129 (Video) https://tinyurl.com/vydpuku (images) https://tinyurl.com/rqmkwmy (report) https://creativeindustriesclusters.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Clusters-Booklet-Story-So-Far-FINAL-web.pdf https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZY6eQbPLGU&feature=youtu.be https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42mItwjPW8I&feature=youtu.be
Impact The Future Screens NI partnership is a multidisciplinary partnership comprising experts from Communication and Media, Music, Law, Business, Computer Science, Psychology, Serious Games, Broadcast, Animation, Engineering, Education, Economics, Art and Design, and Film Making. https://www.futurescreens.org/team • Future Screens NI and NI Screen have hosted over 20 R&D lead events attended by more than 5,000 creative industry representatives and academics • 22 members of academic staff who are leaders in their field working collaboratively with the industry attended by more than 4,000 Creative industries reps and showcasing 30 local R&D projects • 4 PhD students undertaking Future Focused research in Cinematics, Design Thinking and Leadership. • Built a research partnership comprising 20 Lead industry partners including: RTÉ, NI Screen, BBC, BCC, Digital Catapult, Invest NI, Innovate UK, Tourism NI, Retinize, Humain, The Lyric Theatre, and 100 SMEs at the forefront of new immersive and emerging technologies including Alt Animation, Italic Pig Ltd, Taunt Ltd, Sentireal, Sixteen South, Incisiv, PreCog, NEON and JadeBlok. • Built a global partnership involving the World Building Institute, Experimental Design, Disney, Warner Media, Industrial Light and Magic, HBO and The Romeros. • Developed the Pixel Mill which is an R&D led Gaming and Innovation Hub which is home to 18 businesses and provides accommodation, mentoring, expertise and leadership development. Including building an R&D led network. • Created 79 new R&D led jobs within the creative sector in Year 1. • Worked collaboratively with Italic Pig on the Infinite Hotel which was nominated for Best Immersive Game at Raindance 2019. Italic Pig have been recognised as Game Studio of the Year, one a creative collaborative opportunity with Industrial Light and Magic, and secured the largest local investment in gaming R&D. Ulster University and Italic Pig have developed an R&D led sector changing AI solution to character generation in Immersive Gaming. Ulster University and Italic Pig secured an industry showcase at Beyond. • Worked collaboratively with Retinize to develop solutions to real-time avatar capture for use in 6DoF (Degree of Freedom) virtual reality, augmented environments, app development, content creation and the pre-visualisation sectors in real-time. Ulster University assisted Retinize to attract significant investment. • Developed a bespoke R&D led Leadership programme to 100 local creative industry businesses which has resulted in the development of new business models and created 10 new R&D led jobs • Worked collaboratively with NI Screen develop a 4K rendering which will ensure that animation companies in NI can more cost effectively and efficiently render their content for new market demands, enabling the industry to remain competitive on a global scale. • Future Screens NI and NI Screen have become embedded as a creative industry initiative within the Ormeau Baths Innovation Hub. • The Hearios has the potential to stimulate listening skills at pre-school age • 4k Rendering project has driven industry transformation and improved experience and return within the animation sector. • Future Screens NI has participated in a series of well-received showcases at SXSW, and New York-New Belfast and is building strong collaborative partnerships with NY, Pennsylvania Los Angeles and China. Therefore network has been established towards realising the Global potential of the project. • A number of public and sectoral engagement events are in development in partnership with the BBC. • The Lead2Grow programme which has been developed to generate new leadership models commenced in March 2019 with an initial Lead2Grow Programme which was attended by 211 participants. The programme will go live in October 2019 with 30 registered participants. • The Future Belfast collaboration with the World Building Institute is well underway. The World Building Framework which is in development has the potential to transform the local creative economy towards prosperity and growth particularly within hard to reach areas. "Working with Ulster University has ensured we can invest in local talent in way that was never possible before" Richard Williams, CEO of NI Screen Future Screens NI (Ulster) and NI Screen together identified the problem of underinvestment in the local creative industries, the need to drive forward research and development within the local creative economy. Together the partnership worked closely with UKRI to ensure that the councils recognised the importance of investing in the regions. The partnership and their credible collaboration helped shape the creative cluster call and ensured that there would be an emphasis on investment outside of London. Together the partnership build a creative cluster comprising 20 Lead industry partners including: RTÉ, NI Screen, BBC, BCC, Digital Catapult, Invest NI, Innovate UK, Tourism NI, Retinize, Humain, The Lyric Theatre, and 100 SMEs at the forefront of new immersive and emerging technologies including Alt Animation, Italic Pig Ltd, Taunt Ltd, Sentireal, Sixteen South, Incisiv, PreCog, NEON and JadeBlok alongside significant global partners including the World Building Institute, Experimental Design, Disney, Warner Media, Industrial Light and Magic, HBO and The Romeros. • Working together Ulster and NI Screen secured £6m from the AHRC to which NI Screen Northern Ireland Screen is the national screen agency for Northern Ireland committed a further £4.8mn to invest in R&D within the sector. • Working together Ulster and NI Screen secured a further £2.2mn from additional industry partners. This would not have been achieved without the strength and commitment of the two lead partners. Ulster and NI Screen. • Ulster and NI Screen have developed a strong working partnership that meets weekly in order to drive forward local R&D investment and to ensure that once businesses have completed the application and verification processes, they can access finance quickly and efficiently. • Ulster University and NI Screen work together to ensure that industry applicants are effectively matched to Academic Collaborators to ensure that R&D led projects are co-created, meet the excellence requirements of the AHRC, are deliverable and address industry requirements. • Together Ulster University and NI Screen have invested £1.9mn. Ulster University and NI Screen provide a unique funding stream in which £100,000 of the finance goes to the industry partner to address their R&D led challenge. This investment has generated 79 jobs. • Working together in close partnership NI Screen have ensured that Future Screens NI is the strongest project within the entire UK Industrial Strategy Programme. This was announced by Professor Andrew Chitty, Challenge Director - Creative Industries Clusters and Audience of the Future Programme at the AHRC Beyond Conference 2019. Future Screens NI at Forefront of the Industrial Strategy Programme • Ulster University and NI Screen have established the Pixel Mill, a unique R&D led Gaming Incubation Hub home to 18 businesses. • Ulster University and NI Screen have transformed the local creative sector by providing infrastructure, creating a strong ecosystem, supporting industry to advance along the R&D funding pipeline and to access prestigious funding and mentoring opportunities from Innovate UK and Industrial Light and Magic. • Future Screens NI and NI Screen hosted the NI Assembly STEM All-Party Group in order to ensure that the local STEM ecosystem and Political Structures understand the important role of the Creative Industries in the generation and application of new and emerging technologies. • Future Screens NI and NI Screen have supported A Baseline Study of Digital Education in Primary Schools. This report was published in January 2020. All of the key stakeholders within the Education and Technology Sector were represented. Key Notes were delivered by the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People and the Chief Executive of the EA. The event was attended by 120 delegates. DigiSkills has been included in the draft Economic Strategy. • NI Screen and Future Screens NI have developed the Storytelling for the Futures project. Northern Ireland Screen's strategy sets out to develop six 'sectors' within the Northern Ireland screen industries: 1. Large-scale (film and television projects with budgets over $35m) 2. Animation (feature films and series) 3. Television Drama (including children's drama) 4. Independent film (including feature documentary) 5. Interactive (games, VR and AR) 6. Factual and Entertainment Television Northern Ireland Screen, the Seamus Heaney Centre and Future Screens NI have collaborated in order to determine what the storytelling challenges within each of the six sectors are, how they might be overcome, and what the future opportunities for writers might be. In doing so the partnership has delivered six storytelling workshops attended by 300 participants. 4 participants from the programme have identified storytelling challenges and successfully secured funding from Future Screens NI to address these challenges. • NI Screen and Future Screens NI have developed a vital research and development project into 4K rendering which is assisting local animation companies in Northern Ireland to more cost effectively and efficiently render their content for new market demands, enabling the industry to remain competitive on a global scale. This initial project has focused upon reducing rendering times, rather than improving processing larger 4K file sizes. • NI Screen and Future Screens have collaborated to work with Italic Pig on the Infinite Hotel. The Infinite Hotel has achieved significant recognition and was short listed for Best Immersive at Raindance. https://www.italicpig.com/italic-pig/2019/9/25/italic-pig-nominated-for-raindance-film-festival-immersive-summit-award The current Character Generator does not function to the level wish Italic Pig wish to achieve. Future Screens NI and NI Screen are collaborating to create a second generation Character Generator that uses fewer assets in an innovative method, and uses machine learning to create believably randomised characters (known as "Randos") that are appealing to the player. The Infinite Hotel was featured in the Showcase at the AHRC Beyond Conference. Beyond is the annual R&D conference for the creative industries. In 2019 we will explore the intersection between Artificial Intelligence and creativity. The event took place from the 20-21 November 2019 in Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh. https://beyondconference.org/showcase/the-infinite-hotel/ • NI Screen and Future Screens NI are collaborating on The Hearios. The Hearios is a new and exciting stop motion animation and live action mixed media series aimed at a pre-school audience featuring a family of musical moles who teach children the important developmental skill of active listening. Future. In order to make The Hearios stand out from its competitors, have carried out user testing with the target audience, in collaboration with QUB, to provide information about the existing listening skills and vocabulary of pre-schoolers and how they are affected by the central conceit of the show. The series has been designed to improve children's active listening skills which have been shown to assist with their development in areas such as speech, language skills and memory. ALT have conducted user testing in order to establish the effectiveness of the show in capturing children's attention to the sounds presented and their development of a vocabulary of sounds. Educational aspects of a series are of huge importance to broadcasters, especially public service broadcasters who have a particular remit to inspire and educate their audiences. https://altanimation.wetransfer.com/downloads/46cb97ed83a61c13dc7d757eb5d6172220191028135926/da75d8 • NI Screen, Future Screens NI and Sixteen South are collaborating in order to develop and implement new software which will be instrumental in creating a new and bespoke workflow, purely designed to create animated content that can reach its audience directly through a streaming platform which will have a 48 hour turnover for each episode. • NI Screen, Future Screens NI and Darkley Films are collaborating to deliver a 5 minute live action therapeutic VR experience for victims and perpetrators of mental abuse. This will deliver a training tool for frontline medical and care staff. It is the first VR platform targeted to mental abuse. Additional Supporting Information https://vimeo.com/372602129 (Video) https://tinyurl.com/vydpuku (images) https://tinyurl.com/rqmkwmy (report) https://creativeindustriesclusters.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Clusters-Booklet-Story-So-Far-FINAL-web.pdf https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZY6eQbPLGU&feature=youtu.be https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42mItwjPW8I&feature=youtu.be
Start Year 2018
 
Description Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre 
Organisation Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Ulster University is a partner in the PEC is led by innovation foundation Nesta and involves a UK-wide consortium of universities, comprising Birmingham; Cardiff; Edinburgh; Glasgow; Work Foundation at Lancaster University; LSE; Manchester; Newcastle; Sussex, and Ulster. The PEC's Director and Principal Investigator is Hasan Bakhshi, who is also Executive Director, Creative Economy and Data Analytics at Nesta. The Centre works with a broad and inclusive group of partners from across the creative industries, including the Creative Industries Federation. Initial industry partners also include Creative England, the British Film Institute and Tech Nation. Research Areas include Creative Clusters and Innovation Skills, Talent and Diversity Intellectual Property, Business Models, Access to Finance and Content Regulation Arts, Culture and Public Service Broadcasting International Competitiveness Creative Industries
Collaborator Contribution Ulster University is a partner in the PEC is led by innovation foundation Nesta and involves a UK-wide consortium of universities, comprising Birmingham; Cardiff; Edinburgh; Glasgow; Work Foundation at Lancaster University; LSE; Manchester; Newcastle; Sussex, and Ulster. The PEC's Director and Principal Investigator is Hasan Bakhshi, who is also Executive Director, Creative Economy and Data Analytics at Nesta. The Centre works with a broad and inclusive group of partners from across the creative industries, including the Creative Industries Federation. Initial industry partners also include Creative England, the British Film Institute and Tech Nation. Research Areas include Creative Clusters and Innovation Skills, Talent and Diversity Intellectual Property, Business Models, Access to Finance and Content Regulation Arts, Culture and Public Service Broadcasting International Competitiveness Creative Industries
Impact Economic Research is in progress
Start Year 2018
 
Description Creative Industries Seed Fund in Partnership with the Arts Council NI 
Organisation Arts Council of Northern Ireland
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Future Screens NI and the Arts Council NI have collaborated to introduce the first ever Creative Industries SEED fund. The fund was established from a Departmental Underspend which was identified during the political crisis and prior to the NI Assembly and Executive becoming functional again. The initial amount of funding secured was £240,000, to which Future Screens NI contributed a further £50,000. The Minister then contributed a further £37,500 to the fund and Future Screens NI contributed a further £37,500. This increased the total value of the fund to £365,000. Consisting of a £277,500 investment from the AHRC into the Creative Industries and an investment of £87,500 from Future Screens NI. Future Screens NI have also delivered academic and research expertise to support 7 large-scale projects and further 19 projects. These projects have just been awarded and will form an essential aspect of the Research Fish submission next year. http://artscouncil-ni.org/news/northern-irelands-creative-industries-boosted-with-new-240000-seed-fund Both organisations hosted an event to launch the call on the 20th of January 2020. This event was attended by 110 representatives from the creative industries, the local universities, artist community and community groups. This event showcased projects funded by Future Screens NI and the Digital Catapult. https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/creative-industries-seed-fund-information-day-tickets-86786455625#
Collaborator Contribution Future Screens NI and the Arts Council NI have collaborated to introduce the first ever Creative Industries SEED fund. The fund was established from a Departmental Underspend which was identified during the political crisis and prior to the NI Assembly and Executive becoming functional again. The initial amount of funding secured was £240,000, to which Future Screens NI contributed a further £50,000. The Minister then contributed a further £37,500 to the fund and Future Screens NI contributed a further £37,500. This increased the total value of the fund to £365,000. Consisting of a £277,500 investment from the AHRC into the Creative Industries and an investment of £87,500 from Future Screens NI. Future Screens NI have also delivered academic and research expertise to support 7 large-scale projects and further 19 projects. These projects have just been awarded and will form an essential aspect of the Research Fish submission next year. http://artscouncil-ni.org/news/northern-irelands-creative-industries-boosted-with-new-240000-seed-fund Both organisations hosted an event to launch the call on the 20th of January 2020. This event was attended by 110 representatives from the creative industries, the local universities, artist community and community groups. This event showcased projects funded by Future Screens NI and the Digital Catapult. https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/creative-industries-seed-fund-information-day-tickets-86786455625# The collaborative call has resulted in: • A joint investment of £365,000 in the local Creative Industries. £87,500 from Future Screens Ni and £277,500 from the Arts Council NI • 7 large scale transformative projects across art, theatre, audience development, craft making, mixed and alternative reality and VR film making which combines the very best of talent within the creative industries, the artist community, community sector with local academic and research experts. • 19 smaller scale projects across art, immersive technology, festivals, music technology and craft making • Closer collaborations between the creative industries, university, the artist community and the community sector • Increased visibility of Future Screens NI and the Digital Catapult
Impact The collaborative call has resulted in: • A joint investment of £365,000 in the local Creative Industries. £87,500 from Future Screens Ni and £277,500 from the Arts Council NI • 7 large scale transformative projects across art, theatre, audience development, craft making, mixed and alternative reality and VR film making which combines the very best of talent within the creative industries, the artist community, community sector with local academic and research experts. • 19 smaller scale projects across art, immersive technology, festivals, music technology and craft making • Closer collaborations between the creative industries, university, the artist community and the community sector • Increased visibility of Future Screens NI and the Digital Catapult https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ugR0XBSTyUGd75J8hrLirZppnPaHIQEk/view?usp=sharing
Start Year 2020
 
Description Digital Catapult NI 
Organisation Digital Catapult
Department Digital Catapult Centre Northern Ireland
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Ulster University, the Digital Catapult NI and Queen's University Belfast are key partners in the £13mn UKRI Industrial Challenge Creative Cluster Future Screens NI. Future Screens NI is a £13mn creative cluster in Northern Ireland. The partnership is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), as well as the industry. It brings together Ulster University, Queen's University Belfast, and key industrial partners, who are at the forefront of the local creative economy. Future Screens NI has the aim of delivering expert technical skills, opportunity and growth across: • Film and broadcast • Animation • Games • Immersive technologies Addressing challenges and building on existing strengths in creative industries in the region, areas of focus include: • Narrative and storytelling in digital content • Applications of VR/AR in health, tourism and engineering • Development of a games nexus • Expanding capacity for large scale film and TV production • Enhancing the high-level skills pipeline in 2D and 3D animation Future Screens NI which is the partnership between Ulster and Digital Catapult is a knowledge transfer partnership. Both organisations are located within the Ormeau Baths Innovation Hub and are core to building the creative cluster in the region. Future Screens NI and the Digital Catapult are working together to support local companies engaged in the creative industries to identify and resolve research development challenges which contribute to transformation of the sector, region and the company. Working together both organisations have established a unique innovation space for the creative industries within Ormeau Baths. Through the collaborative both partners are strengthening innovation and the development of digital solutions within region. Working together both organisations are strengthening the capacity of local creatives to engage in new, emerging and immersive technology and to clarify the funding pipeline to ensure that organisations can thrive within the local ecosystem. Digital Catapult NI and Future Screens NI collaborated to deliver the Surroundscapes event on the 23rd October 2019. This event provided the opportunity for participants to explore the importance of sound within immersive experiences, to learn from industry experts, and to hear from and experience immersive content from the showcase companies. Sound is an integral part of virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality experiences. Imagine the abrupt slamming of a door, the impending doom of an object coming towards you, or simply the way we naturally turn towards a sound in a dark corner. All of these sounds need to be seamlessly integrated into a VR, AR and MR experience. The event showcased Volta and their VR spatial audio production platform, Darkfield who specialise in creating communal location-based immersive experiences inside shipping containers , multi award winning immersive sound specialists 1618digital , ZoneMe: ZONEME's TRUE2LIFE™ object-based sound system provides a new way to control how audiences hear things by placing the sound at the point of origination and Magic Beans who work with big brands like Adidas, huge Orchestral pieces and Academy award winning Immersive Filmakers, and truly innovative projects beneath London's Victorian sewer complex and finally Playlines will be demoing a stripped down version of CONSEQUENCES which is described as Punchdrunk Theatre meets Pokemon Go: an immersive site-specific Augmented Reality rap experience, written and performed by multi award-winning UK rapper Harry Shotta using Bose AR Frames. The event also showcased the latest Immersive Sound production techniques from Future Screens NI at Ulster University featured a demo of their 'inclusive performance system' which allows the user to reach out, touch, interact, feel and affect musical properties through their engagement with, and experience of, an object's physical qualities, via VR. The event also showcased the Future Screens NI collaboration with QUB's Sonic Arts Research Centre's immersive sound experience based on the mythology and exploration of the Marble Arch Caves : "Are We Not Dreaming?" this hybrid listening system uses a combination of binaural rendering on headphones and ambisonics on loudspeaker arrays. The event also featured a demo from the Audio Lab at York University featuring their VR Experience 'Soundfields ' which is being used as a therapeutic tool for children who lie on the autistic spectrum. The event was attended by 110 participants and showcased 30 industrial projects. Immersive technologies, virtual (VR) and augmented reality (AR) have seen rapid evolution over the past few years, at the same time however there has been little in the way of establishing clear methodologies, best practices or guidance for the testing and development of immersive content and experiences. Future Screens NI Co-Is are at the forefront of establishing new methodologies within the immersive, new and emerging technology space. The Catapult are increasing access to the technology whilst the Future Screen NI team are bringing creative and technical expertise which is essential to expanding the creative industries and increasing engagement in technology. Future Screens NI co-funded the Department for Communities Creative Industries SEED fund and the Digital Catapult formed part of the review committee. http://artscouncil-ni.org/news/northern-irelands-creative-industries-boosted-with-new-240000-seed-fund This fund has directed £325,000 into the local creative industries. Initially the fund was to invest £240,000 into the local creative sector but additional funding was received from the Minister which has resulted in the extension of the fund to £325,000 funding 7 large scale projects and 19 smaller projects. The partners co-delivered the Immersive Audiences: How to design and evaluate immersive user journeys in March 2020. The event which was delivered on behalf of UKRI and the Audience of the Future Demonstrator programme. Future Screens NI provided technical and creative input and encouraged organisations to participate in the event. The event was attended by over 50 representatives of the creative industries. Together the partners have: Created an ecosystem to grow the creative industries and increase capacity within new, emerging and immersive technology within the Ormeau Baths Created a pipeline to engage and support organisations to identify and address R&D challenges using new emerging and immersive technologies Delivered a series of essential events which have enhanced the capacity of the local creative industries. Strengthened R&D capacity of the local creative industries within new, emerging and immersive technologies Additional Supporting Information https://vimeo.com/372602129 (Video) https://tinyurl.com/vydpuku (images) https://tinyurl.com/rqmkwmy (report) https://creativeindustriesclusters.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Clusters-Booklet-Story-So-Far-FINAL-web.pdf https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZY6eQbPLGU&feature=youtu.be https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42mItwjPW8I&feature=youtu.be
Collaborator Contribution Ulster University, the Digital Catapult NI and Queen's University Belfast are key partners in the £13mn UKRI Industrial Challenge Creative Cluster Future Screens NI. Future Screens NI is a £13mn creative cluster in Northern Ireland. The partnership is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), as well as the industry. It brings together Ulster University, Queen's University Belfast, and key industrial partners, who are at the forefront of the local creative economy. Future Screens NI has the aim of delivering expert technical skills, opportunity and growth across: • Film and broadcast • Animation • Games • Immersive technologies Addressing challenges and building on existing strengths in creative industries in the region, areas of focus include: • Narrative and storytelling in digital content • Applications of VR/AR in health, tourism and engineering • Development of a games nexus • Expanding capacity for large scale film and TV production • Enhancing the high-level skills pipeline in 2D and 3D animation Future Screens NI which is the partnership between Ulster and Digital Catapult is a knowledge transfer partnership. Both organisations are located within the Ormeau Baths Innovation Hub and are core to building the creative cluster in the region. Future Screens NI and the Digital Catapult are working together to support local companies engaged in the creative industries to identify and resolve research development challenges which contribute to transformation of the sector, region and the company. Working together both organisations have established a unique innovation space for the creative industries within Ormeau Baths. Through the collaboration both partners are strengthening innovation and the development of digital solutions within region. Working together both organisations are strengthening the capacity of local creatives to engage in new, emerging and immersive technology and to clarify the funding pipeline to ensure that organisations can thrive within the local ecosystem. Digital Catapult NI and Future Screens NI collaborated to deliver the Surroundscapes event on the 23rd October 2019. This event provided the opportunity for participants to explore the importance of sound within immersive experiences, to learn from industry experts, and to hear from and experience immersive content from the showcase companies. Sound is an integral part of virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality experiences. Imagine the abrupt slamming of a door, the impending doom of an object coming towards you, or simply the way we naturally turn towards a sound in a dark corner. All of these sounds need to be seamlessly integrated into a VR, AR and MR experience. The event showcased Volta and their VR spatial audio production platform, Darkfield who specialise in creating communal location-based immersive experiences inside shipping containers , multi award winning immersive sound specialists 1618digital , ZoneMe: ZONEME's TRUE2LIFE™ object-based sound system provides a new way to control how audiences hear things by placing the sound at the point of origination and Magic Beans who work with big brands like Adidas, huge Orchestral pieces and Academy award winning Immersive Filmakers, and truly innovative projects beneath London's Victorian sewer complex and finally Playlines will be demoing a stripped down version of CONSEQUENCES which is described as Punchdrunk Theatre meets Pokemon Go: an immersive site-specific Augmented Reality rap experience, written and performed by multi award-winning UK rapper Harry Shotta using Bose AR Frames. The event also showcased the latest Immersive Sound production techniques from Future Screens NI at Ulster University featured a demo of their 'inclusive performance system' which allows the user to reach out, touch, interact, feel and affect musical properties through their engagement with, and experience of, an object's physical qualities, via VR. The event also showcased the Future Screens NI collaboration with QUB's Sonic Arts Research Centre's immersive sound experience based on the mythology and exploration of the Marble Arch Caves : "Are We Not Dreaming?" this hybrid listening system uses a combination of binaural rendering on headphones and ambisonics on loudspeaker arrays. The event also featured a demo from the Audio Lab at York University featuring their VR Experience 'Soundfields ' which is being used as a therapeutic tool for children who lie on the autistic spectrum. The event was attended by 110 participants and showcased 30 industrial projects. Immersive technologies, virtual (VR) and augmented reality (AR) have seen rapid evolution over the past few years, at the same time however there has been little in the way of establishing clear methodologies, best practices or guidance for the testing and development of immersive content and experiences. Future Screens NI Co-Is are at the forefront of establishing new methodologies within the immersive, new and emerging technology space. The Catapult are increasing access to the technology whilst the Future Screen NI team are bringing creative and technical expertise which is essential to expanding the creative industries and increasing engagement in technology. Future Screens NI co-funded the Department for Communities Creative Industries SEED fund and the Digital Catapult formed part of the review committee. http://artscouncil-ni.org/news/northern-irelands-creative-industries-boosted-with-new-240000-seed-fund This fund has directed £325,000 into the local creative industries. Initially the fund was to invest £240,000 into the local creative sector but additional funding was received from the Minister which has resulted in the extension of the fund to £325,000 funding 7 large scale projects and 19 smaller projects. The partners co-delivered the Immersive Audiences: How to design and evaluate immersive user journeys in March 2020. The event which was delivered on behalf of UKRI and the Audience of the Future Demonstrator programme. Future Screens NIO provided technical and creative input and encouraged organisations to participate in the event. The event was attended by over 50 representatives of the creative industries. Together the partners have: Created an ecosystem to grow the creative industries and increase capacity within new, emerging and immersive technology within the Ormeau Baths Created a pipeline to engage and support organisations to identify and address R&D challenges using new emerging and immersive technologies Delivered a series of essential events which have enhanced the capacity of the local creative industries. Strengthened R&D capacity of the local creative industries within new, emerging and immersive technologies Additional Supporting Information https://vimeo.com/372602129 (Video) https://tinyurl.com/vydpuku (images) https://tinyurl.com/rqmkwmy (report) https://creativeindustriesclusters.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Clusters-Booklet-Story-So-Far-FINAL-web.pdf https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZY6eQbPLGU&feature=youtu.be https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42mItwjPW8I&feature=youtu.be
Impact Through the collaboration both partners are strengthening innovation and the development of digital solutions within region. Working together both organisations are strengthening the capacity of local creatives to engage in new, emerging and immersive technology and to clarify the funding pipeline to ensure that organisations can thrive within the local ecosystem. Digital Catapult NI and Future Screens NI collaborated to deliver the Surroundscapes event on the 23rd October 2019. This event provided the opportunity for participants to explore the importance of sound within immersive experiences, to learn from industry experts, and to hear from and experience immersive content from the showcase companies. Sound is an integral part of virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality experiences. Imagine the abrupt slamming of a door, the impending doom of an object coming towards you, or simply the way we naturally turn towards a sound in a dark corner. All of these sounds need to be seamlessly integrated into a VR, AR and MR experience. The event showcased Volta and their VR spatial audio production platform, Darkfield who specialise in creating communal location-based immersive experiences inside shipping containers , multi award winning immersive sound specialists 1618digital , ZoneMe: ZONEME's TRUE2LIFE™ object-based sound system provides a new way to control how audiences hear things by placing the sound at the point of origination and Magic Beans who work with big brands like Adidas, huge Orchestral pieces and Academy award winning Immersive Filmakers, and truly innovative projects beneath London's Victorian sewer complex and finally Playlines will be demoing a stripped down version of CONSEQUENCES which is described as Punchdrunk Theatre meets Pokemon Go: an immersive site-specific Augmented Reality rap experience, written and performed by multi award-winning UK rapper Harry Shotta using Bose AR Frames. The event also showcased the latest Immersive Sound production techniques from Future Screens NI at Ulster University featured a demo of their 'inclusive performance system' which allows the user to reach out, touch, interact, feel and affect musical properties through their engagement with, and experience of, an object's physical qualities, via VR. The event also showcased the Future Screens NI collaboration with QUB's Sonic Arts Research Centre's immersive sound experience based on the mythology and exploration of the Marble Arch Caves : "Are We Not Dreaming?" this hybrid listening system uses a combination of binaural rendering on headphones and ambisonics on loudspeaker arrays. The event also featured a demo from the Audio Lab at York University featuring their VR Experience 'Soundfields ' which is being used as a therapeutic tool for children who lie on the autistic spectrum. The event was attended by 110 participants and showcased 30 industrial projects. Immersive technologies, virtual (VR) and augmented reality (AR) have seen rapid evolution over the past few years, at the same time however there has been little in the way of establishing clear methodologies, best practices or guidance for the testing and development of immersive content and experiences. Future Screens NI Co-Is are at the forefront of establishing new methodologies within the immersive, new and emerging technology space. The Catapult are increasing access to the technology whilst the Future Screen NI team are bringing creative and technical expertise which is essential to expanding the creative industries and increasing engagement in technology. Future Screens NI co-funded the Department for Communities Creative Industries SEED fund and the Digital Catapult formed part of the review committee. http://artscouncil-ni.org/news/northern-irelands-creative-industries-boosted-with-new-240000-seed-fund This fund has directed £325,000 into the local creative industries. Initially the fund was to invest £240,000 into the local creative sector but additional funding was received from the Minister which has resulted in the extension of the fund to £325,000 funding 7 large scale projects and 19 smaller projects. The partners co-delivered the Immersive Audiences: How to design and evaluate immersive user journeys in March 2020. The event which was delivered on behalf of UKRI and the Audience of the Future Demonstrator programme. Future Screens NIO provided technical and creative input and encouraged organisations to participate in the event. The event was attended by over 50 representatives of the creative industries. Together the partners have: Created an ecosystem to grow the creative industries and increase capacity within new, emerging and immersive technology within the Ormeau Baths Created a pipeline to engage and support organisations to identify and address R&D challenges using new emerging and immersive technologies Delivered a series of essential events which have enhanced the capacity of the local creative industries. Strengthened R&D capacity of the local creative industries within new, emerging and immersive technologies Additional Supporting Information https://vimeo.com/372602129 (Video) https://tinyurl.com/vydpuku (images) https://tinyurl.com/rqmkwmy (report) https://creativeindustriesclusters.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Clusters-Booklet-Story-So-Far-FINAL-web.pdf https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZY6eQbPLGU&feature=youtu.be https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42mItwjPW8I&feature=youtu.be
Start Year 2018
 
Description Digital Humanoids: Retinize and Future Screens NI 
Organisation RETìníZE Limited
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Future Screens NI have contributed £42,860 to this project. This includes and R&D grant to the value of £9,900, academic and research expertise and administrative support. Working together Future Screens NI and Retinize have identified and are working to address the challenge associated with creating digital humanoids that are believable yet don't run the risk of falling into uncanny valley has until recently been prohibitively expensive for all but the largest companies, with the actual process itself being extremely time-consuming. However, due to recent technological advances, each step of the production pipeline is accelerating, with the number of steps needed from conception to completion dropping, and the overall cost of each step decreasing. While this is allowing more and more people access to these digital avatars, many individuals are failing to choose the method of creation that is most effective for their project, leading to wasted time, money, and resources. The majority of production companies, clients, and consumers lack a detailed understanding of the main differences between different forms of motion capture, with many individuals using terms such as performance capture and motion capture interchangeably despite substantial baselines differences between them. The results of this misunderstanding leads to producers and companies pursuing the wrong method for their projects, hampering production and leading to delays and budget overspends. Retinize and Future Screens NI have addressed this issue by creating a service that streamlines this whole pipeline enabling us to rapidly produce content for film, TV, gaming and immersive media which provides clients with the highest quality digital humanoids, in an efficient and cost effective way, that allows them to tell their stories. Retinize then assess their project, storyboards, and ideas, and guide them towards the best method to achieve their vision. Together they have created a showcase of the latest techniques of various capture methods (such as volumetric performance capture and various motion capture methods) that would allow for an easy side by side comparison. In order to allow clients and creatives to make an informed choice regarding capture methodologies and pursue the best path forward for their project. An additional benefit is that this showcase acts an educational tool for sectors of the creative industry and give a greater understanding of each process to the relevant people, allowing for faster and more accurate future decisions. This research is informing the kind of facilities required by local industry going forward in relation to motion capture technology through any investment from the Belfast City Deal initiative. Future Screens NI and Retinize have produced real time digital humanoids that are multi-faceted. The techniques applied combine a high resolution hyper realistic photo scan of a performer alongside a motion capture suit and high end smartphone. The motion capture suit will allow for accurate recording of body movements, while the high end smartphone will allow for highly precise facial capture for a relatively low cost (in comparison to existing facial capture methodologies and technologies). This allows an almost true to life capture to be undertaken rapidly but at a vastly reduced cost when compared to current high end options currently on offer, such as pure volumetric capture. This methodology will also help to improve on some of the limitations of these systems, especially facial recordings. Outcomes include: Retinize and Future Screens NI have addressed this issue by creating a service that streamlines this whole pipeline enabling us to rapidly produce content for film, TV, gaming and immersive media which provides clients with the highest quality digital humanoids, in an efficient and cost effective way, that allows them to tell their stories. Retinize then assess their project, storyboards, and ideas, and guide them towards the best method to achieve their vision. With subsequent increases in quality and decreases in production time. Together they have created a showcase of the latest techniques of various capture methods (such as volumetric performance capture and various motion capture methods) that would allow for an easy side by side comparison. In order to allow clients and creatives to make an informed choice regarding capture methodologies and pursue the best path forward for their project. An additional benefit is that this showcase acts an educational tool for sectors of the creative industry and give a greater understanding of each process to the relevant people, allowing for faster and more accurate future decisions. This research is informing the kind of facilities required by local industry going forward in relation to motion capture technology through any investment from the Belfast City Deal initiative. Retinize Future Screens NI have produced a service that streamlines the production pipeline enabling us the rapid production of content for film, TV, gaming and immersive media which provides clients with the highest quality digital humanoids, in an efficient and cost effective way, that allows them to tell their stories. Retinize then assess their project, storyboards, and ideas, and guide them towards the best method to achieve their vision. The creation of a showcase of the latest techniques of various capture methods (such as volumetric performance capture and various motion capture methods) that would allow for an easy side by side comparison. In order to allow clients and creatives to make an informed choice regarding capture methodologies and pursue the best path forward for their project. An additional benefit is that this showcase acts an educational tool for sectors of the creative industry and give a greater understanding of each process to the relevant people, allowing for faster and more accurate future decisions. This research is informing the kind of facilities required by local industry going forward in relation to motion capture technology through any investment from the Belfast City Deal initiative. The production of real time digital humanoids that are multi-faceted. The techniques applied combine a high resolution hyper realistic photo scan of a performer alongside a motion capture suit and high end smartphone. The motion capture suit will allow for accurate recording of body movements, while the high end smartphone will allow for highly precise facial capture for a relatively low cost (in comparison to existing facial capture methodologies and technologies). This allows an almost true to life capture to be undertaken rapidly but at a vastly reduced cost when compared to current high end options currently on offer, such as pure volumetric capture. This methodology will also help to improve on some of the limitations of these systems, especially facial recordings. Future Screens have provided the academic expertise via Dr Declan Keeney to deviese a practice-based approach to this R&D activity, exploring each of the processes for creating realistic digital humanoids. This has included different options for volumetric and motion capture that are currently on the market. The team have the trialed various hardware options (e.g. XSens Motion Capture suit) using our own internal equipment, trialling additional equipment and working with project partners who own and are willing to rent additional equipment to conduct the research. SDKs and frameworks have been downloaded and explored to analyse the best software offerings for volumetric and motion capture. Where possible we will maintain a dialogue with the software development companies to establish best practice for using their toolsets. Retinize's has a dual business model, commercial content creation and original content creation. This business model has allowed Retinize to create content for a wide range of industries ranging from broadcasters, car brands, charities and tourism destinations. Within both sides of the business the demand for realistic animation models has increased and become more and more important. Retinize's commercial business focuses on the advertising, museums and tourism industry were project briefs are asking for every increasing realistic environments and characters. Within the advertising industry retail and cosmetic brands want realistic 3D avatars with which they can display their products digital, digital is increasingly seen as an key avenue for engaging with consumers. Digital displays in shops, AR apps which can be accessed at home, even VR fashion shows are becoming more popular. Future Screens NI and Retinize have worked together to identify and address the key challenges associated with making the products look as real digitally as they do in real life and a key component of this is having realistic avatars. Within the museum sector realistic avatars are seen as a potentially important, and cost effective component to bringing exhibits to life. Having realistic digital characters on display that reflect the artefacts can drive visitor engagement and enhance the visitor experience. Also having the characters digital captured means that new content can be created easily meaning that exhibits can be continually updated to keep them engaging for visitors. Using digital technology to engage with the next generation of visitors is seen as increasingly important as they are the generation that has grown up with digital content and now expect any learning to be delivered through the same methods. Within the Tourism sector AR has become an area of interest for providing guides for visitors. We are currently working with a number of tourism bodies to deliver AR guides and feedback that Retinize have received is that realistic digital guides are important. It is the position of Retinize that the significantly increased level of realism achieved with AR avatars resulting from this project will open up a number of commercial avenues for AR tourism not just in the UK but globally.
Collaborator Contribution Working together Future Screens NI and Retinize have identified and are working to address the challenge associated with creating digital humanoids that are believable yet don't run the risk of falling into uncanny valley has until recently been prohibitively expensive for all but the largest companies, with the actual process itself being extremely time-consuming. However, due to recent technological advances, each step of the production pipeline is accelerating, with the number of steps needed from conception to completion dropping, and the overall cost of each step decreasing. While this is allowing more and more people access to these digital avatars, many individuals are failing to choose the method of creation that is most effective for their project, leading to wasted time, money, and resources. The majority of production companies, clients, and consumers lack a detailed understanding of the main differences between different forms of motion capture, with many individuals using terms such as performance capture and motion capture interchangeably despite substantial baselines differences between them. The results of this misunderstanding leads to producers and companies pursuing the wrong method for their projects, hampering production and leading to delays and budget overspends. Retinize and Future Screens NI have addressed this issue by creating a service that streamlines this whole pipeline enabling us to rapidly produce content for film, TV, gaming and immersive media which provides clients with the highest quality digital humanoids, in an efficient and cost effective way, that allows them to tell their stories. Retinize then assess their project, storyboards, and ideas, and guide them towards the best method to achieve their vision. Together they have created a showcase of the latest techniques of various capture methods (such as volumetric performance capture and various motion capture methods) that would allow for an easy side by side comparison. In order to allow clients and creatives to make an informed choice regarding capture methodologies and pursue the best path forward for their project. An additional benefit is that this showcase acts an educational tool for sectors of the creative industry and give a greater understanding of each process to the relevant people, allowing for faster and more accurate future decisions. This research is informing the kind of facilities required by local industry going forward in relation to motion capture technology through any investment from the Belfast City Deal initiative. Future Screens NI and Retinize have produced real time digital humanoids that are multi-faceted. The techniques applied combine a high resolution hyper realistic photo scan of a performer alongside a motion capture suit and high end smartphone. The motion capture suit will allow for accurate recording of body movements, while the high end smartphone will allow for highly precise facial capture for a relatively low cost (in comparison to existing facial capture methodologies and technologies). This allows an almost true to life capture to be undertaken rapidly but at a vastly reduced cost when compared to current high end options currently on offer, such as pure volumetric capture. This methodology will also help to improve on some of the limitations of these systems, especially facial recordings. Outcomes include: Retinize and Future Screens NI have addressed this issue by creating a service that streamlines this whole pipeline enabling us to rapidly produce content for film, TV, gaming and immersive media which provides clients with the highest quality digital humanoids, in an efficient and cost effective way, that allows them to tell their stories. Retinize then assess their project, storyboards, and ideas, and guide them towards the best method to achieve their vision. With subsequent increases in quality and decreases in production time. Together they have created a showcase of the latest techniques of various capture methods (such as volumetric performance capture and various motion capture methods) that would allow for an easy side by side comparison. In order to allow clients and creatives to make an informed choice regarding capture methodologies and pursue the best path forward for their project. An additional benefit is that this showcase acts an educational tool for sectors of the creative industry and give a greater understanding of each process to the relevant people, allowing for faster and more accurate future decisions. This research is informing the kind of facilities required by local industry going forward in relation to motion capture technology through any investment from the Belfast City Deal initiative. Retinize Future Screens NI have produced a service that streamlines the production pipeline enabling us the rapid production of content for film, TV, gaming and immersive media which provides clients with the highest quality digital humanoids, in an efficient and cost effective way, that allows them to tell their stories. Retinize then assess their project, storyboards, and ideas, and guide them towards the best method to achieve their vision. The creation of a showcase of the latest techniques of various capture methods (such as volumetric performance capture and various motion capture methods) that would allow for an easy side by side comparison. In order to allow clients and creatives to make an informed choice regarding capture methodologies and pursue the best path forward for their project. An additional benefit is that this showcase acts an educational tool for sectors of the creative industry and give a greater understanding of each process to the relevant people, allowing for faster and more accurate future decisions. This research is informing the kind of facilities required by local industry going forward in relation to motion capture technology through any investment from the Belfast City Deal initiative. The production of real time digital humanoids that are multi-faceted. The techniques applied combine a high resolution hyper realistic photo scan of a performer alongside a motion capture suit and high end smartphone. The motion capture suit will allow for accurate recording of body movements, while the high end smartphone will allow for highly precise facial capture for a relatively low cost (in comparison to existing facial capture methodologies and technologies). This allows an almost true to life capture to be undertaken rapidly but at a vastly reduced cost when compared to current high end options currently on offer, such as pure volumetric capture. This methodology will also help to improve on some of the limitations of these systems, especially facial recordings. Future Screens have provided the academic expertise via Dr Declan Keeney to deviese a practice-based approach to this R&D activity, exploring each of the processes for creating realistic digital humanoids. This has included different options for volumetric and motion capture that are currently on the market. The team have the trialed various hardware options (e.g. XSens Motion Capture suit) using our own internal equipment, trialling additional equipment and working with project partners who own and are willing to rent additional equipment to conduct the research. SDKs and frameworks have been downloaded and explored to analyse the best software offerings for volumetric and motion capture. Where possible we will maintain a dialogue with the software development companies to establish best practice for using their toolsets. Retinize's has a dual business model, commercial content creation and original content creation. This business model has allowed Retinize to create content for a wide range of industries ranging from broadcasters, car brands, charities and tourism destinations. Within both sides of the business the demand for realistic animation models has increased and become more and more important. Retinize's commercial business focuses on the advertising, museums and tourism industry were project briefs are asking for every increasing realistic environments and characters. Within the advertising industry retail and cosmetic brands want realistic 3D avatars with which they can display their products digital, digital is increasingly seen as an key avenue for engaging with consumers. Digital displays in shops, AR apps which can be accessed at home, even VR fashion shows are becoming more popular. Future Screens NI and Retinize have worked together to identify and address the key challenges associated with making the products look as real digitally as they do in real life and a key component of this is having realistic avatars. Within the museum sector realistic avatars are seen as a potentially important, and cost effective component to bringing exhibits to life. Having realistic digital characters on display that reflect the artefacts can drive visitor engagement and enhance the visitor experience. Also having the characters digital captured means that new content can be created easily meaning that exhibits can be continually updated to keep them engaging for visitors. Using digital technology to engage with the next generation of visitors is seen as increasingly important as they are the generation that has grown up with digital content and now expect any learning to be delivered through the same methods. Within the Tourism sector AR has become an area of interest for providing guides for visitors. We are currently working with a number of tourism bodies to deliver AR guides and feedback that Retinize have received is that realistic digital guides are important. It is the position of Retinize that the significantly increased level of realism achieved with AR avatars resulting from this project will open up a number of commercial avenues for AR tourism not just in the UK but globally.
Impact Retinize and Future Screens NI have addressed this issue by creating a service that streamlines this whole pipeline enabling us to rapidly produce content for film, TV, gaming and immersive media which provides clients with the highest quality digital humanoids, in an efficient and cost effective way, that allows them to tell their stories. Retinize then assess their project, storyboards, and ideas, and guide them towards the best method to achieve their vision. With subsequent increases in quality and decreases in production time. Together they have created a showcase of the latest techniques of various capture methods (such as volumetric performance capture and various motion capture methods) that would allow for an easy side by side comparison. In order to allow clients and creatives to make an informed choice regarding capture methodologies and pursue the best path forward for their project. An additional benefit is that this showcase acts an educational tool for sectors of the creative industry and give a greater understanding of each process to the relevant people, allowing for faster and more accurate future decisions. This research is informing the kind of facilities required by local industry going forward in relation to motion capture technology through any investment from the Belfast City Deal initiative. Retinize Future Screens NI have produced a service that streamlines the production pipeline enabling us the rapid production of content for film, TV, gaming and immersive media which provides clients with the highest quality digital humanoids, in an efficient and cost effective way, that allows them to tell their stories. Retinize then assess their project, storyboards, and ideas, and guide them towards the best method to achieve their vision. The creation of a showcase of the latest techniques of various capture methods (such as volumetric performance capture and various motion capture methods) that would allow for an easy side by side comparison. In order to allow clients and creatives to make an informed choice regarding capture methodologies and pursue the best path forward for their project. An additional benefit is that this showcase acts an educational tool for sectors of the creative industry and give a greater understanding of each process to the relevant people, allowing for faster and more accurate future decisions. This research is informing the kind of facilities required by local industry going forward in relation to motion capture technology through any investment from the Belfast City Deal initiative. The production of real time digital humanoids that are multi-faceted. The techniques applied combine a high resolution hyper realistic photo scan of a performer alongside a motion capture suit and high end smartphone. The motion capture suit will allow for accurate recording of body movements, while the high end smartphone will allow for highly precise facial capture for a relatively low cost (in comparison to existing facial capture methodologies and technologies). This allows an almost true to life capture to be undertaken rapidly but at a vastly reduced cost when compared to current high end options currently on offer, such as pure volumetric capture. This methodology will also help to improve on some of the limitations of these systems, especially facial recordings.
Start Year 2019
 
Description EnterYes, ONAR 
Organisation EnterYes
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The Future Screens NI team has identified a strong need for R&D with regards to the use of High Definition Rendering Pipelines (HDRP) for use in the games engine Unity. Unity provides a very large number of games development studios with an open source games engine which has a low barrier to entry for cost as well as expertise, this means that it has a very large install base which makes it perfect for experimenting with HDRP as the game indsutry moves more towards wide use of this technique. The R&D challenge was to establish a ray tracing pipeline for Unity in conjunction with HDRP and the NVIDIA RTX (Ray Tracing Card) tp progress and propel Northern Irish games development into a new generation of games graphics with the support of Unity and NVIDIA. The computer graphics industry is transitioning towards a real time ray tracing as standard for rendering computer graphics. Creative studios are now entering an uncertainty and research and development phase when progressing from a standard definition pipeline to a ray tracing High Definition Render Pipeline (HDRP). Technically many established texture formats, exports, file types and artist workflows have changed to accommodate the new level of fidelity and benefits of HDPR which will become standard within the computer games, animation and film sector. Using the expertise of the Future Screens NI team, EnterYes was able to create a solution which automated processes which assisted artists, developers and studios streamline their workflows for transition to the new HDRP pipeline.
Collaborator Contribution EnterYes created a two-minute narrative example (IP) of ray tracing within Unity and was produced over a 4-month period. They were also able to produce documentation (IP) that details the pipeline and workflow required for an artist, developer, and creative studio to streamline the transition from an SD render pipe line to a ray tracing High Definition Render Pipeline (HDRP). In addition to this EnterYes produced a piece of bespoke and licensable software (IP) that automates aspects of texture generation and HDPR conversions required. The market opportunity is multi faceted. Internally this allows Enter Yes to become more competitive within the global video games and computer animation market as both a content provider and service provider. Externally Enter Yes will also benefit from creating licensable software and documentation that generates a potential revenue stream by using the narrative video as marketing material for both internal and external benefits.
Impact EnterYes have been able to successfully produce ray-tracing content with the High Definition Rendering Pipeline and produce documentation for a variety of discriplines showing how it can be done in an effective manner
Start Year 2019
 
Description Enterprise Causeway and Lead2Grow 
Organisation Enterprise Causeway
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution SMEs are crucial to economic growth and development at regional and national levels (Thorpe et al., 2009). Research clearly delineates a lack of leadership capacity and capability as one of the principal causes of small business failure (Jones, 2011; CMI, 2015). The research problem of this proposal considers how existing leadership development programmes focus on larger organisations, failing to accommodate for the unique characteristics and context of micro firms (Reinl and Kelliher, 2014; Armstrong and Page, 2015). Even though micro firms (less than 10 employees) account for 95% of NI's business population (FSB, 2016), aside from Lead2Grow (L2G), in Northern Ireland (NI) there is no leadership intervention targeted at the small business owner. The direct correlation between leadership capability and business growth underpins the urgency and need for a bespoke and tailored leadership programme in NI. However, micro firm entrepreneurs are defined as 'hard to reach' employers, therefore research also underlines the importance of a specific and relevant approach to the marketing and recruitment of participants in such programmes. While leadership development is vital for survival and growth during times of uncertainty (Pinter, 2008; Zemke and Zemke, 2001; Rae, 2012), business leaders in the Creative Industries (CI) in NI encounter a unique set of challenges as a result of size, constant changing economic and political climate, and Brexit. UK CI reports identify how creative businesses specifically lack leadership capabilities (PwC, 2015; Bazalgette, 2017; Matrix, 2018). Not only is there a lack of understanding of this gap (Armstrong and Page, 2015), but there a greater void of leadership development intervention for CI entrepreneurs that deals with growth and performance (NESTA, 2013). It is acknowledged that during initial consultation with CI firms during the early stages of AHRC creative clusters bid application, CI businesses also acknowledge their need for improved leadership ability and knowledge. New products, applications and services are the lifeblood of the CI and the significance of the overall industry on the local economy is further reinforced by recent government reports (DCMS, 2016). More specifically in NI, CI firms are defined 'a key growth sector of the local economy' (Creativity NI, 2019), yet many creative businesses tend to stay small and restrained in terms of growth and productivity (Nesta, 2018). There is a significantly higher number of small firms within the CI in contrast to other industries e.g. 35% of the creative businesses are self-employed, compared to the UK industry average of 15%. Future Screens NI have identified a clear R&D challenge born out of the gap in a leadership intervention model linked to business and industry need. The expertise of the Future Screens NI Team has been directed towards addressing the overall research objective is to improve leadership capability and stimulate sustained improved business performance, by focusing on the creative leader's capacity to learn and then transfer that learning across the business for real impact. In doing so, the research has adapted the existing L2G model (Hutchinson, 2017) addressing leadership ability and working with CI entrepreneurs to improve business growth focusing in this case on micro firms based in the North West. The Future Screens NI team have co-created the solution to the research challenge and development challenge with Enterprise Causeway through the development of a new research model for a leadership programme for creative entrepreneurs. This model seeks to meet the leadership challenges of micro firms in the CI, helping to mitigate business failure, enhance business growth and overcoming misperception in the CI that leadership capability is not important or relevant. It has provided CI leaders with the opportunity to learn the art and craft of leadership by participation in a three day practical workshop programme, one to one executive coaching, and access to an online resource toolkit. Evaluation and feedback are critical in measuring the impact of the programme in terms of performance and growth, which in turn will build the reputation and pipeline for further delivery of the programme across NI. In the UK there is no leadership development programme relevant to the sector. This is emphasised through UK reports which highlight the need for leadership enhancement (Bazalgette Review, 2017; PwC, 2015). Given creative clusters form in various geographic areas (NESTA, 2016a), there is therefore a requirement to develop a programme which is geographically bespoke to each area to ensure the needs of creatives in those areas are identified and the programme content and structure is based around these individual needs. The R&D of content in this programme has been focused upon the art and craft of leadership, providing new learning first in terms of reframing the concept of leadership making it relevant to the CI and then secondly, by learning new tools that bring real business impact: storytelling and creative problem solving. Given creative businesses should be shaped using the creative context (CLP, 2002), video and communication tools will be utilised in developing the leaders story and the future of the business. Moreover, Design Thinking, is used to develop a new creative thought process for entrepreneurs (Ingle, 2013), which has been positively associated with supporting business growth (Leavy, 2012; Deloitte, 2016). Partners from Ulster University via Future Screens NI have shaped the programme content, preparation, delivery and evaluation. Ulster University via Future Screens NI have provided this project with necessary research expertise (including human, facility, technical and financial resources): • Facilitation of workshops by key staff members • Project management from initiation to completion • Research ability and expertise This project has increased the reach of Enterprise North west and Enterprise Causeway's audience and developed market share of participating businesses. Defined as hard to reach employers, the research and development in this project has invested in learning for marketing and recruitment for further programmes attracting a wider range of CI firms and their leaders. Key persons include: • Professor Karise Hutchinson: Professor of Leadership, Provost of Coleraine campus with extensive expertise in research around leadership and small business growth • Dr Justin Magee: Research Director, School of Art & Design • Rachael Fergie: PhD researcher, with in leadership development in the CI sector, Ulster Business School This anticipated enhanced performance has been monitored throughout and beyond the project. Given this programme will be further delivered across NI, audience reach and companies impacted by the Lead2Grow programme has the potential to will grow extensively beyond this project in the following ways: ? Creative firms and entrepreneurs who do not engage with Lead2Grow during this iteration of the programme will ultimately be more encouraged to engage with Enterprise North West, Enterprise Causeway and FSNI in the future ? Publications will be developed with results of programme and as a result, will aid enhancement of learning impact to the CI and thus encourage leadership practices within additional creative firms (beyond the 10 in this programme) e.g. through research and academic papers, publications and reports ? This programme will also significantly impact stakeholders of the businesses involved, e.g. business growth in terms of outputs will yield an increase in business for suppliers The Lead2Grow programme has been developed to generate new leadership models commenced in March 2019 with an initial Lead2Grow Conference which was attended by 211 participants. The Lead2Grow Programme has been delivered to 50 businesses within the North West. The Programme has extended the Future Screens NI Programme into the North West which is an essential aspect of the Future Screens NI Programme. https://vimeo.com/330749212
Collaborator Contribution Micro creative firms are defined by UKCES (2015) as 'hard to reach' employers. The scoping stage of this research has revealed the owners of creative firms are hesitant to accept the term 'leader'. On one hand, while they may realise the importance of leadership in general, it is not linked to their business growth and performance. There is potential this (mis)perception in turn may discourage CI entrepreneurs from investing in leadership development and the L2G programme. However, Enterprise Causeway's track record of delivering leadership programmes to micro firms combined with their experience of working within the CI sector, should help mitigate the risk of non-engagement and poor response rate. Enterprise Causeway have significant experience in meeting needs of the creative micro firms through current business support programmes. Using human, technical and financial resources, Enterprise Causeway will provide the project with: • business review and action planning • management information system to support programme administration, financial management, quality assurance, monitoring and reporting • existing knowledge of creative businesses • monitoring and reporting from project initiation to project completion Enterprise Causeway have extensive experience and a robust management information system to allow tracking of this project performance against agreed targets. Enterprise Causeway have provided the infrastructure to advance the project and the mechanisms through which to engage participants alongside industry focused expertise.
Impact A flagship Lead2Grow Conference was delivered to 211 participants creating the framework for the Lead2Grow Programme. The Lead2Grow Programme has been delivered to 50 participants across the North West 5 participating businesses have adjusted their business model and leadership structure 3 participating businesses have attracted investment 11 new jobs have been created within participating businesses The PhD Researcher has secured a permanent Lecturing position within the Ulster Business School
Start Year 2018
 
Description Experimental Design-Future Belfast 
Organisation Experimental Design
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Future Screens NI is a £13mn creative cluster in Northern Ireland. The partnership is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), as well as the industry. It brings together Ulster University, Queen's University Belfast, and key industrial partners, who are at the forefront of the local creative economy. Future Screens NI has the aim of delivering expert technical skills, opportunity and growth across: • Film and broadcast • Animation • Games • Immersive technologies Addressing challenges and building on existing strengths in creative industries in the region, areas of focus include: • Narrative and storytelling in digital content • Applications of VR/AR in health, tourism and engineering • Development of a games nexus • Expanding capacity for large scale film and TV production • Enhancing the high-level skills pipeline in 2D and 3D animation Ulster University, Experimental Design and Queen's University Belfast are the lead partners in the £13mn UKRI Industrial Challenge Creative Cluster Future Screens NI. Together they competitively secured £6mn from the AHRC, with a further £7mn secured from industry. Together the partnership has supported significant Research and Development Projects within the local creative economy. Together the partnership has attracted significant Global Partners including Experimental Design LA, Disney, HBO, The Romeros, Discovery and Warner Media. In Year 1 alone the Future Screens NI partnership has invested £2mn research undertaken by local SMEs. £0.7mn via the AHRC and £1.2mn from NI Screen and industry partners. This is the first time that both Universities and Industry have collaborated on this scale. This would not have been achieved without NI Screen. The 2016-2017 draft PFG proposes that NI has 'an innovative creative society where people can fulfil their potential'. The draft NI Industrial Strategy and the Invest NI Business Strategy 2017 identify 'digital and creative technologies' as one of six 'broad' areas of the economy where Northern Ireland has 'world-class capabilities, 'further noting that 'NI has gained a global reputation in the creative industries with notable success in the TV and film industry as well as the burgeoning animation sector.' In spite of this there has been significant underinvestment in R&D within the local creative economy. Businesses within the sector face challenges in drawing traditional forms of R&D funding. The Creative Industries Sector Deal (2018) highlights the need to 'provide a more consistent national spread of creative industries' confirming the Belfast region as one of 47 UK creative clusters and noting its 'high concentration and growth'. The Sector Deal states 'The problem is not that London is too big, but that other centres are too small. There is enormous potential to grow other leading hubs across the UK.' Ulster University and NI Screen developed the Future Screens NI Creative Cluster in order to address these challenges by together securing £13mn to invest in R&D within the creative industries in NI. The injection of support on the scale provided by Future Screens NI will drive growth from 0.9% to 2.7% of UK GVA in the sector generating £2.1 billion GVA and creating 20,000 new jobs in NI. Ulster University and NI Screen together nurture the local creative sector and support the development of R&D. The partnership works tightly together meeting on a weekly basis to ensure that the project meets industry research needs and bring the creative industries together at least once a month to drive forward R&D and innovation. Data from DCMS had suggested that Northern Ireland was the only region in the UK to see a decline in GVA for Creative Industries since 2010 (a 11.7% decrease). However, the revised regional GVA data - used in the July 2019 release - has increased both NI's total GVA and the amount generated by Creative Industries, due to a changing estimate of the 'headquarters effect' and other factors. The GVA for Creative Industries in Northern Ireland (NI) in 2017 was 1.07% of the UK's total. This share has remained low for the entire period of 2010-2017, consistently amounting to c1% of the total UK Creative Industries GVA. This size of share is similar to both Wales and the North East, though the growth over the period is closer to the latter rather than the former. These figures illustrate the important role that FSNI can play in facilitating growth within the Creative Industries albeit in the context of a fragile economy and the more pronounced risk of Brexit within the NI context. According to the most recent data produced by DCMS, the Creative Industries has the most jobs (2.0 million). Growth is also apparent within the Digital Sector which accounts for 1.5 million jobs. The number of jobs in the Creative Industries increased by 30.6% from 2011: three times the growth rate of employment in the UK overall (10.1%) (DCMS, 2019[1]). The most recent figures from DCMS show that within Creative Industries, Digital and Telecoms sectors, fewer than 10% of jobs were held by those considered 'less advantaged', compared to the UK average of (32.3%)[2]. The Creative industries and the Digital have higher levels of participation of BAME and a greater proportion of employees who were born outside of the UK. These figures illustrate that capacity exists within the Creative sector to realise diversity and inclusion as exemplified through significant capacity for expansion and some evidence of greater diversity. That said the challenge of delivering diversity and inclusion persists. Nowhere is this challenge more paramount than within the Northern Ireland context. Northern Ireland represents a society transitioning out of a prolonged conflict. Growth and expansion within the Creative Industries within the Northern Ireland context presents the opportunity to create employment that transcends beyond the challenges of sectarian divisions and in doing so presents opportunities to those people and communities who have as yet been unable to fully benefit. Future Screen NI which is a £13mn creative cluster in Northern Ireland funded by the Industrial Strategy via the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), as well as the industry has openly identified this challenge and taken measures to resolve it. These measures although at an early stage of development have the potential to transform both the creative and employment landscape within the NI context. The NI Creative Industries Cluster has the potential to be a sustainable creative ecosystem operating at local, national and international levels. It is built upon well-developed resilient and tacit networks and supports, economic, cultural, and social, whilst also having the clear potential for new, exciting and economically sustainable international capabilities. For a region emerging from a period of conflict and social and cultural division and dysfunction, the creative industries sector offers an alternative and successful paradigm for economic attainment, cultural expression, and personal growth. This has generated the potential for the creative industries to provide a more neutral space in a transitional period (outside the accepted cultures of binary opposition), differences between approaches to education and skills across divided communities, and the impact of deindustrialization (especially in working class communities). Whilst recognising that there is need to construct new narratives for the region, which are grounded in the economic, creative, social, and cultural ecology of Northern Ireland, and to bring these stories to the communities where they can most make a difference. In order to achieve this the project has embarked upon a Future Focused Research and Development Stream with the overall aim of widening participation in the creative industries. This ambitious endeavour is built upon a partnership developed between the Future Screens NI and the World Building Institute in Los Angeles which is led by Future Technologist, Alex McDowell, also well-known for his role as the Creative Director of the Minority Report. World building is a design practice which has been applied to significant societal challenges in a variety of contexts including Berlin and Saudi Arabia. The holistic and collaborative structure which is applied through world building is particularly relevant within the NI context given the unique nature of both the traditional and creative economy, and the significant socio-cultural challenges that persist within a society transitioning from a prolonged conflict. The location of world building within both organic and fluid narrative presents the potential to devise a new framework which can be applied across a variety of significant challenges which persist including the need to generate a social and cultural dividend alongside economic growth, to build inclusivity and to both generate and share prosperity, particularly within communities and populations considered to be left behind. The world building approach both identifies and listens to domain expertise that extends beyond the technical knowledge of both design and production generating seeds which can build a framework with the capacity to propel the development of infrastructure, generate and utilise resources, identify and resolve societal or cultural challenges, empower people and build capacity (McDowell, 2019)[3]. The framework will pioneer new technologies with the overall aim of sharing human and financial resources with those who have as yet been excluded. There are of course already existing examples of good practice within the NI context. The Gaming industry in NI includes a proliferation of young women entrepreneurs who are at the forefront of technical advances within the region. The region is also home to a number of unique initiative which have the overall aim of broadening access to the creative industries. Future Screens NI have funded an initiative with Farset Labs and researchers at Queen's University Belfast which is exploring the ways in which immersive sound spaces can provide an accessible creative space for disabled musicians. The region is also home to Paper Owl who developed the children's TV series Pablo which follows the adventures of a five year old autistic boy. The region also has recognised strengths and unrealised potential in VR/AR, Machine Learning and Data Analytics. Future Screens NI has the potential to act as vehicle to stimulate the creative industries and digital sector in a manner which advances the whole of society whilst recognising the need to apply technology towards addressing economic societal challenges in order to achieve better outcomes for the economy, society and the environment. The World Building has the potential be extended towards addressing both the local and global challenge of developing technology for good. Whilst Future Screens NI identified the need to leverage the social and economic dividend from investment in the Creative industries and is developing a mechanism to deliver greater diversity and inclusion building upon the uniqueness of both the expertise and challenges within the region. Future Screens NI and Experimental Design are collaborating to produce a framework which will act as a catalyst for a new grassroots creative industry. The intention is to empower young people to become the creative force through which to drive a community centred economy through the use of new, immerging and immersive technology. Future Screen NI are providing the academic expertise and place related knowledge that is required to achieve this objective credibly and cognisant of the impact of the conflict. The project is also providing much needed developmental support to the £38mn Screen and Medial Innovation Lab project under City Deals. Achievements specific to the Future Belfast project include: • A 3-day industrial and community site visit in May 2019 in which Future Screens NI and Experimental Design engaged with more than 60 creative industries and community representatives and which ensured that the Future Belfast visit was co-created with local creatives and community organisations. • A public event in which Alex McDowell outlined the World Building Framework and it's potential for application within the NI context which was attended by 110 members of the public, representatives of the creative industries, university representative and community groups. • A 4 day site visit in February 2019 in which Future Screens NI and Experimental Design undertook essential fieldwork activity to develop, test and define the framework. • Future Screens NI and Experimental Design met with Mayor of Belfast in order to explore the potential for joint working. • Future Screens NI and Experimental Design met with Deirdre Hargey, Minister for Communities. Future Screens NI and Experimental Design are continuing to engage with the Minister regarding the future development of the project. • Future Screens NI, Experimental Design and partners won the award for Best International Collaboration at the 2020 Irish Education Awards in recognition of both the excellence and impact of the project. https://www.futurescreens.org/news/2020/2/24/future-screens-ni-and-experimental-design-la-win-best-international-collaboration https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Zv7n_B-vPMU0n9TRfEpjuU-Xdw3qBna6 Future Screens NI, the partnership between Ulster and Experimental Design is a future focused knowledge transfer partnership investing £13mn in R&D within the local creative industries with a view to increasing and sharing the current economic and cultural dividend to previously hard to reach groups. Experimental Design play an essential role in the success and credibility of the project. Together Ulster University, Experimental Design and partners have invested £1.9mn in R&D in Year One. Ulster University is the lead partner and provides leadership, academic expertise, and investment throughout and has achieved the following achievements which would not have been possible without the partnership between Ulster University in the project and which address the challenges outlined in the question above: • Future Screens NI and Experimental Design and partners have established a funding ecosystem to direct and support industry and SMEs within the sector to ensure that there is a funding progression pathway. • The Investment of £1.9 million in the NI Creative Economy in Year One • Created a local Creative Industries Innovation Hub • 25 live R&D projects in gaming, med-tech, immersion, animation, mental health and wellbeing, and pain relief which are at the forefront of R&I within new and emerging technologies • 22 members of academic staff who are leaders in their field working collaboratively with the industry attended by more than 4,000 Creative industries reps and showcasing 30 local R&D projects • 4 PhD students undertaking Future Focused research in Cinematics, Design Thinking and Leadership. • Built a research partnership comprising 20 Lead industry partners including: RTÉ, NI Screen, BBC, BCC, Digital Catapult, Invest NI, Innovate UK, Tourism NI, Retinize, Humain, The Lyric Theatre, and 100 SMEs at the forefront of new immersive and emerging technologies including Alt Animation, Italic Pig Ltd, Taunt Ltd, Sentireal, Sixteen South, Incisiv, PreCog, NEON and JadeBlok. • Built a global partnership involving the World Building Institute, Disney, Warner Media, Industrial Light and Magic, HBO and The Romeros. • Created 79 new R&D led jobs within the creative sector in Year 1. • Developed a bespoke R&D led Leadership programme to 100 local creative industry businesses which has resulted in the development of new business models and created 10 new R&D led jobs • Future Screens NI and Experimental Design have become embedded as a creative industry initiative within the Ormeau Baths Innovation Hub. • The Lead2Grow programme which has been developed to generate new leadership models commenced in March 2019 with an initial Lead2Grow Programme which was attended by 211 participants. The programme will go live in October 2019 with 30 registered participants. • The Future Belfast collaboration with the World Building Institute is well underway. The World Building Framework which is in development has the potential to transform the local creative economy towards prosperity and growth particularly within hard to reach areas. "Working with Future Screens NI and applying World Building to this unique part of the world allows us together to reshape the future, address long standing challenges, build opportunity and make the impossible possible" Alex McDowell, Founder of Experimental Design, Director of the World Building Institute, Future Technologist and Creative Director of the Minority Report. Future Screens NI (Ulster) and Experimental Design together identified the problem of underinvestment in the local creative industries, the need to drive forward research and development within the local creative economy. Together the partnership worked closely with UKRI to ensure that the councils recognised the importance of investing in the regions. The partnership and their credible collaboration helped shape the creative cluster call and ensured that there would be an emphasis on investment outside of London. Together the partnership built a creative cluster comprising 20 Lead industry partners including: RTÉ, NI Screen, BBC, BCC, Digital Catapult, Invest NI, Innovate UK, Tourism NI, Retinize, Humain, The Lyric Theatre, and 100 SMEs at the forefront of new immersive and emerging technologies including Alt Animation, Italic Pig Ltd, Taunt Ltd, Sentireal, Sixteen South, Incisiv, PreCog, NEON and JadeBlok alongside significant global partners including the World Building Institute, Experimental Design, Disney, Warner Media, Industrial Light and Magic, HBO and The Romeros. • Working together Ulster and Experimental Design secured £6m from the AHRC to and a further £7mn to invest in R&D within the sector. • Together Ulster University and Experimental Design and partners have invested £1.9mn. Ulster University and Experimental Design and partners provide a unique funding stream in which 100% of the finance goes to the industry partner to address their R&D led challenge. This investment has generated 79 jobs. • Working together in close partnership Experimental Design and partners have ensured that Future Screens NI is the strongest project within the entire UK Industrial Strategy Programme. This was announced by Professor Andrew Chitty, Challenge Director - Creative Industries Clusters and Audience of the Future Programme at the AHRC Beyond Conference 2019. Future Screens NI at Forefront of the Industrial Strategy Programme • Ulster University, Experimental Design and partners have transformed the local creative sector by providing infrastructure, creating a strong ecosystem, supporting industry to advance along the R&D funding pipeline and to access prestigious funding and mentoring opportunities from Innovate UK and Industrial Light and Magic. Additional Supporting Information https://vimeo.com/372602129 (Video) https://tinyurl.com/vydpuku (images) https://tinyurl.com/rqmkwmy (report) https://creativeindustriesclusters.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Clusters-Booklet-Story-So-Far-FINAL-web.pdf https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZY6eQbPLGU&feature=youtu.be https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42mItwjPW8I&feature=youtu.be
Collaborator Contribution Future Screens NI is a £13mn creative cluster in Northern Ireland. The partnership is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), as well as the industry. It brings together Ulster University, Queen's University Belfast, and key industrial partners, who are at the forefront of the local creative economy. Future Screens NI has the aim of delivering expert technical skills, opportunity and growth across: • Film and broadcast • Animation • Games • Immersive technologies Addressing challenges and building on existing strengths in creative industries in the region, areas of focus include: • Narrative and storytelling in digital content • Applications of VR/AR in health, tourism and engineering • Development of a games nexus • Expanding capacity for large scale film and TV production • Enhancing the high-level skills pipeline in 2D and 3D animation Ulster University, Experimental Design and Queen's University Belfast are the lead partners in the £13mn UKRI Industrial Challenge Creative Cluster Future Screens NI. Together they competitively secured £6mn from the AHRC, with a further £7mn secured from industry. Together the partnership has supported significant Research and Development Projects within the local creative economy. Together the partnership has attracted significant Global Partners including Experimental Design LA, Disney, HBO, The Romeros, Discovery and Warner Media. In Year 1 alone the Future Screens NI partnership has invested £2mn research undertaken by local SMEs. £0.7mn via the AHRC and £1.2mn from NI Screen and industry partners. This is the first time that both Universities and Industry have collaborated on this scale. This would not have been achieved without NI Screen. The 2016-2017 draft PFG proposes that NI has 'an innovative creative society where people can fulfil their potential'. The draft NI Industrial Strategy and the Invest NI Business Strategy 2017 identify 'digital and creative technologies' as one of six 'broad' areas of the economy where Northern Ireland has 'world-class capabilities, 'further noting that 'NI has gained a global reputation in the creative industries with notable success in the TV and film industry as well as the burgeoning animation sector.' In spite of this there has been significant underinvestment in R&D within the local creative economy. Businesses within the sector face challenges in drawing traditional forms of R&D funding. The Creative Industries Sector Deal (2018) highlights the need to 'provide a more consistent national spread of creative industries' confirming the Belfast region as one of 47 UK creative clusters and noting its 'high concentration and growth'. The Sector Deal states 'The problem is not that London is too big, but that other centres are too small. There is enormous potential to grow other leading hubs across the UK.' Ulster University and NI Screen developed the Future Screens NI Creative Cluster in order to address these challenges by together securing £13mn to invest in R&D within the creative industries in NI. The injection of support on the scale provided by Future Screens NI will drive growth from 0.9% to 2.7% of UK GVA in the sector generating £2.1 billion GVA and creating 20,000 new jobs in NI. Ulster University and NI Screen together nurture the local creative sector and support the development of R&D. The partnership works tightly together meeting on a weekly basis to ensure that the project meets industry research needs and bring the creative industries together at least once a month to drive forward R&D and innovation. Data from DCMS had suggested that Northern Ireland was the only region in the UK to see a decline in GVA for Creative Industries since 2010 (a 11.7% decrease). However, the revised regional GVA data - used in the July 2019 release - has increased both NI's total GVA and the amount generated by Creative Industries, due to a changing estimate of the 'headquarters effect' and other factors. The GVA for Creative Industries in Northern Ireland (NI) in 2017 was 1.07% of the UK's total. This share has remained low for the entire period of 2010-2017, consistently amounting to c1% of the total UK Creative Industries GVA. This size of share is similar to both Wales and the North East, though the growth over the period is closer to the latter rather than the former. These figures illustrate the important role that FSNI can play in facilitating growth within the Creative Industries albeit in the context of a fragile economy and the more pronounced risk of Brexit within the NI context. According to the most recent data produced by DCMS, the Creative Industries has the most jobs (2.0 million). Growth is also apparent within the Digital Sector which accounts for 1.5 million jobs. The number of jobs in the Creative Industries increased by 30.6% from 2011: three times the growth rate of employment in the UK overall (10.1%) (DCMS, 2019[1]). The most recent figures from DCMS show that within Creative Industries, Digital and Telecoms sectors, fewer than 10% of jobs were held by those considered 'less advantaged', compared to the UK average of (32.3%)[2]. The Creative industries and the Digital have higher levels of participation of BAME and a greater proportion of employees who were born outside of the UK. These figures illustrate that capacity exists within the Creative sector to realise diversity and inclusion as exemplified through significant capacity for expansion and some evidence of greater diversity. That said the challenge of delivering diversity and inclusion persists. Nowhere is this challenge more paramount than within the Northern Ireland context. Northern Ireland represents a society transitioning out of a prolonged conflict. Growth and expansion within the Creative Industries within the Northern Ireland context presents the opportunity to create employment that transcends beyond the challenges of sectarian divisions and in doing so presents opportunities to those people and communities who have as yet been unable to fully benefit. Future Screen NI which is a £13mn creative cluster in Northern Ireland funded by the Industrial Strategy via the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), as well as the industry has openly identified this challenge and taken measures to resolve it. These measures although at an early stage of development have the potential to transform both the creative and employment landscape within the NI context. The NI Creative Industries Cluster has the potential to be a sustainable creative ecosystem operating at local, national and international levels. It is built upon well-developed resilient and tacit networks and supports, economic, cultural, and social, whilst also having the clear potential for new, exciting and economically sustainable international capabilities. For a region emerging from a period of conflict and social and cultural division and dysfunction, the creative industries sector offers an alternative and successful paradigm for economic attainment, cultural expression, and personal growth. This has generated the potential for the creative industries to provide a more neutral space in a transitional period (outside the accepted cultures of binary opposition), differences between approaches to education and skills across divided communities, and the impact of deindustrialization (especially in working class communities). Whilst recognising that there is need to construct new narratives for the region, which are grounded in the economic, creative, social, and cultural ecology of Northern Ireland, and to bring these stories to the communities where they can most make a difference. In order to achieve this the project has embarked upon a Future Focused Research and Development Stream with the overall aim of widening participation in the creative industries. This ambitious endeavour is built upon a partnership developed between the Future Screens NI and the World Building Institute in Los Angeles which is led by Future Technologist, Alex McDowell, also well-known for his role as the Creative Director of the Minority Report. World building is a design practice which has been applied to significant societal challenges in a variety of contexts including Berlin and Saudi Arabia. The holistic and collaborative structure which is applied through world building is particularly relevant within the NI context given the unique nature of both the traditional and creative economy, and the significant socio-cultural challenges that persist within a society transitioning from a prolonged conflict. The location of world building within both organic and fluid narrative presents the potential to devise a new framework which can be applied across a variety of significant challenges which persist including the need to generate a social and cultural dividend alongside economic growth, to build inclusivity and to both generate and share prosperity, particularly within communities and populations considered to be left behind. The world building approach both identifies and listens to domain expertise that extends beyond the technical knowledge of both design and production generating seeds which can build a framework with the capacity to propel the development of infrastructure, generate and utilise resources, identify and resolve societal or cultural challenges, empower people and build capacity (McDowell, 2019)[3]. The framework will pioneer new technologies with the overall aim of sharing human and financial resources with those who have as yet been excluded. There are of course already existing examples of good practice within the NI context. The Gaming industry in NI includes a proliferation of young women entrepreneurs who are at the forefront of technical advances within the region. The region is also home to a number of unique initiative which have the overall aim of broadening access to the creative industries. Future Screens NI have funded an initiative with Farset Labs and researchers at Queen's University Belfast which is exploring the ways in which immersive sound spaces can provide an accessible creative space for disabled musicians. The region is also home to Paper Owl who developed the children's TV series Pablo which follows the adventures of a five year old autistic boy. The region also has recognised strengths and unrealised potential in VR/AR, Machine Learning and Data Analytics. Future Screens NI has the potential to act as vehicle to stimulate the creative industries and digital sector in a manner which advances the whole of society whilst recognising the need to apply technology towards addressing economic societal challenges in order to achieve better outcomes for the economy, society and the environment. The World Building has the potential be extended towards addressing both the local and global challenge of developing technology for good. Whilst Future Screens NI identified the need to leverage the social and economic dividend from investment in the Creative industries and is developing a mechanism to deliver greater diversity and inclusion building upon the uniqueness of both the expertise and challenges within the region. Experimental Design, visualise, humanise and make understandable and increasingly complex world in which technological progress is accelerating as fast as problems are increasing. Experimental Design create worlds that are emotionally engaging, technologically informed , narratively rich, adaptive and evolutionary. The definition and use of world building as a narrative design system was created and developed by Experimental creative director Alex McDowell, in the first year of the 21st Century. Like any powerful methodology, it continues to evolve. World building combines the power of rigorous research, systems design, and collective storytelling to make sense of the rapidly changing world. In this unique time of exponential progress and massive disruption, world building enables organizations to envision, design, and experience preferred futures - and create the stable steps to realize these futures. Stories define the vision of Experimental Design which position the studio as an ideal partner in an economic development programme operating within the NI context in which narrative and storytelling has a unique power in the context of both reconciliation and community empowerment. World building is equal parts science and art, empirical and poetic. Worlds create a visual common language that can be understood across an organisation or a society. Stories are used to debate and discuss the future, helping to inspire new approaches to external and internal communications, strategic business planning and partnership development. World building is built upon the premise of future building. World building exists at the intersection of design, technology, and storytelling. In its ability to enable and conjure deeply considered holistic worlds, it represents the foundational narrative and design practice for transmedia, spherical storytelling, and the post-cinematic. World building takes a lateral anthropological stance, borrowing specifically from ethnographic practice to contextualize speculative designs in real world research. World builders as designers then use this ethnographic groundwork as a place from which to begin imagining future possibilities. This process allows designers to intelligently project plausible scenarios and outcomes through the creation of diegetic prototypes and models backed by rigorous research, envisioning desirable futures and the steps taken to realise them. Any storyteller can weave a compelling narrative, but world builders create story worlds that support myriad stories by multiple storytellers across disparate platforms - including those platforms that may not yet be named. Such world building becomes even more powerful when it moves beyond transmedia entertainment experiences and tackles real-world challenges in realworld environments. It is this unique aspect of the world building framework which is crucial in the context of divided contexts which may persist within NI. World building employs a collaborative, ethnographic design methodology that incorporates extensive research at the individual, community, and world scales; a constant redefinition of research questions; a research and world map; as well as expert interviews, speculative fiction, character lenses and development, narrative design, and rapid prototyping. This is the approach that has been adopted by Experimental Design within the NI Context. Future Screens NI and Experimental Design are collaborating to produce a framework which will act as a catalyst for a new grassroots creative industry. The intention is to empower young people to become the creative force through which to drive a community centred economy through the use of new, immerging and immersive technology. Future Screen NI are providing the academic expertise and place related knowledge that is required to achieve this objective credibly and cognisant of the impact of the conflict. The project is also providing much needed developmental support to the £38mn Screen and Medial Innovation Lab project under City Deals. Achievements specific to the Future Belfast project include: • A 3-day industrial and community site visit in May 2019 in which Future Screens NI and Experimental Design engaged with more than 60 creative industries and community representatives and which ensured that the Future Belfast visit was co-created with local creatives and community organisations. • A public event in which Alex McDowell outlined the World Building Framework and it's potential for application within the NI context which was attended by 110 members of the public, representatives of the creative industries, university representative and community groups. • A 4 day site visit in February 2019 in which Future Screens NI and Experimental Design undertook essential fieldwork activity to develop, test and define the framework. • Future Screens NI and Experimental Design met with Mayor of Belfast in order to explore the potential for joint working. • Future Screens NI and Experimental Design met with Deirdre Hargey, Minister for Communities. Future Screens NI and Experimental Design are continuing to engage with the Minister regarding the future development of the project. • Future Screens NI, Experimental Design and partners won the award for Best International Collaboration at the 2020 Irish Education Awards in recognition of both the excellence and impact of the project. https://www.futurescreens.org/news/2020/2/24/future-screens-ni-and-experimental-design-la-win-best-international-collaboration https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Zv7n_B-vPMU0n9TRfEpjuU-Xdw3qBna6 Future Screens NI, the partnership between Ulster and Experimental Design is a future focused knowledge transfer partnership investing £13mn in R&D within the local creative industries with a view to increasing and sharing the current economic and cultural dividend to previously hard to reach groups. Experimental Design play an essential role in the success and credibility of the project. Together Ulster University, Experimental Design and partners have invested £1.9mn in R&D in Year One. Ulster University is the lead partner and provides leadership, academic expertise, and investment throughout and has achieved the following achievements which would not have been possible without the partnership between Ulster University in the project and which address the challenges outlined in the question above: • Future Screens NI and Experimental Design and partners have established a funding ecosystem to direct and support industry and SMEs within the sector to ensure that there is a funding progression pathway. • The Investment of £1.9 million in the NI Creative Economy in Year One • Created a local Creative Industries Innovation Hub • 25 live R&D projects in gaming, med-tech, immersion, animation, mental health and wellbeing, and pain relief which are at the forefront of R&I within new and emerging technologies • 22 members of academic staff who are leaders in their field working collaboratively with the industry attended by more than 4,000 Creative industries reps and showcasing 30 local R&D projects • 4 PhD students undertaking Future Focused research in Cinematics, Design Thinking and Leadership. • Built a research partnership comprising 20 Lead industry partners including: RTÉ, NI Screen, BBC, BCC, Digital Catapult, Invest NI, Innovate UK, Tourism NI, Retinize, Humain, The Lyric Theatre, and 100 SMEs at the forefront of new immersive and emerging technologies including Alt Animation, Italic Pig Ltd, Taunt Ltd, Sentireal, Sixteen South, Incisiv, PreCog, NEON and JadeBlok. • Built a global partnership involving the World Building Institute, Disney, Warner Media, Industrial Light and Magic, HBO and The Romeros. • Created 79 new R&D led jobs within the creative sector in Year 1. • Developed a bespoke R&D led Leadership programme to 100 local creative industry businesses which has resulted in the development of new business models and created 10 new R&D led jobs • Future Screens NI and Experimental Design have become embedded as a creative industry initiative within the Ormeau Baths Innovation Hub. • The Lead2Grow programme which has been developed to generate new leadership models commenced in March 2019 with an initial Lead2Grow Programme which was attended by 211 participants. The programme will go live in October 2019 with 30 registered participants. • The Future Belfast collaboration with the World Building Institute is well underway. The World Building Framework which is in development has the potential to transform the local creative economy towards prosperity and growth particularly within hard to reach areas. "Working with Future Screens NI and applying World Building to this unique part of the world allows us together to reshape the future, address long standing challenges, build opportunity and make the impossible possible" Alex McDowell, Founder of Experimental Design, Director of the World Building Institute, Future Technologist and Creative Director of the Minority Report. Future Screens NI (Ulster) and Experimental Design together identified the problem of underinvestment in the local creative industries, the need to drive forward research and development within the local creative economy. Together the partnership worked closely with UKRI to ensure that the councils recognised the importance of investing in the regions. The partnership and their credible collaboration helped shape the creative cluster call and ensured that there would be an emphasis on investment outside of London. Together the partnership built a creative cluster comprising 20 Lead industry partners including: RTÉ, NI Screen, BBC, BCC, Digital Catapult, Invest NI, Innovate UK, Tourism NI, Retinize, Humain, The Lyric Theatre, and 100 SMEs at the forefront of new immersive and emerging technologies including Alt Animation, Italic Pig Ltd, Taunt Ltd, Sentireal, Sixteen South, Incisiv, PreCog, NEON and JadeBlok alongside significant global partners including the World Building Institute, Experimental Design, Disney, Warner Media, Industrial Light and Magic, HBO and The Romeros. • Working together Ulster and Experimental Design secured £6m from the AHRC to and a further £7mn to invest in R&D within the sector. • Together Ulster University and Experimental Design and partners have invested £1.9mn. Ulster University and Experimental Design and partners provide a unique funding stream in which 100% of the finance goes to the industry partner to address their R&D led challenge. This investment has generated 79 jobs. • Working together in close partnership Experimental Design and partners have ensured that Future Screens NI is the strongest project within the entire UK Industrial Strategy Programme. This was announced by Professor Andrew Chitty, Challenge Director - Creative Industries Clusters and Audience of the Future Programme at the AHRC Beyond Conference 2019. Future Screens NI at Forefront of the Industrial Strategy Programme • Ulster University, Experimental Design and partners have transformed the local creative sector by providing infrastructure, creating a strong ecosystem, supporting industry to advance along the R&D funding pipeline and to access prestigious funding and mentoring opportunities from Innovate UK and Industrial Light and Magic. Additional Supporting Information https://vimeo.com/372602129 (Video) https://tinyurl.com/vydpuku (images) https://tinyurl.com/rqmkwmy (report) https://creativeindustriesclusters.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Clusters-Booklet-Story-So-Far-FINAL-web.pdf https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZY6eQbPLGU&feature=youtu.be https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42mItwjPW8I&feature=youtu.be
Impact • A 3-day industrial and community site visit in May 2019 in which Future Screens NI and Experimental Design engaged with more than 60 creative industries and community representatives and which ensured that the Future Belfast visit was co-created with local creatives and community organisations. • A public event in which Alex McDowell outlined the World Building Framework and it's potential for application within the NI context which was attended by 110 members of the public, representatives of the creative industries, university representative and community groups. • A 4 day site visit in February 2019 in which Future Screens NI and Experimental Design undertook essential fieldwork activity to develop, test and define the framework. • Future Screens NI and Experimental Design met with Mayor of Belfast in order to explore the potential for joint working. • Future Screens NI and Experimental Design met with Deirdre Hargey, Minister for Communities. Future Screens NI and Experimental Design are continuing to engage with the Minister regarding the future development of the project. • Future Screens NI, Experimental Design and partners won the award for Best International Collaboration at the 2020 Irish Education Awards in recognition of both the excellence and impact of the project. https://www.futurescreens.org/news/2020/2/24/future-screens-ni-and-experimental-design-la-win-best-international-collaboration https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Zv7n_B-vPMU0n9TRfEpjuU-Xdw3qBna6 • Future Screens NI and Experimental Design and partners have established a funding ecosystem to direct and support industry and SMEs within the sector to ensure that there is a funding progression pathway. • The Investment of £1.9 million in the NI Creative Economy in Year One • Created a local Creative Industries Innovation Hub • 25 live R&D projects in gaming, med-tech, immersion, animation, mental health and wellbeing, and pain relief which are at the forefront of R&I within new and emerging technologies • 22 members of academic staff who are leaders in their field working collaboratively with the industry attended by more than 4,000 Creative industries reps and showcasing 30 local R&D projects • 4 PhD students undertaking Future Focused research in Cinematics, Design Thinking and Leadership. • Built a research partnership comprising 20 Lead industry partners including: RTÉ, NI Screen, BBC, BCC, Digital Catapult, Invest NI, Innovate UK, Tourism NI, Retinize, Humain, The Lyric Theatre, and 100 SMEs at the forefront of new immersive and emerging technologies including Alt Animation, Italic Pig Ltd, Taunt Ltd, Sentireal, Sixteen South, Incisiv, PreCog, NEON and JadeBlok. • Built a global partnership involving the World Building Institute, Disney, Warner Media, Industrial Light and Magic, HBO and The Romeros. • Created 79 new R&D led jobs within the creative sector in Year 1. • Developed a bespoke R&D led Leadership programme to 100 local creative industry businesses which has resulted in the development of new business models and created 10 new R&D led jobs • Future Screens NI and Experimental Design have become embedded as a creative industry initiative within the Ormeau Baths Innovation Hub. • The Lead2Grow programme which has been developed to generate new leadership models commenced in March 2019 with an initial Lead2Grow Programme which was attended by 211 participants. The programme will go live in October 2019 with 30 registered participants. • The Future Belfast collaboration with the World Building Institute is well underway. The World Building Framework which is in development has the potential to transform the local creative economy towards prosperity and growth particularly within hard to reach areas. • Working together Ulster and Experimental Design secured £6m from the AHRC to and a further £7mn to invest in R&D within the sector. • Together Ulster University and Experimental Design and partners have invested £1.9mn. Ulster University and Experimental Design and partners provide a unique funding stream in which 100% of the finance goes to the industry partner to address their R&D led challenge. This investment has generated 79 jobs. • Working together in close partnership Experimental Design and partners have ensured that Future Screens NI is the strongest project within the entire UK Industrial Strategy Programme. This was announced by Professor Andrew Chitty, Challenge Director - Creative Industries Clusters and Audience of the Future Programme at the AHRC Beyond Conference 2019. Future Screens NI at Forefront of the Industrial Strategy Programme • Ulster University, Experimental Design and partners have transformed the local creative sector by providing infrastructure, creating a strong ecosystem, supporting industry to advance along the R&D funding pipeline and to access prestigious funding and mentoring opportunities from Innovate UK and Industrial Light and Magic. Additional Supporting Information https://vimeo.com/372602129 (Video) https://tinyurl.com/vydpuku (images) https://tinyurl.com/rqmkwmy (report) https://creativeindustriesclusters.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Clusters-Booklet-Story-So-Far-FINAL-web.pdf https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZY6eQbPLGU&feature=youtu.be https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42mItwjPW8I&feature=youtu.be
Start Year 2018
 
Description Future Screens NI and Queen's University Belfast 
Organisation Queen's University Belfast
Department Sonic Arts Research Centre (SARC)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Ulster University, Experimental Design, NI Screen and Queen's University Belfast are the lead partners in the £13mn UKRI Industrial Challenge Creative Cluster Future Screens NI. The 2016-2017 draft PFG proposes that NI has 'an innovative creative society where people can fulfil their potential'. The draft NI Industrial Strategy and the Invest NI Business Strategy 2017 identify 'digital and creative technologies' as one of six 'broad' areas of the economy where Northern Ireland has 'world-class capabilities, 'further noting that 'NI has gained a global reputation in the creative industries with notable success in the TV and film industry as well as the burgeoning animation sector.' In spite of this there has been significant underinvestment in R&D within the local creative economy. Businesses within the sector face challenges in drawing traditional forms of R&D funding. The Creative Industries Sector Deal (2018) highlights the need to 'provide a more consistent national spread of creative industries' confirming the Belfast region as one of 47 UK creative clusters and noting its 'high concentration and growth'. The Sector Deal states 'The problem is not that London is too big, but that other centres are too small. There is enormous potential to grow other leading hubs across the UK.' Ulster University and NI Screen developed the Future Screens NI Creative Cluster in order to address these challenges by together securing £13mn to invest in R&D within the creative industries in NI. The injection of support on the scale provided by Future Screens NI will drive growth from 0.9% to 2.7% of UK GVA in the sector generating £2.1 billion GVA and creating 20,000 new jobs in NI. Ulster University and NI Screen together nurture the local creative sector and support the development of R&D. The partnership works tightly together meeting on a weekly basis to ensure that the project meets industry research needs and bring the creative industries together at least once a month to drive forward R&D and innovation. Data from DCMS had suggested that Northern Ireland was the only region in the UK to see a decline in GVA for Creative Industries since 2010 (a 11.7% decrease). However, the revised regional GVA data - used in the July 2019 release - has increased both NI's total GVA and the amount generated by Creative Industries, due to a changing estimate of the 'headquarters effect' and other factors. The GVA for Creative Industries in Northern Ireland (NI) in 2017 was 1.07% of the UK's total. This share has remained low for the entire period of 2010-2017, consistently amounting to c1% of the total UK Creative Industries GVA. This size of share is similar to both Wales and the North East, though the growth over the period is closer to the latter rather than the former. These figures illustrate the important role that FSNI can play in facilitating growth within the Creative Industries albeit in the context of a fragile economy and the more pronounced risk of Brexit within the NI context. Future Screens NI is a £13mn creative cluster in Northern Ireland. The partnership is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), as well as the industry. It brings together Ulster University, Queen's University Belfast, and key industrial partners, who are at the forefront of the local creative economy. Future Screens NI has the aim of delivering expert technical skills, opportunity and growth across: • Film and broadcast • Animation • Games • Immersive technologies Addressing challenges and building on existing strengths in creative industries in the region, areas of focus include: • Narrative and storytelling in digital content • Applications of VR/AR in health, tourism and engineering • Development of a games nexus • Expanding capacity for large scale film and TV production • Enhancing the high-level skills pipeline in 2D and 3D animation Future Screens NI, the partnership between Ulster University and Queen's University Belfast is a knowledge transfer partnership investing £13mn in R&D within the local creative industries. Together Ulster University, Queen's University Belfast and partners have invested £1.9mn in R&D in Year One. Ulster University is the lead partner and provides leadership, academic expertise, and investment throughout and has achieved the following achievements which would not have been possible without the partnership between Ulster University in the project and which address the challenges outlined in the question above: • Future Screens NI and Queen's University Belfast have established a funding ecosystem to direct and support industry and SMEs within the sector to ensure that there is a funding progression pathway. • The Investment of £1.9 million in the NI Creative Economy in Year One • Created a local Creative Industries Innovation Hub • 25 live R&D projects in gaming, med-tech, immersion, animation, mental health and wellbeing, and pain relief which are at the forefront of R&I within new and emerging technologies • Future Screens NI and Queen's University have hosted over 20 R&D lead events attended by more than 5,000 creative industry representatives and academics • 22 members of academic staff who are leaders in their field working collaboratively with the industry attended by more than 4,000 Creative industries reps and showcasing 30 local R&D projects • 4 PhD students undertaking Future Focused research in Cinematics, Design Thinking and Leadership. • Built a research partnership comprising 20 Lead industry partners including: RTÉ, NI Screen, BBC, BCC, Digital Catapult, Invest NI, Innovate UK, Tourism NI, Retinize, Humain, The Lyric Theatre, and 100 SMEs at the forefront of new immersive and emerging technologies including Alt Animation, Italic Pig Ltd, Taunt Ltd, Sentireal, Sixteen South, Incisiv, PreCog, NEON and JadeBlok. • Built a global partnership involving the World Building Institute, Experimental Design, Disney, Warner Media, Industrial Light and Magic, HBO and The Romeros. • Worked with NI Screen to develop the Pixel Mill which is an R&D led Gaming and Innovation Hub which is home to 18 businesses and provides accommodation, mentoring, expertise and leadership development. Including building an R&D led network. • Created 79 new R&D led jobs within the creative sector in Year 1. • Future Screens NI and Queen's University Belfast have become embedded as a creative industry initiative within the Ormeau Baths Innovation Hub. • Developed The Hearios has the potential to stimulate listening skills at pre-school age • Future Screens NI and Queen's University Belfast have participated in a series of well-received showcases at SXSW, and New York-New Belfast and is building strong collaborative partnerships with NY, Pennsylvania Los Angeles and China. Therefore network has been established towards realising the Global potential of the project. • A number of public and sectoral engagement events are in development in partnership with the BBC. Future Screens NI (Ulster) and Queen's University Belfast and partners have together identified the problem of underinvestment in the local creative industries, the need to drive forward research and development within the local creative economy. Together the partnership worked closely with UKRI to ensure that the councils recognised the importance of investing in the regions. The partnership and their credible collaboration helped shape the creative cluster call and ensured that there would be an emphasis on investment outside of London. Together the partnership have built a creative cluster comprising 20 Lead industry partners including: RTÉ, NI Screen, BBC, BCC, Digital Catapult, Invest NI, Innovate UK, Tourism NI, Retinize, Humain, The Lyric Theatre, and 100 SMEs at the forefront of new immersive and emerging technologies including Alt Animation, Italic Pig Ltd, Taunt Ltd, Sentireal, Sixteen South, Incisiv, PreCog, NEON and JadeBlok alongside significant global partners including the World Building Institute, Experimental Design, Disney, Warner Media, Industrial Light and Magic, HBO and The Romeros. • Working together Ulster University, Queen's University Belfast and NI Screen secured £6m from the AHRC to which NI Screen Northern Ireland Screen is the national screen agency for Northern Ireland committed a further £4.8mn to invest in R&D within the sector. • Working together Ulster University and Queen's University Belfast and NI Screen secured a further £2.2mn from additional industry partners. • Ulster University, Queen's University Belfast and NI Screen have developed a strong working partnership that meets weekly in order to drive forward local R&D investment and to ensure that once businesses have completed the application and verification processes, they can access finance quickly and efficiently. • Ulster University and Queen's University work together to ensure that industry applicants are effectively matched to Academic Collaborators to ensure that R&D led projects are co-created, meet the excellence requirements of the AHRC, are deliverable and address industry requirements. • Together Ulster University, Queen's University Belfast NI Screen have invested £1.9mn. Ulster University, Queen's University Belfast and NI Screen provide a unique funding stream in which 100% of the finance goes to the industry partner to address their R&D led challenge. This investment has generated 79 jobs. • Working together in close partnership Ulster University and Queen's University Belfast have ensured that Future Screens NI is the strongest project within the entire UK Industrial Strategy Programme. This was announced by Professor Andrew Chitty, Challenge Director - Creative Industries Clusters and Audience of the Future Programme at the AHRC Beyond Conference 2019. Future Screens NI at Forefront of the Industrial Strategy Programme • Ulster University, Queen's University and NI Screen have transformed the local creative sector by providing infrastructure, creating a strong ecosystem, supporting industry to advance along the R&D funding pipeline and to access prestigious funding and mentoring opportunities from Innovate UK and Industrial Light and Magic. • Future Screens NI, Ulster University, Queen's University and NI Screen hosted the NI Assembly STEM All-Party Group in order to ensure that the local STEM ecosystem and Political Structures understand the important role of the Creative Industries in the generation and application of new and emerging technologies. • Queen's University Belfast, NI Screen and Future Screens NI have developed the Storytelling for the Futures project. Northern Ireland Screen's strategy sets out to develop six 'sectors' within the Northern Ireland screen industries: 1. Large-scale (film and television projects with budgets over $35m) 2. Animation (feature films and series) 3. Television Drama (including children's drama) 4. Independent film (including feature documentary) 5. Interactive (games, VR and AR) 6. Factual and Entertainment Television Northern Ireland Screen, the Seamus Heaney Centre and Future Screens NI have collaborated in order to determine what the storytelling challenges within each of the six sectors are, how they might be overcome, and what the future opportunities for writers might be. In doing so the partnership has delivered six storytelling workshops attended by 300 participants. 4 participants from the programme have identified storytelling challenges and successfully secured funding from Future Screens NI to address these challenges. • Future Screens NI, Queen's University Belfast, NI Screen and Future Screens NI are collaborating on The Hearios. The Hearios is a new and exciting stop motion animation and live action mixed media series aimed at a pre-school audience featuring a family of musical moles who teach children the important developmental skill of active listening. Future. In order to make The Hearios stand out from its competitors, have carried out user testing with the target audience, in collaboration with QUB, to provide information about the existing listening skills and vocabulary of pre-schoolers and how they are affected by the central conceit of the show. The series has been designed to improve children's active listening skills which have been shown to assist with their development in areas such as speech, language skills and memory. ALT have conducted user testing in order to establish the effectiveness of the show in capturing children's attention to the sounds presented and their development of a vocabulary of sounds. Educational aspects of a series are of huge importance to broadcasters, especially public service broadcasters who have a particular remit to inspire and educate their audiences. https://altanimation.wetransfer.com/downloads/46cb97ed83a61c13dc7d757eb5d6172220191028135926/da75d8 • NI Screen, Future Screens NI, Queen's University Belfast and Sixteen South are collaborating in order to develop and implement new software which will be instrumental in creating a new and bespoke workflow, purely designed to create animated content that can reach its audience directly through a streaming platform which will have a 48 hour turnover for each episode. • NI Screen, Future Screens NI, Queen's University Belfast and Darkley Films are collaborating to deliver a 5 minute live action therapeutic VR experience for victims and perpetrators of mental abuse. This will deliver a training tool for frontline medical and care staff. It is the first VR platform targeted to mental abuse. • Queen's University Belfast and Farset Labs are collaborating on the Immersive Interactive Performances: Strategies for developing gesture-based, inclusive VR Experiences project. This project in volves Maker events with disabled musicians (supported by Drake Music NI), SARC and Farset Labs, and selected partner stakeholders across the artistic, disability-care and technical community. The partnership is investigating useful gesture information and exploring options for how to map and implement these into Virtual Immersive Environments using frameworks such as the Unity platform. Unity developer Richard Tongeman - Far Few Giants is collaborating in the partnership in order to better understand the needs of the musicians and to creatively engage in developing the required Unity add-ons. Dr Franciska Schroeder is providing her expertise develop an immersive VR space in which musicians' movements are visually engaging from audience point of view while the musician is navigating / using VR controllers and to ensure that this can be harnessed as further input data for generating either additional audio channels/effects, or contributing a dynamic visual element to an immersive experience as an integral part of a performance. • Queen's University Belfast are collaborating with Darkley Films in order to development and application of a working prototype aimed at developing a training platform within VR to address mental abuse and the trauma relating to it. The team are working together to identify and address the challenges of the design and development required to establish a tailored VR experience within this area. The current VR projects on the market similar to this do not meet the market gap that was addressed, for several reasons. Firstly, they are dealing with physical assault and physical domestic violence rather than mental abuse. This platform solves the problems of access to diagnosis, healthcare and education as it is a low cost, flexible and scalable tool for use in a therapy or training context. Therapists, abuse counsellors and therapy groups can use it to work with both victims (via exposure therapy) and perpetrators (through empathy enhancement/rehabilitation therapy). GPs, social workers and other healthcare professionals can use it to train themselves and their staff in understanding and responding to patients who have experienced emotional abuse. Complex healthcare, financial and family relationship problems that result from mental abuse such as anxiety, depression, self-harm and financial hardship could be prevented through appropriate education in the patterns of mental abuse for those experiencing it, and those treating it or dealing with its after effects. Users include members of the public (initially a non-clinical sample with no previous experience of abuse) and medical and care professionals such as GPs, therapists and social workers. Additional Supporting Information https://vimeo.com/372602129 (Video) https://tinyurl.com/vydpuku (images) https://tinyurl.com/rqmkwmy (report) https://creativeindustriesclusters.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Clusters-Booklet-Story-So-Far-FINAL-web.pdf https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZY6eQbPLGU&feature=youtu.be https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42mItwjPW8I&feature=youtu.be
Collaborator Contribution Ulster University, Experimental Design, NI Screen and Queen's University Belfast are the lead partners in the £13mn UKRI Industrial Challenge Creative Cluster Future Screens NI. The 2016-2017 draft PFG proposes that NI has 'an innovative creative society where people can fulfil their potential'. The draft NI Industrial Strategy and the Invest NI Business Strategy 2017 identify 'digital and creative technologies' as one of six 'broad' areas of the economy where Northern Ireland has 'world-class capabilities, 'further noting that 'NI has gained a global reputation in the creative industries with notable success in the TV and film industry as well as the burgeoning animation sector.' In spite of this there has been significant underinvestment in R&D within the local creative economy. Businesses within the sector face challenges in drawing traditional forms of R&D funding. The Creative Industries Sector Deal (2018) highlights the need to 'provide a more consistent national spread of creative industries' confirming the Belfast region as one of 47 UK creative clusters and noting its 'high concentration and growth'. The Sector Deal states 'The problem is not that London is too big, but that other centres are too small. There is enormous potential to grow other leading hubs across the UK.' Ulster University and NI Screen developed the Future Screens NI Creative Cluster in order to address these challenges by together securing £13mn to invest in R&D within the creative industries in NI. The injection of support on the scale provided by Future Screens NI will drive growth from 0.9% to 2.7% of UK GVA in the sector generating £2.1 billion GVA and creating 20,000 new jobs in NI. Ulster University and NI Screen together nurture the local creative sector and support the development of R&D. The partnership works tightly together meeting on a weekly basis to ensure that the project meets industry research needs and bring the creative industries together at least once a month to drive forward R&D and innovation. Data from DCMS had suggested that Northern Ireland was the only region in the UK to see a decline in GVA for Creative Industries since 2010 (a 11.7% decrease). However, the revised regional GVA data - used in the July 2019 release - has increased both NI's total GVA and the amount generated by Creative Industries, due to a changing estimate of the 'headquarters effect' and other factors. The GVA for Creative Industries in Northern Ireland (NI) in 2017 was 1.07% of the UK's total. This share has remained low for the entire period of 2010-2017, consistently amounting to c1% of the total UK Creative Industries GVA. This size of share is similar to both Wales and the North East, though the growth over the period is closer to the latter rather than the former. These figures illustrate the important role that FSNI can play in facilitating growth within the Creative Industries albeit in the context of a fragile economy and the more pronounced risk of Brexit within the NI context. Future Screens NI is a £13mn creative cluster in Northern Ireland. The partnership is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), as well as the industry. It brings together Ulster University, Queen's University Belfast, and key industrial partners, who are at the forefront of the local creative economy. Future Screens NI has the aim of delivering expert technical skills, opportunity and growth across: • Film and broadcast • Animation • Games • Immersive technologies Addressing challenges and building on existing strengths in creative industries in the region, areas of focus include: • Narrative and storytelling in digital content • Applications of VR/AR in health, tourism and engineering • Development of a games nexus • Expanding capacity for large scale film and TV production • Enhancing the high-level skills pipeline in 2D and 3D animation Future Screens NI, the partnership between Ulster University and Queen's University Belfast is a knowledge transfer partnership investing £13mn in R&D within the local creative industries. Together Ulster University, Queen's University Belfast and partners have invested £1.9mn in R&D in Year One. Ulster University is the lead partner and provides leadership, academic expertise, and investment throughout and has achieved the following achievements which would not have been possible without the partnership between Ulster University in the project and which address the challenges outlined in the question above: • Future Screens NI and Queen's University Belfast have established a funding ecosystem to direct and support industry and SMEs within the sector to ensure that there is a funding progression pathway. • The Investment of £1.9 million in the NI Creative Economy in Year One • Created a local Creative Industries Innovation Hub • 25 live R&D projects in gaming, med-tech, immersion, animation, mental health and wellbeing, and pain relief which are at the forefront of R&I within new and emerging technologies • Future Screens NI and Queen's University have hosted over 20 R&D lead events attended by more than 5,000 creative industry representatives and academics • 22 members of academic staff who are leaders in their field working collaboratively with the industry attended by more than 4,000 Creative industries reps and showcasing 30 local R&D projects • 4 PhD students undertaking Future Focused research in Cinematics, Design Thinking and Leadership. • Built a research partnership comprising 20 Lead industry partners including: RTÉ, NI Screen, BBC, BCC, Digital Catapult, Invest NI, Innovate UK, Tourism NI, Retinize, Humain, The Lyric Theatre, and 100 SMEs at the forefront of new immersive and emerging technologies including Alt Animation, Italic Pig Ltd, Taunt Ltd, Sentireal, Sixteen South, Incisiv, PreCog, NEON and JadeBlok. • Built a global partnership involving the World Building Institute, Experimental Design, Disney, Warner Media, Industrial Light and Magic, HBO and The Romeros. • Worked with NI Screen to develop the Pixel Mill which is an R&D led Gaming and Innovation Hub which is home to 18 businesses and provides accommodation, mentoring, expertise and leadership development. Including building an R&D led network. • Created 79 new R&D led jobs within the creative sector in Year 1. • Future Screens NI and Queen's University Belfast have become embedded as a creative industry initiative within the Ormeau Baths Innovation Hub. • Developed The Hearios has the potential to stimulate listening skills at pre-school age • Future Screens NI and Queen's University Belfast have participated in a series of well-received showcases at SXSW, and New York-New Belfast and is building strong collaborative partnerships with NY, Pennsylvania Los Angeles and China. Therefore network has been established towards realising the Global potential of the project. • A number of public and sectoral engagement events are in development in partnership with the BBC. Future Screens NI (Ulster) and Queen's University Belfast and partners have together identified the problem of underinvestment in the local creative industries, the need to drive forward research and development within the local creative economy. Together the partnership worked closely with UKRI to ensure that the councils recognised the importance of investing in the regions. The partnership and their credible collaboration helped shape the creative cluster call and ensured that there would be an emphasis on investment outside of London. Together the partnership have built a creative cluster comprising 20 Lead industry partners including: RTÉ, NI Screen, BBC, BCC, Digital Catapult, Invest NI, Innovate UK, Tourism NI, Retinize, Humain, The Lyric Theatre, and 100 SMEs at the forefront of new immersive and emerging technologies including Alt Animation, Italic Pig Ltd, Taunt Ltd, Sentireal, Sixteen South, Incisiv, PreCog, NEON and JadeBlok alongside significant global partners including the World Building Institute, Experimental Design, Disney, Warner Media, Industrial Light and Magic, HBO and The Romeros. • Working together Ulster University, Queen's University Belfast and NI Screen secured £6m from the AHRC to which NI Screen Northern Ireland Screen is the national screen agency for Northern Ireland committed a further £4.8mn to invest in R&D within the sector. • Working together Ulster University and Queen's University Belfast and NI Screen secured a further £2.2mn from additional industry partners. • Ulster University, Queen's University Belfast and NI Screen have developed a strong working partnership that meets weekly in order to drive forward local R&D investment and to ensure that once businesses have completed the application and verification processes, they can access finance quickly and efficiently. • Ulster University and Queen's University work together to ensure that industry applicants are effectively matched to Academic Collaborators to ensure that R&D led projects are co-created, meet the excellence requirements of the AHRC, are deliverable and address industry requirements. • Together Ulster University, Queen's University Belfast NI Screen have invested £1.9mn. Ulster University, Queen's University Belfast and NI Screen provide a unique funding stream in which 100% of the finance goes to the industry partner to address their R&D led challenge. This investment has generated 79 jobs. • Working together in close partnership Ulster University and Queen's University Belfast have ensured that Future Screens NI is the strongest project within the entire UK Industrial Strategy Programme. This was announced by Professor Andrew Chitty, Challenge Director - Creative Industries Clusters and Audience of the Future Programme at the AHRC Beyond Conference 2019. Future Screens NI at Forefront of the Industrial Strategy Programme • Ulster University, Queen's University and NI Screen have transformed the local creative sector by providing infrastructure, creating a strong ecosystem, supporting industry to advance along the R&D funding pipeline and to access prestigious funding and mentoring opportunities from Innovate UK and Industrial Light and Magic. • Future Screens NI, Ulster University, Queen's University and NI Screen hosted the NI Assembly STEM All-Party Group in order to ensure that the local STEM ecosystem and Political Structures understand the important role of the Creative Industries in the generation and application of new and emerging technologies. • Queen's University Belfast, NI Screen and Future Screens NI have developed the Storytelling for the Futures project. Northern Ireland Screen's strategy sets out to develop six 'sectors' within the Northern Ireland screen industries: 1. Large-scale (film and television projects with budgets over $35m) 2. Animation (feature films and series) 3. Television Drama (including children's drama) 4. Independent film (including feature documentary) 5. Interactive (games, VR and AR) 6. Factual and Entertainment Television Northern Ireland Screen, the Seamus Heaney Centre and Future Screens NI have collaborated in order to determine what the storytelling challenges within each of the six sectors are, how they might be overcome, and what the future opportunities for writers might be. In doing so the partnership has delivered six storytelling workshops attended by 300 participants. 4 participants from the programme have identified storytelling challenges and successfully secured funding from Future Screens NI to address these challenges. • Future Screens NI, Queen's University Belfast, NI Screen and Future Screens NI are collaborating on The Hearios. The Hearios is a new and exciting stop motion animation and live action mixed media series aimed at a pre-school audience featuring a family of musical moles who teach children the important developmental skill of active listening. Future. In order to make The Hearios stand out from its competitors, have carried out user testing with the target audience, in collaboration with QUB, to provide information about the existing listening skills and vocabulary of pre-schoolers and how they are affected by the central conceit of the show. The series has been designed to improve children's active listening skills which have been shown to assist with their development in areas such as speech, language skills and memory. ALT have conducted user testing in order to establish the effectiveness of the show in capturing children's attention to the sounds presented and their development of a vocabulary of sounds. Educational aspects of a series are of huge importance to broadcasters, especially public service broadcasters who have a particular remit to inspire and educate their audiences. https://altanimation.wetransfer.com/downloads/46cb97ed83a61c13dc7d757eb5d6172220191028135926/da75d8 • NI Screen, Future Screens NI, Queen's University Belfast and Sixteen South are collaborating in order to develop and implement new software which will be instrumental in creating a new and bespoke workflow, purely designed to create animated content that can reach its audience directly through a streaming platform which will have a 48 hour turnover for each episode. • NI Screen, Future Screens NI, Queen's University Belfast and Darkley Films are collaborating to deliver a 5 minute live action therapeutic VR experience for victims and perpetrators of mental abuse. This will deliver a training tool for frontline medical and care staff. It is the first VR platform targeted to mental abuse. • Queen's University Belfast and Farset Labs are collaborating on the Immersive Interactive Performances: Strategies for developing gesture-based, inclusive VR Experiences project. This project in volves Maker events with disabled musicians (supported by Drake Music NI), SARC and Farset Labs, and selected partner stakeholders across the artistic, disability-care and technical community. The partnership is investigating useful gesture information and exploring options for how to map and implement these into Virtual Immersive Environments using frameworks such as the Unity platform. Unity developer Richard Tongeman - Far Few Giants is collaborating in the partnership in order to better understand the needs of the musicians and to creatively engage in developing the required Unity add-ons. Dr Franciska Schroeder is providing her expertise develop an immersive VR space in which musicians' movements are visually engaging from audience point of view while the musician is navigating / using VR controllers and to ensure that this can be harnessed as further input data for generating either additional audio channels/effects, or contributing a dynamic visual element to an immersive experience as an integral part of a performance. • Queen's University Belfast are collaborating with Darkley Films in order to development and application of a working prototype aimed at developing a training platform within VR to address mental abuse and the trauma relating to it. The team are working together to identify and address the challenges of the design and development required to establish a tailored VR experience within this area. The current VR projects on the market similar to this do not meet the market gap that was addressed, for several reasons. Firstly, they are dealing with physical assault and physical domestic violence rather than mental abuse. This platform solves the problems of access to diagnosis, healthcare and education as it is a low cost, flexible and scalable tool for use in a therapy or training context. Therapists, abuse counsellors and therapy groups can use it to work with both victims (via exposure therapy) and perpetrators (through empathy enhancement/rehabilitation therapy). GPs, social workers and other healthcare professionals can use it to train themselves and their staff in understanding and responding to patients who have experienced emotional abuse. Complex healthcare, financial and family relationship problems that result from mental abuse such as anxiety, depression, self-harm and financial hardship could be prevented through appropriate education in the patterns of mental abuse for those experiencing it, and those treating it or dealing with its after effects. Users include members of the public (initially a non-clinical sample with no previous experience of abuse) and medical and care professionals such as GPs, therapists and social workers. Additional Supporting Information https://vimeo.com/372602129 (Video) https://tinyurl.com/vydpuku (images) https://tinyurl.com/rqmkwmy (report) https://creativeindustriesclusters.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Clusters-Booklet-Story-So-Far-FINAL-web.pdf https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZY6eQbPLGU&feature=youtu.be https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42mItwjPW8I&feature=youtu.be
Impact Together Ulster University, Queen's University Belfast and partners have invested £1.9mn in R&D in Year One. Ulster University is the lead partner and provides leadership, academic expertise, and investment throughout and has achieved the following achievements which would not have been possible without the partnership between Ulster University in the project and which address the challenges outlined in the question above: • Future Screens NI and Queen's University Belfast have established a funding ecosystem to direct and support industry and SMEs within the sector to ensure that there is a funding progression pathway. • The Investment of £1.9 million in the NI Creative Economy in Year One • Created a local Creative Industries Innovation Hub • 25 live R&D projects in gaming, med-tech, immersion, animation, mental health and wellbeing, and pain relief which are at the forefront of R&I within new and emerging technologies • Future Screens NI and Queen's University have hosted over 20 R&D lead events attended by more than 5,000 creative industry representatives and academics • 22 members of academic staff who are leaders in their field working collaboratively with the industry attended by more than 4,000 Creative industries reps and showcasing 30 local R&D projects • 4 PhD students undertaking Future Focused research in Cinematics, Design Thinking and Leadership. • Built a research partnership comprising 20 Lead industry partners including: RTÉ, NI Screen, BBC, BCC, Digital Catapult, Invest NI, Innovate UK, Tourism NI, Retinize, Humain, The Lyric Theatre, and 100 SMEs at the forefront of new immersive and emerging technologies including Alt Animation, Italic Pig Ltd, Taunt Ltd, Sentireal, Sixteen South, Incisiv, PreCog, NEON and JadeBlok. • Built a global partnership involving the World Building Institute, Experimental Design, Disney, Warner Media, Industrial Light and Magic, HBO and The Romeros. • Worked with NI Screen to develop the Pixel Mill which is an R&D led Gaming and Innovation Hub which is home to 18 businesses and provides accommodation, mentoring, expertise and leadership development. Including building an R&D led network. • Created 79 new R&D led jobs within the creative sector in Year 1. • Future Screens NI and Queen's University Belfast have become embedded as a creative industry initiative within the Ormeau Baths Innovation Hub. • Developed The Hearios has the potential to stimulate listening skills at pre-school age • Future Screens NI and Queen's University Belfast have participated in a series of well-received showcases at SXSW, and New York-New Belfast and is building strong collaborative partnerships with NY, Pennsylvania Los Angeles and China. Therefore network has been established towards realising the Global potential of the project. • A number of public and sectoral engagement events are in development in partnership with the BBC. Future Screens NI (Ulster) and Queen's University Belfast and partners have together identified the problem of underinvestment in the local creative industries, the need to drive forward research and development within the local creative economy. Together the partnership worked closely with UKRI to ensure that the councils recognised the importance of investing in the regions. The partnership and their credible collaboration helped shape the creative cluster call and ensured that there would be an emphasis on investment outside of London. Together the partnership have built a creative cluster comprising 20 Lead industry partners including: RTÉ, NI Screen, BBC, BCC, Digital Catapult, Invest NI, Innovate UK, Tourism NI, Retinize, Humain, The Lyric Theatre, and 100 SMEs at the forefront of new immersive and emerging technologies including Alt Animation, Italic Pig Ltd, Taunt Ltd, Sentireal, Sixteen South, Incisiv, PreCog, NEON and JadeBlok alongside significant global partners including the World Building Institute, Experimental Design, Disney, Warner Media, Industrial Light and Magic, HBO and The Romeros. • Working together Ulster University, Queen's University Belfast and NI Screen secured £6m from the AHRC to which NI Screen Northern Ireland Screen is the national screen agency for Northern Ireland committed a further £4.8mn to invest in R&D within the sector. • Working together Ulster University and Queen's University Belfast and NI Screen secured a further £2.2mn from additional industry partners. • Ulster University, Queen's University Belfast and NI Screen have developed a strong working partnership that meets weekly in order to drive forward local R&D investment and to ensure that once businesses have completed the application and verification processes, they can access finance quickly and efficiently. • Ulster University and Queen's University work together to ensure that industry applicants are effectively matched to Academic Collaborators to ensure that R&D led projects are co-created, meet the excellence requirements of the AHRC, are deliverable and address industry requirements. • Together Ulster University, Queen's University Belfast NI Screen have invested £1.9mn. Ulster University, Queen's University Belfast and NI Screen provide a unique funding stream in which 100% of the finance goes to the industry partner to address their R&D led challenge. This investment has generated 79 jobs. • Working together in close partnership Ulster University and Queen's University Belfast have ensured that Future Screens NI is the strongest project within the entire UK Industrial Strategy Programme. This was announced by Professor Andrew Chitty, Challenge Director - Creative Industries Clusters and Audience of the Future Programme at the AHRC Beyond Conference 2019. Future Screens NI at Forefront of the Industrial Strategy Programme • Ulster University, Queen's University and NI Screen have transformed the local creative sector by providing infrastructure, creating a strong ecosystem, supporting industry to advance along the R&D funding pipeline and to access prestigious funding and mentoring opportunities from Innovate UK and Industrial Light and Magic. • Future Screens NI, Ulster University, Queen's University and NI Screen hosted the NI Assembly STEM All-Party Group in order to ensure that the local STEM ecosystem and Political Structures understand the important role of the Creative Industries in the generation and application of new and emerging technologies. • Queen's University Belfast, NI Screen and Future Screens NI have developed the Storytelling for the Futures project. Northern Ireland Screen's strategy sets out to develop six 'sectors' within the Northern Ireland screen industries: 1. Large-scale (film and television projects with budgets over $35m) 2. Animation (feature films and series) 3. Television Drama (including children's drama) 4. Independent film (including feature documentary) 5. Interactive (games, VR and AR) 6. Factual and Entertainment Television Northern Ireland Screen, the Seamus Heaney Centre and Future Screens NI have collaborated in order to determine what the storytelling challenges within each of the six sectors are, how they might be overcome, and what the future opportunities for writers might be. In doing so the partnership has delivered six storytelling workshops attended by 300 participants. 4 participants from the programme have identified storytelling challenges and successfully secured funding from Future Screens NI to address these challenges. • Future Screens NI, Queen's University Belfast, NI Screen and Future Screens NI are collaborating on The Hearios. The Hearios is a new and exciting stop motion animation and live action mixed media series aimed at a pre-school audience featuring a family of musical moles who teach children the important developmental skill of active listening. Future. In order to make The Hearios stand out from its competitors, have carried out user testing with the target audience, in collaboration with QUB, to provide information about the existing listening skills and vocabulary of pre-schoolers and how they are affected by the central conceit of the show. The series has been designed to improve children's active listening skills which have been shown to assist with their development in areas such as speech, language skills and memory. ALT have conducted user testing in order to establish the effectiveness of the show in capturing children's attention to the sounds presented and their development of a vocabulary of sounds. Educational aspects of a series are of huge importance to broadcasters, especially public service broadcasters who have a particular remit to inspire and educate their audiences. https://altanimation.wetransfer.com/downloads/46cb97ed83a61c13dc7d757eb5d6172220191028135926/da75d8 • NI Screen, Future Screens NI, Queen's University Belfast and Sixteen South are collaborating in order to develop and implement new software which will be instrumental in creating a new and bespoke workflow, purely designed to create animated content that can reach its audience directly through a streaming platform which will have a 48 hour turnover for each episode. • NI Screen, Future Screens NI, Queen's University Belfast and Darkley Films are collaborating to deliver a 5 minute live action therapeutic VR experience for victims and perpetrators of mental abuse. This will deliver a training tool for frontline medical and care staff. It is the first VR platform targeted to mental abuse. • Queen's University Belfast and Farset Labs are collaborating on the Immersive Interactive Performances: Strategies for developing gesture-based, inclusive VR Experiences project. This project in volves Maker events with disabled musicians (supported by Drake Music NI), SARC and Farset Labs, and selected partner stakeholders across the artistic, disability-care and technical community. The partnership is investigating useful gesture information and exploring options for how to map and implement these into Virtual Immersive Environments using frameworks such as the Unity platform. Unity developer Richard Tongeman - Far Few Giants is collaborating in the partnership in order to better understand the needs of the musicians and to creatively engage in developing the required Unity add-ons. Dr Franciska Schroeder is providing her expertise develop an immersive VR space in which musicians' movements are visually engaging from audience point of view while the musician is navigating / using VR controllers and to ensure that this can be harnessed as further input data for generating either additional audio channels/effects, or contributing a dynamic visual element to an immersive experience as an integral part of a performance. • Queen's University Belfast are collaborating with Darkley Films in order to development and application of a working prototype aimed at developing a training platform within VR to address mental abuse and the trauma relating to it. The team are working together to identify and address the challenges of the design and development required to establish a tailored VR experience within this area. The current VR projects on the market similar to this do not meet the market gap that was addressed, for several reasons. Firstly, they are dealing with physical assault and physical domestic violence rather than mental abuse. This platform solves the problems of access to diagnosis, healthcare and education as it is a low cost, flexible and scalable tool for use in a therapy or training context. Therapists, abuse counsellors and therapy groups can use it to work with both victims (via exposure therapy) and perpetrators (through empathy enhancement/rehabilitation therapy). GPs, social workers and other healthcare professionals can use it to train themselves and their staff in understanding and responding to patients who have experienced emotional abuse. Complex healthcare, financial and family relationship problems that result from mental abuse such as anxiety, depression, self-harm and financial hardship could be prevented through appropriate education in the patterns of mental abuse for those experiencing it, and those treating it or dealing with its after effects. Users include members of the public (initially a non-clinical sample with no previous experience of abuse) and medical and care professionals such as GPs, therapists and social workers. Additional Supporting Information https://vimeo.com/372602129 (Video) https://tinyurl.com/vydpuku (images) https://tinyurl.com/rqmkwmy (report) https://creativeindustriesclusters.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Clusters-Booklet-Story-So-Far-FINAL-web.pdf https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZY6eQbPLGU&feature=youtu.be https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42mItwjPW8I&feature=youtu.be
Start Year 2018
 
Description Immersive Interactive Performances: Strategies for developing gesture-based, inclusive VR Experiences 
Organisation Farset Labs
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Future Screens NI are investing £10,000 cash and £29,250 in academic, research and administrative staff time in the Immersive Interactive Performances: Strategies for developing gesture-based inclusive VR experiences. The project in volves Maker events with disabled musicians (supported by Drake Music NI), SARC and Farset Labs, and selected partner stakeholders across the artistic, disability-care and technical community. The partnership is investigating useful gesture information and exploring options for how to map and implement these into Virtual Immersive Environments using frameworks such as the Unity platform. Unity developer Richard Tongeman - Far Few Giants is collaborating in the partnership in order to better understand the needs of the musicians and to creatively engage in developing the required Unity add-ons. Dr Franciska Schroeder is providing her expertise develop an immersive VR space in which musicians' movements are visually engaging from audience point of view while the musician is navigating / using VR controllers and to ensure that this can be harnessed as further input data for generating either additional audio channels/effects, or contributing a dynamic visual element to an immersive experience as an integral part of a performance. Current academic and industrial research into the burgeoning field of VR interaction design (Such as the recently published, Sherburg and Craig [2018]) has focused almost exclusively on: 1. Directly skeuomorphic interaction models; where there is a 1-to-1 mapping between motions, shapes and physical modelling characteristics of objects, characters and avatars in the "Virtual" world, as those objects' analogues in the "Real" world. 2. Total direct replication/mapping of physical environments in the Virtual world (such as telepresence applications) 3. Multiplicative augmentations of skills/capabilities based on a normal body/mental capability model (eg video games giving enhanced "Jump" abilities and super-strength in the virtual world) These approaches, and therefore their recommendations and outcomes, are difficult to directly map onto those with different physical and cognitive capabilities. The field of VR music is burgeoning (see recent AES Immersive, Interactive Audio conference, York (http://www.aes.org/conferences/2019/immersive ), where yet another VR music instrument was launched: "MuX: https://store.steampowered.com/app/673970/MuX/ . VR researchers are only now starting to meaningfully take into account different body-models, such as amputation or colour-blindness. This needs to be done as part of the development of these fundamental environmental designs, rather than as an 'accessibility' afterthought. Very few immersive experiences are being designed and built with body-model variations in mind. The proposed VR design focuses on exploring different body abilities as the team work with disabled musicians who may not use VR in a 'standard' way (i.e. using only one hand, or using upper body movements only); thus the project also expect to contribute to user design strategies in more general. Concerning those with different physical and/or mental abilities, the diminished direct capability for individual, independent, expression is a known driver of stress and frustration, and one area of particular frustration is the general incapability or extreme effort required for any creative expression such as music, art or dance. In order to develop remediating strategies for these frustrations, Farset Labs has been collaborating with the Sonic Arts Research Centre (SARC,QUB) led by Dr Schroeder since the beginning of this year. VR instrumenst for disabled musicians, is the first of its kind adapted for the HTC VIVE used in Northern Ireland (delivered in 2018). This was achieved through an ongoing partnership between SARC and Drake Music NI with content designer "BeAnotherLab" as integral industry partner. SARC and Drake NI have been collaborating on designing inclusive accessible music technologies since 2015 through their "Performance without Barriers" research group. Farset Labs is supporting the user community and is providing training support in key skills and techniques that underlie the breadth of the project (Embedded and Sensor electronics via our Maker Electronics events and 3D Modelling and Design for VR via Unity Workshops, which are running throughout March and April 2019). Through ideation sessions with disabled musicians, coders, artists and gamers (February 2019 Maker event: https://www.meetup.com/VRIMM_NI ), Farset Labs identified gestural movements (often pronounced in musicians with for example cerebral palsy) as potentially exciting mapping mechanism for expanding the VR instrument, which tends to be rather unique only for the musician using it. The musicians' movements while navigating / using VR controllers are visually engaging from an audience point of view and could be harnessed as further input data for generating either additional audio channels/effects, or contributing a dynamic visual element to an immersive experience as an integral part of a performance. It could also provide some engaging audience interaction and open path to new participatory immersive, and inclusive performances. The main objective of the current collaboration is to to establish how best to map gestural information to VR platforms, in particular to more affordable platforms such as Oculus Go. The collaboration have developed a VR platform app which is an open source so as to allow the wider coding / maker community to upscale and improve the code. Ultimately, the app is in development towards a commercial standard to include a visualisation system and to allow for both local and remote audience engagement, as well as providing options to customise the experience to individual performers. The collaboration aim to develop the app in the cross-platform 3D framework, Unity (co-developed between disabled musicians and coders). The collaboration have engaged Unity wizzard Richard Tongeman to oversee and implement this aspect of the work programme. Richard has great expertise in developing award-winning VR projects. The app will have a "play" mode for the performers and a "participate" mode for the audience. The "play" mode will be used by the performers to trigger a visualisation system (in-world and for visual display outside of VR), while the "participate" mode will include phone based interaction (screen, movement, position, etc), adding extra information to the overall visual outputs (visual or sonic). Questions such as how open participation and best to capture smartphone/wearable electronics based gestures (interface-based navigation and actions such as tap, drag, swipe, pinch, rotate, scroll, but also position, and acceleration) and / or whether to provide a haptic feedback loop to the musicians (retro-mapping the musician's movement to the VR controllers for instance) will help defining the two modes of interaction: "play" and "participate" to be shared between musicians and audience respectively. With this proof of concept, the partnership are exploring, validating and demonstrating innovative interaction design and collaborative composition strategies that the current state-of-the-art VR world does not yet satisfy. From the existing partnerships and events, the partnership have already demonstrated that an interdisciplinary, iterative co-design approach between musicians, technologists and industry stakeholders yields innovative, practical, cost-effective solutions. This approach has stood the test of time, with previous collaborations with Ulster University and the Bryson group (and other stakeholders) on developing reablement strategies for transitioning primary-healthcare users to community health support services via web/mobile based app-platforms, and collaborations with the Department of Finance on the use of Open Data within government departments. Farset Labs' diverse community of technologists provide their experience and expertise in highly specific areas, but this is tempered with direct interaction with stakeholders and target-users (in this case, these will be differently abled musicians and their carers) to match the "state of the art" in fields such as wearable sensor technology, musical composition methodologies, visual artists etc, with the individual and collective needs of those stakeholders. These iterations and consultations operate on a tight feedback loop via the use of rapid prototyping capabilities in the Labs, to maximise efficiency and minimise waste, both in terms of time, expense, and inconvenience to stakeholders. The Farset Labs community also hosts both the Code4GoodNI project (targeting the use of technology for social good, such as a series of hackathons targeting sufferers of chronic pain and using VR and software interaction technologies for treatment and education) and the Open Industry Network, a professional community of open source practitioners and industrial users, and these networks will be leveraged to provide maximum ongoing impact to this project. The partnership have very close connections to the local visual artists/games development ecosystem, with previous partnerships with The Digital Catapult Immersive Labs, PixelMill, Vault Artist Studios (previously Belfast Bankers), Digital Arts Studios, and Visual Artists Ireland; these partners will also be consulted to leverage their creativity experience and skills in mapping the abstract intentionality of the gestures collected by the technology components of the project into engaging, immersive, interactive experiences, both for musicians and audience participants. Immersive technologies such as VR and AR are starting to be twisted and bent into new and unexpected forms, creating wholly original ways to engage audiences with stories and experiences; and the immersive sector thrives by bringing together artistic talent with technical innovation. As such partnerships between public, private and third sector organisations, working towards common aims, will be crucial in driving progress in the sector. Goldman Sachs forecasts that the global VR/AR/Immersive market could be worth as much as $95 billion in 2025, while TechCrunch estimates the combined virtual reality/augmented reality market will reach $108 billion in 2021. However, the skills required to realise this potential are disparate, and will require levels of inter-industrial collaboration not normally seen. Farset Labs' neutral collaboration status puts us in a unique position to foster such connections. The partnership directly contributes to the organisations charitable aims of increasing the use and access to technology and technology solutions to real-world challenges. As a side impact to this project, the intention is that the techniques, outputs, and findings developed will be retained and shared across the wider community, to be able to inform and augment other openly-developed projects. The team will be continuing and extending our partnerships with SARC and DrakeNI directly, as well as engaging with the wider musical, visual arts, and technology communities. This will increase both Farset Lab' profile in general, but also strengthen the links we have developed between the normally siloed academic, technology and artistic communities. https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1b29guejPvBhn1wbIaUxK38CELV0IASw8Xjg3TN8YwCk/edit?usp=sharing
Collaborator Contribution Future Screens NI are investing £10,000 cash and £29,250 in academic, research and administrative staff time in the Immersive Interactive Performances: Strategies for developing gesture-based inclusive VR experiences. The project in volves Maker events with disabled musicians (supported by Drake Music NI), SARC and Farset Labs, and selected partner stakeholders across the artistic, disability-care and technical community. The partnership is investigating useful gesture information and exploring options for how to map and implement these into Virtual Immersive Environments using frameworks such as the Unity platform. Unity developer Richard Tongeman - Far Few Giants is collaborating in the partnership in order to better understand the needs of the musicians and to creatively engage in developing the required Unity add-ons. Dr Franciska Schroeder is providing her expertise develop an immersive VR space in which musicians' movements are visually engaging from audience point of view while the musician is navigating / using VR controllers and to ensure that this can be harnessed as further input data for generating either additional audio channels/effects, or contributing a dynamic visual element to an immersive experience as an integral part of a performance. Current academic and industrial research into the burgeoning field of VR interaction design (Such as the recently published, Sherburg and Craig [2018]) has focused almost exclusively on: 1. Directly skeuomorphic interaction models; where there is a 1-to-1 mapping between motions, shapes and physical modelling characteristics of objects, characters and avatars in the "Virtual" world, as those objects' analogues in the "Real" world. 2. Total direct replication/mapping of physical environments in the Virtual world (such as telepresence applications) 3. Multiplicative augmentations of skills/capabilities based on a normal body/mental capability model (eg video games giving enhanced "Jump" abilities and super-strength in the virtual world) These approaches, and therefore their recommendations and outcomes, are difficult to directly map onto those with different physical and cognitive capabilities. The field of VR music is burgeoning (see recent AES Immersive, Interactive Audio conference, York (http://www.aes.org/conferences/2019/immersive ), where yet another VR music instrument was launched: "MuX: https://store.steampowered.com/app/673970/MuX/ . VR researchers are only now starting to meaningfully take into account different body-models, such as amputation or colour-blindness. This needs to be done as part of the development of these fundamental environmental designs, rather than as an 'accessibility' afterthought. Very few immersive experiences are being designed and built with body-model variations in mind. The proposed VR design focuses on exploring different body abilities as the team work with disabled musicians who may not use VR in a 'standard' way (i.e. using only one hand, or using upper body movements only); thus the project also expect to contribute to user design strategies in more general. Concerning those with different physical and/or mental abilities, the diminished direct capability for individual, independent, expression is a known driver of stress and frustration, and one area of particular frustration is the general incapability or extreme effort required for any creative expression such as music, art or dance. In order to develop remediating strategies for these frustrations, Farset Labs has been collaborating with the Sonic Arts Research Centre (SARC,QUB) led by Dr Schroeder since the beginning of this year. VR instrumenst for disabled musicians, is the first of its kind adapted for the HTC VIVE used in Northern Ireland (delivered in 2018). This was achieved through an ongoing partnership between SARC and Drake Music NI with content designer "BeAnotherLab" as integral industry partner. SARC and Drake NI have been collaborating on designing inclusive accessible music technologies since 2015 through their "Performance without Barriers" research group. Farset Labs is supporting the user community and is providing training support in key skills and techniques that underlie the breadth of the project (Embedded and Sensor electronics via our Maker Electronics events and 3D Modelling and Design for VR via Unity Workshops, which are running throughout March and April 2019). Through ideation sessions with disabled musicians, coders, artists and gamers (February 2019 Maker event: https://www.meetup.com/VRIMM_NI ), Farset Labs identified gestural movements (often pronounced in musicians with for example cerebral palsy) as potentially exciting mapping mechanism for expanding the VR instrument, which tends to be rather unique only for the musician using it. The musicians' movements while navigating / using VR controllers are visually engaging from an audience point of view and could be harnessed as further input data for generating either additional audio channels/effects, or contributing a dynamic visual element to an immersive experience as an integral part of a performance. It could also provide some engaging audience interaction and open path to new participatory immersive, and inclusive performances. The main objective of the current collaboration is to to establish how best to map gestural information to VR platforms, in particular to more affordable platforms such as Oculus Go. The collaboration have developed a VR platform app which is an open source so as to allow the wider coding / maker community to upscale and improve the code. Ultimately, the app is in development towards a commercial standard to include a visualisation system and to allow for both local and remote audience engagement, as well as providing options to customise the experience to individual performers. The collaboration aim to develop the app in the cross-platform 3D framework, Unity (co-developed between disabled musicians and coders). The collaboration have engaged Unity wizzard Richard Tongeman to oversee and implement this aspect of the work programme. Richard has great expertise in developing award-winning VR projects. The app will have a "play" mode for the performers and a "participate" mode for the audience. The "play" mode will be used by the performers to trigger a visualisation system (in-world and for visual display outside of VR), while the "participate" mode will include phone based interaction (screen, movement, position, etc), adding extra information to the overall visual outputs (visual or sonic). Questions such as how open participation and best to capture smartphone/wearable electronics based gestures (interface-based navigation and actions such as tap, drag, swipe, pinch, rotate, scroll, but also position, and acceleration) and / or whether to provide a haptic feedback loop to the musicians (retro-mapping the musician's movement to the VR controllers for instance) will help defining the two modes of interaction: "play" and "participate" to be shared between musicians and audience respectively. With this proof of concept, the partnership are exploring, validating and demonstrating innovative interaction design and collaborative composition strategies that the current state-of-the-art VR world does not yet satisfy. From the existing partnerships and events, the partnership have already demonstrated that an interdisciplinary, iterative co-design approach between musicians, technologists and industry stakeholders yields innovative, practical, cost-effective solutions. This approach has stood the test of time, with previous collaborations with Ulster University and the Bryson group (and other stakeholders) on developing reablement strategies for transitioning primary-healthcare users to community health support services via web/mobile based app-platforms, and collaborations with the Department of Finance on the use of Open Data within government departments. Farset Labs' diverse community of technologists provide their experience and expertise in highly specific areas, but this is tempered with direct interaction with stakeholders and target-users (in this case, these will be differently abled musicians and their carers) to match the "state of the art" in fields such as wearable sensor technology, musical composition methodologies, visual artists etc, with the individual and collective needs of those stakeholders. These iterations and consultations operate on a tight feedback loop via the use of rapid prototyping capabilities in the Labs, to maximise efficiency and minimise waste, both in terms of time, expense, and inconvenience to stakeholders. The Farset Labs community also hosts both the Code4GoodNI project (targeting the use of technology for social good, such as a series of hackathons targeting sufferers of chronic pain and using VR and software interaction technologies for treatment and education) and the Open Industry Network, a professional community of open source practitioners and industrial users, and these networks will be leveraged to provide maximum ongoing impact to this project. The partnership have very close connections to the local visual artists/games development ecosystem, with previous partnerships with The Digital Catapult Immersive Labs, PixelMill, Vault Artist Studios (previously Belfast Bankers), Digital Arts Studios, and Visual Artists Ireland; these partners will also be consulted to leverage their creativity experience and skills in mapping the abstract intentionality of the gestures collected by the technology components of the project into engaging, immersive, interactive experiences, both for musicians and audience participants. Immersive technologies such as VR and AR are starting to be twisted and bent into new and unexpected forms, creating wholly original ways to engage audiences with stories and experiences; and the immersive sector thrives by bringing together artistic talent with technical innovation. As such partnerships between public, private and third sector organisations, working towards common aims, will be crucial in driving progress in the sector. Goldman Sachs forecasts that the global VR/AR/Immersive market could be worth as much as $95 billion in 2025, while TechCrunch estimates the combined virtual reality/augmented reality market will reach $108 billion in 2021. However, the skills required to realise this potential are disparate, and will require levels of inter-industrial collaboration not normally seen. Farset Labs' neutral collaboration status puts us in a unique position to foster such connections. The partnership directly contributes to the organisations charitable aims of increasing the use and access to technology and technology solutions to real-world challenges. As a side impact to this project, the intention is that the techniques, outputs, and findings developed will be retained and shared across the wider community, to be able to inform and augment other openly-developed projects. The team will be continuing and extending our partnerships with SARC and DrakeNI directly, as well as engaging with the wider musical, visual arts, and technology communities. This will increase both Farset Lab' profile in general, but also strengthen the links we have developed between the normally siloed academic, technology and artistic communities. https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1b29guejPvBhn1wbIaUxK38CELV0IASw8Xjg3TN8YwCk/edit?usp=sharing
Impact nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn
Start Year 2019
 
Description Innovate UK Family Meeting 
Organisation Innovate UK
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Innovate UK Host a family meeting that brings together UK wide funding initiatives in order to develop the local funding pipeline and to consider ways in which to engage industry and others within it. The meeting is attended by the KTB network, the Space Agency, the EEN, the British Business Bank, TechNation and other. Future Screens NI delivered a presentation to the network on the 29th of October 2019. Following the presentation Future Screens NI have become part of the network and now co-host the meeting in Ormeau Baths in partnership with Innovate UK. Future Screens NI now provide the meeting room and space and Innovate UK continue to co-ordinate the meeting. This partnership approach has resulted in: • Enhanced understanding of the funding pipeline amongst the Future Screens NI Cluster including distinct streams and progression pathways • 2 Future Screens NI partners accessing Innovate UK funding • A co-hosted Research Development workshop which will be delivered on April 3rd.
Collaborator Contribution Innovate UK Host a family meeting that brings together UK wide funding initiatives in order to develop the local funding pipeline and to consider ways in which to engage industry and others within it. The meeting is attended by the KTB network, the Space Agency, the EEN, the British Business Bank, TechNation and other. Future Screens NI delivered a presentation to the network on the 29th of October 2019. Following the presentation Future Screens NI have become part of the network and now co-host the meeting in Ormeau Baths in partnership with Innovate UK.Future Screens NI now provide the meeting room and space and Innovate UK continue to co-ordinate the meeting. This partnership approach has resulted in: • Enhanced understanding of the funding pipeline amongst the Future Screens NI Cluster including distinct streams and progression pathways • 2 Future Screens NI partners accessing Innovate UK funding • A co-hosted Research Development workshop which will be delivered on April 3rd.
Impact This partnership approach has resulted in: • Enhanced understanding of the funding pipeline amongst the Future Screens NI Cluster including distinct streams and progression pathways • 2 Future Screens NI partners accessing Innovate UK funding • A co-hosted Research Development workshop which will be delivered on April 3rd.
Start Year 2019
 
Description Italic Pig, The Infinite Hotel 
Organisation Italic Pig
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Future Screens NI have invested £62,400 in the Infinite Hotel Project. This includes an R&D grant of £22,475 and academic and research expertise and academic support. Future Screens NI and Italic Pig identified a clear R&D challenge born out of the requirement to have proceedural character generation which uses as few game assets as possible by using Machine Learning to create truly random characters. The expertise of the Future Screens NI team has been directed towards this research objective as it contains many parts which need to be operational in order for the full system to be effective in meeting the requirements as outline by Italic Pig. Darryl Charles from the Future Screen NI team was heavily involved in the creation of this project due to his expertise in both the games industry and Machine Learning and was able to provide invaluable knowledge to Italic Pig. The creation of this project as mentioned before, would require several systems to work in tandem. This included creation of a scalable uniform rig that would work alongside any assets that the team placed on the mesh. Following this a system was created through a combination of randomisation, artistic assistance and informed design, this will generate a reproducible character from a seed. The intention with this is to create an app that can be used to help teach the machine learning algorithm and define which characters are visually appealing to the users which is then fed back into the algorithm to make better informed decisions upon the next generation of a character. The point of this being that the more the algorithm learns what makes an appealing character for the users the more of these appealing characters it will be able to produce and in greater variety. Once this had been completed the application could now: - Randomly choose a seed, build a state, send that into the network - Predict a yes/no based on previous crowd feedback - If yes, build random character from seed and store in game - If no, choose new seed and repeat This system adds a new layer of depth to standardised character generation in the games industry by using learning reinforced algorithms it creates the potential to have characters be generated on the fly and used in games which aids in a greater sense of immersion and interest for the players due to randomised nature of them.
Collaborator Contribution Italic Pig had three challenges to overcome: 1. Creating visually believable characters with randomisation 2. Creating a wide range of diverse characters 3. Simplifying the animation pipeline so that interactions and responsiveness are simulated with the least amount of bespoke work. Their current system relies on assembly from a pool of resources, but for our second-gen system we have been making strides using skeletal rigs and blending to create body deformations for a range of sculpted "species", each with a collection of assets that may be attached anywhere. They have also experimented with manipulating these skeletons with an overlaid low-resolution spine rig that will allow one set of animation tracks to drive all characters. Once their new visual approach was implemented, They tried to teach the system to filter good from bad design (human appeal) using an evolutionary neural network for seed filtration, trained through crowdsourcing. Emerging machine learning techniques, such as Deep Learning Neural network blended with evolving neural network topologies offer a more robust and reliable solution than previous attempts at solving this problem. The character generation is created from a "seed" - a random string that can be saved and recalled to generate the same result. If a seed yields the same predictable result in every instance, it's a basis for pattern recognition. Finally, for the Infinite Hotel, the character design had been dynamic from the start and the team was aware that they had the freedom to adapt the character design in any direction that shows promise. It is this unique approach to randomised character design, and the deconstruction of the traditional pipeline, that eliminates the possibility of off-the-shelf solutions.
Impact Winner of "Big Indie Pitch" 2019 for Infinite Hotel Northern Ireland Game Studio of the year 2019 Winner of "Best Immersive Game" at Raindance Immersive Summit 2019
Start Year 2019
 
Description JadeBlok, Creative Content Compliance Gateway 
Organisation Jadeblok
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The Team at Future Screens NI identified a path to research and development with this project from JadeBlok. Content / Data Compliance Gateways are the stepping stones for next generation tech development that will facilitate geographically dispersed participants to create / engage within a virtual space with real-time event interaction across disparate platforms. The technical challenges presented by digital content are made more difficult by the imposition of varying regulatory protocols across different jurisdictions that have different rules for content access. A key requirement for seamless regulatory alignment is the availability of a solution which can build trust between systems and allow the flow of critical information across a collaborative network which creates value for each component in the value chain. Such a solution could provide the infrastructure for a range of linked aggregated content services for virtual concerts, galleries, exhibitions, films and gaming. This virtual space, or 'Metaverse', has only been enabled by a few large gaming companies so far in 2019. However the issues will rapidly multiply soon when smaller gaming companies adopt this model. These issues prevent such games reaching the maximum number of users across the globe, unless a ruled-based data gateway is implemented. It is critical for content creators, for example game developers, to have this system in place to allow safe and regulated access to the diversified content, facilitating the highest sales potential. This project necessitated the development of a dynamic middleware solution in the form of a modular Distributed Ledger Technology protocol. The specialised use of Distributed Ledger Technology involved processing of messaging protocols to map and regulate communication between participants. This facilitates consensus, tracking and provenance, smart contracts, third party interoperability, sanction and reward systems and deliver trust ratings through a non-invasive API interface that supports interaction between platforms which host aggregated content services. The middleware solution provides: • Effective age restriction protocols that operate automatically and adjust for context across disparate jurisdictions and platforms; • Regulatory compliance for access to digital content that ensures data privacy based upon smart contract use; • Provenance of content origin and migration in relation to digital uploads, sharing and distribution; The project will involve: • Identification and rating of content and information sources by dynamic reporting and consensus building; • Monitoring and regulating content access using Distributed Ledger Technology; • Devising and implementing rule-based gateway systems that are effective in establishing and maintaining trust and supporting collaboration; • Tracking and analysis of user behaviour and information exchange to provide dynamic decision making through the mapping and provision of business intelligence. The detailed development and implementation process is as follows: 1. Collaboration with Sentireal® on selection of its existing VR applications that contain multiple characters and diverse content; 2. Categorized and labeled different characters and content within the app, based on fictional regulations devised around suitability for varied user age groups and geographic locations; 3. Developed an API to connect the users' profiles (age and location) to the app; 4. Developed an automated logic-reasoning (Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning) to identify what content the users can have access to based on each profile. On top of this layer, DLT technology gives the permission to the content access enquiries from each user, tracking and analysing user behaviour and information exchange. This model can also be replicated in AR and in other immersive and gaming environments. The result of this development is that the high-risk of violating such complex regulations is alleviated for the developers. The more scenarios this prospective system processes, the faster and more cost-effective it will be, due to the large data pool the system will gather and its self-learning capability. Darryl Charles (AI, Co-Investigator) provided expertise in the application of data analytics, distributed ledger technology and machine learning to facilitate interoperability as a part of middleware solution that privileges content access based on consensus and rule-based protocol.
Collaborator Contribution The R&D was clearly focused on developing a technical middleware solution which establishes the context and framework for interoperability between multiple users or content platforms operating across differing jurisdictions and variable contexts/sectors. The tasks which were performed: • Resource Mapping • Contracts, Agreements, Policies • Team Engagement - Roles & Responsibilities • Tasks & Schedules JadeBlok partnered with academics from Ulster University's Creative Industries Institute and Computer Science Research Institute to support, enhance and advise on the development of an Interoperable Data Gateway System to be trialled in a live environment on completion. Partnership with Sentireal will facilitate the development of a live testbed for solution testing. By 2025, the global immersive content market is expected to be worth over £30 billion and the value of the gaming industry is expected to reach £232 billion. Based on the emerging trends in 2019 the future of gaming is transitioning to a 'Metaverse' approach, where diverse content from different origins are brought together in one virtual space. The R&D undertaken by JadeBlok is pivotal for game and immersive content which contains components that are marketed at diverse user groups and which could be at risk of violating regulation(s).
Impact JadeBlok have created a system by which content can be used to dynamically reporting and consensus building, in addition to monitoring and regulating content access using Distributed Ledger Technology (Block-Chain)
Start Year 2019
 
Description Neon, Talking Sense 
Organisation Neon
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The team at Future Screens NI were able to see a clear path to an R&D approach which could be used in the creation of this project by Neon. Talking Sense is an augmented reality conversation training tool that using artificial intelligence technology that enables dynamic machine learning conversation processes with the aim of supporting parents to better understand the behaviour of their children with autism. The benefits of Talking Sense to the creative industries is as a "serious game" or "applied game" designed for a primary purpose other than pure entertainment. This is a way to expand the expertise of creative industries in NI. With immersive, it is clear that as a society we are at the forefront of a cross disciplinary approach between linear storytelling, experience and gaming. In order to develop this AR application Neon partnered with industry and Future Screens NI's team of experts in the field of animation and games design. The principal Co-Investigator was Alec Parkin who has a wealth of knowledge in the field from working with industry leaders in addition to teach the animation course at Ulster University. Due to this Neon was well positioned to undertake this research and development, the result of which being that the creation of proof of concept piece which uses an integrated dialogue engine with a natural language program. In normal human interactions there are between 3-4 pathways for conversation flow and then one "other" option where human conversations tend to work in a programatic manner, where people are taken down a particular pathway. Talking Sense is at the intersection of creativity, innovation, artificial intelligence, machine learning, health and wellbeing and is a cutting edge R&D initiative that has the potential to benefit and raise learning across the entire creative industries. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) refers to a set of related conditions that affect social interaction, communication and behaviour. The impact can range from mild to severe. It mostly appears in early childhood and it normally continues into adulthood. Apart from difficulties with social communication, people with ASD tend to have restricted interests. Other key features include repetitive behaviour and a need for routine. There are 700,000 people on the autism spectrum in the UK which is more than 1 in 100. But if we include their families, autism is a part of daily life for 2.8 million people. Bringing up a child with autism can be challenging for parents, especially when other people do not understand the issues. Children with ASD experience the world differently from most people. They often have difficulty expressing themselves. Sensory issues can affect how they smell, hear or see things. They may find it impossible to eat foods of a particular colour, for example. A great concern for many parents is that some of their son or daughter's behaviours may make it difficult for their child to integrate fully as a member of their local community. Parents of children with ASD have poorer mental health outcomes when compared to the general population. Not understanding why their child engages in certain behaviours and feeling powerless to intervene has a hugely negative impact on parental wellbeing. Giving parents access to proactive strategies to help with their child's needs has been shown to have positive mental health benefits for parents. Talking Sense is a training support tool to enable parents to better understand the behaviour of their children with ASD. By using both AR and the machine learning analytics engine it is possible to evaluate whether an interactive conversation with an AR character can help improve parents' understanding of their child's' behaviour; it gives the ability to measure the effectiveness this platform has on the parents capacity to understand and cope and also understand the emotional stress points in parental learning. The parent will engage in a conversation with an AR character who is representing their child, to practice in real time real life challenging behaviour scenarios and strategies for supporting and understanding their child. This technological solution does not currently exist in the market and is new. Talking Sense is based on web based Simple Steps Autism, which gives parents information that they need to taking the first steps to becoming a parent-therapist and helping their child. Talking Sense is based upon strong academic and research foundations to validate the outcomes that demonstrate from this proof of concept. The methodology is based on understanding the science of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA). The process is simple but requires dedication and determination on behalf of the parent. Simple Steps Autism is an introduction to something much bigger and it is not designed to replace a full-time ABA Therapist but to provide a practical way forward for parents.
Collaborator Contribution The project took 3 months for Neon to complete. Neon is bought the Charisma.ai story editor license for 3 months from To Play For as well as gaining their expertise, workshop input and technical support. The first part of the R&D activity was a scoping workshop delivered by Annette Parry from To Play For in Belfast along with Neon and Ulster University academics Stephen Gallagher and Micky Keenan. This outlined the considerations in terms of thinking about the sorts of conversations that parents may have on the AR platform. Following the workshop Neon also consulted with parents of children with ASD and autism charities to ensure that real needs are being met. Parents said what help they need and the ongoing conversation is based on pre-recorded conversation pathways. They then analysed the impact of this conversation AR training tool by analysing the levels of increased understanding and insight into parents' experience, interaction, emotion and mood through the following dynamic machine learning processes and analytics which enabled detection of words used and also detected facial expressions through the emotion engine where it is possible to: monitor whole experience; analyse specific words used; track the whole story; analyse which words affect which emotion; through the platform detect whether dialogue makes person happy or unhappy; and awareness of changes in the emotion of the person. The end user data is all anonymised Neon records outputs from all workshop activities. Once signed off, Neon then set up second workshop with Annette Parry, Brian Coyle and Alec Parkin to scope the approach to building the AR app. Following this they applied to R&D Apple Enterprise Account for limited distribution so that Neon could demo the proof of concept on a phone/ipad. User testing was integrated at each key phase of the proof of concept build. Once the proof of concept was complete Neon then facilitated the final testing with 10 parents of children with ASD.
Impact Neon was able to successfully create a 'Serious Game' which was designed to help people with Autism improve their conversational skills using a combined method of Augmented Reality and Machine Learning.
Start Year 2019
 
Description Ormeau Baths Innovation Hub 
Organisation Ormeau Baths
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Future Screens NI has located a Creative Industries Innovation Hub within Ormeau Baths Innovation Hub. In the context of Northern Ireland, the creative industries are more than just another key economic sector, generating, according to DCMS figures, £1.01 billion in gross added value of the NI economy, and employing 2.9% of the entire NI workforce. For a region emerging from a period of profound conflict, and social and cultural division and dysfunction, the creative industries sector has continued to offer an alternative and successful paradigm, a new model for cultural expression, personal growth, and economic attainment. Ormeau Baths provides a perfectly appointed space through which to develop and build the Future Screens NI Creative Cluster based upon these objectives. The cluster of organisations involved in Future Screens NI may be defined as: (a) audiovisual-led, complemented by the strength of the digital sector and the impact of technology in other more traditional sectors, eg. in tourism, heritage, textiles and crafts; (b) operating across NI as a region, driven by the Belfast travel-to-work-area (add ref to NESTA) but with a region-wide remit linking, in particular, to the North West of the province; c) a spatially defined multi-industry cluster that is distinctive within the UK, shaped by the complexity of cultural space in the aftermath of 20th-century conflict, a plurality of commercial and cultural relationships including across the border with the Republic of Ireland, the role of economic development bodies such as Invest NI and Catalyst Inc., and the significant investment of the HEIs and FE colleges in the creative industries; d) comprising emerging animation, games and immersive technologies industries, which although small by international standards, is one of the fastest growing sectors of the NI economy. The overarching aim of Future Screens NI is to develop a new understanding of the role the creative industries can play in advancing the NI economy both in terms of financial growth and the creation of new employment opportunities. It will do this by researching new technologies and opportunities, developing appropriate educational and training models, placing NI creative businesses in front of international markets, and working with government and other key agencies to ensure sustained growth. Future Screens NI (Ulster) and Ormeau together identified the problem of underinvestment in, and an absence of infrastructure for the local creative industries, and need to drive forward research and development within the local creative economy. Together the partnership have developed the infrastructure and a site of engagement for the local creative industries. Ormeau Baths and Future Screens NI work collaboratively in order to build and support the network and drive forward a culture of public engagement. The partnership between Future Screens NI and Ormeau Baths have resulted in more than 60 EOIs to the Future Screens NI Open Call and 25 live projects. Future Screens NI provide the academic and research expertise to drive forward the cluster and Ormeau Baths provide the necessary infrastructure and support required to build the local creative cluster. The importance of the partnership between Future Screens NI and the Ormeau Baths Innovation Hub is that it establishes the creative industries in NI as a neutral space located in accessible area within Belfast City Centre where contemporary and emerging industrial forms can be advanced in secure settings in a transitional period which is still informed by underlying political tensions. The role of the Cluster as a safe space for high-risk creative endeavour in a low-risk innovation environment, one that fosters experiment and cultural opportunity, cannot be overestimated. As BenedictAnderson (1991) has shown, communities interact through concepts of imagined connection and Future Screens NI and Ormeau Baths together will actively work as a hub to create new forms of imagined community which advance and normalise political stability while creating real employment and building economic growth. Together the partnership build a creative cluster comprising 20 Lead industry partners including: RTÉ, NI Screen, BBC, BCC, Digital Catapult, Invest NI, Innovate UK, Tourism NI, Retinize, Humain, The Lyric Theatre, and 100 SMEs at the forefront of new immersive and emerging technologies including Alt Animation, Italic Pig Ltd, Taunt Ltd, Sentireal, Sixteen South, Incisiv, PreCog, NEON and JadeBlok alongside significant global partners including the World Building Institute, Experimental Design, Disney, Warner Media, Industrial Light and Magic, HBO and The Romeros. In doing so Future Screens NI and Ormeau Baths have established a network consisting of: • 25 live R&D projects in gaming, med-tech, immersion, animation, mental health and wellbeing, and pain relief which are at the forefront of R&I within new and emerging technologies • Future Screens NI and Ormeau Baths have hosted over 20 R&D lead events attended by more than 5,000 creative industry representatives and academics • Established the regular Future Tuesdays Series which takes place on the second Tuesday of every month and is attended by an average of 60 representative • 22 members of academic staff who are leaders in their field working collaboratively with the industry attended by more than 4,000 Creative industries reps and showcasing 30 local R&D projects • 4 PhD students undertaking Future Focused research in Cinematics, Design Thinking and Leadership. • Built a research partnership comprising 20 Lead industry partners including: RTÉ, NI Screen, BBC, BCC, Digital Catapult, Invest NI, Innovate UK, Tourism NI, Retinize, Humain, The Lyric Theatre, and 100 SMEs at the forefront of new immersive and emerging technologies including Alt Animation, Italic Pig Ltd, Taunt Ltd, Sentireal, Sixteen South, Incisiv, PreCog, NEON and JadeBlok. • Built a global partnership involving the World Building Institute, Experimental Design, Disney, Warner Media, Industrial Light and Magic, HBO and The Romeros. • Developed the Pixel Mill which is an R&D led Gaming and Innovation Hub which is home to 18 businesses and provides accommodation, mentoring, expertise and leadership development. Including building an R&D led network. • Created 79 new R&D led jobs within the creative sector in Year 1. • Developed a bespoke R&D led Leadership programme to 100 local creative industry businesses which has resulted in the development of new business models and created 10 new R&D led jobs • Developed the Hearios has the potential to stimulate listening skills at pre-school age • The Lead2Grow programme which has been developed to generate new leadership models commenced in March 2019 with an initial Lead2Grow Programme which was attended by 211 participants. The programme will go live in October 2019 with 30 registered participants. • Future Screens NI and co-located with the Propel Pre-accaeleratior at Ormeau Baths. The Propel Pre-Accelerator is home to 21 new programmes. The Propel Pre-Accelerator is delivered by IGNITE, a UK based start up support and investment network. • Working together in close partnership Ormeau Baths have ensured that Future Screens NI is the strongest project within the entire UK Industrial Strategy Programme. This was announced by Professor Andrew Chitty, Challenge Director - Creative Industries Clusters and Audience of the Future Programme at the AHRC Beyond Conference 2019. Future Screens NI at Forefront of the Industrial Strategy Programme • Ulster University and Ormeau Baths have established the Pixel Mill, a unique R&D led Gaming Incubation Hub home to 18 businesses. • Ulster University and Ormeau Baths have transformed the local creative sector by providing infrastructure, creating a strong ecosystem, supporting industry to advance along the R&D funding pipeline and to access prestigious funding and mentoring opportunities from Innovate UK and Industrial Light and Magic. • Future Screens NI and Ormeau Baths hosted the NI Assembly STEM All-Party Group in order to ensure that the local STEM ecosystem and Political Structures understand the important role of the Creative Industries in the generation and application of new and emerging technologies. 20-21 November 2019 in Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh. https://beyondconference.org/showcase/the-infinite-hotel/ • Ormeau Baths and Future Screens NI are collaborating on The Hearios. The Hearios is a new and exciting stop motion animation and live action mixed media series aimed at a pre-school audience featuring a family of musical moles who teach children the important developmental skill of active listening. Future. In order to make The Hearios stand out from its competitors, have carried out user testing with the target audience, in collaboration with QUB, to provide information about the existing listening skills and vocabulary of pre-schoolers and how they are affected by the central conceit of the show. The series has been designed to improve children's active listening skills which have been shown to assist with their development in areas such as speech, language skills and memory. ALT have conducted user testing in order to establish the effectiveness of the show in capturing children's attention to the sounds presented and their development of a vocabulary of sounds. Educational aspects of a series are of huge importance to broadcasters, especially public service broadcasters who have a particular remit to inspire and educate their audiences. https://altanimation.wetransfer.com/downloads/46cb97ed83a61c13dc7d757eb5d6172220191028135926/da75d8 Other specific impacts have included: • Enhancement and expansion of R&D capacity, knowledge and skills of CI businesses (micro and SMEs) and their owner/managers. The embedding of new knowledge and core technical/business enterprise skills will bring an in-depth understanding of the commercial reality of doing business in CI in a way that will foster collaboration and growth resulting in improved productivity and efficiency at an individual firm level and, in turn across sub-sectors. • Commercialisation and exploitation of technical/expert knowledge leading to spin out companies, as well as the creation of new processes, products and services. • Development of the international commercial capabilities of CI business owners to aid the sector to attract R&D investment from global business. • Increased wealth generation and economic prosperity, evident in the creation and growth of companies and jobs, and the enhancement of business revenue and innovative capacity in high performing CI sub-sectors in NI. • Establishment of specialised physical Creative Innovation Hubs in Belfast • Development of innovative hardware and software solutions for application in creative contexts. • Increased productivity of individual high performing (or potential high growth) CI firms. • Increased number of ideas driven through to successful product development and commercialisation. • New frameworks of leadership development for the CI sector to facilitate collaboration between micro-businesses via HE, local authorities and enterprise agencies to ensure training, advice and mentoring that is fit for purpose. • Connection of pockets of excellence across the region harnessing the opportunities afforded through the partnership with Ormeau Baths. Additional Supporting Information https://vimeo.com/372602129 (Video) https://tinyurl.com/vydpuku (images) https://tinyurl.com/rqmkwmy (report) https://creativeindustriesclusters.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Clusters-Booklet-Story-So-Far-FINAL-web.pdf https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZY6eQbPLGU&feature=youtu.be https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42mItwjPW8I&feature=youtu.be https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jgEYcVlpmY
Collaborator Contribution Future Screens NI has located a Creative Industries Innovation Hub within Ormeau Baths Innovation Hub. In the context of Northern Ireland, the creative industries are more than just another key economic sector, generating, according to DCMS figures, £1.01 billion in gross added value of the NI economy, and employing 2.9% of the entire NI workforce. For a region emerging from a period of profound conflict, and social and cultural division and dysfunction, the creative industries sector has continued to offer an alternative and successful paradigm, a new model for cultural expression, personal growth, and economic attainment. Ormeau Baths provides a perfectly appointed space through which to develop and build the Future Screens NI Creative Cluster based upon these objectives. Ormeau Baths is an entrepreneurial campus located in Belfast City Centre. The founders of Ormeau Baths understand the value of social inclusion and the need to drive forward economic growth and stimulate creativity in the way campus has been created in order to maximise the sharing of collective knowledge for collaborative impact. These objectives match those of Future Screens NI. Ormeau Baths support start-ups who are working on a range of projects including those focused upon 'tech for good'. The team at Ormeau Baths work with Future Screens NI to encourage the Universities corporates, public sector organisations and SMEs to use technology as an enabler of social innovation and to work collectively to establish new ways to provide technology to those who have no access to it. The cluster of organisations involved in Future Screens NI may be defined as: (a) audiovisual-led, complemented by the strength of the digital sector and the impact of technology in other more traditional sectors, eg. in tourism, heritage, textiles and crafts; (b) operating across NI as a region, driven by the Belfast travel-to-work-area (add ref to NESTA) but with a region-wide remit linking, in particular, to the North West of the province; c) a spatially defined multi-industry cluster that is distinctive within the UK, shaped by the complexity of cultural space in the aftermath of 20th-century conflict, a plurality of commercial and cultural relationships including across the border with the Republic of Ireland, the role of economic development bodies such as Invest NI and Catalyst Inc., and the significant investment of the HEIs and FE colleges in the creative industries; d) comprising emerging animation, games and immersive technologies industries, which although small by international standards, is one of the fastest growing sectors of the NI economy. The overarching aim of Future Screens NI is to develop a new understanding of the role the creative industries can play in advancing the NI economy both in terms of financial growth and the creation of new employment opportunities. It will do this by researching new technologies and opportunities, developing appropriate educational and training models, placing NI creative businesses in front of international markets, and working with government and other key agencies to ensure sustained growth. Future Screens NI (Ulster) and Ormeau together identified the problem of underinvestment in, and an absence of infrastructure for the local creative industries, and need to drive forward research and development within the local creative economy. Together the partnership have developed the infrastructure and a site of engagement for the local creative industries. Ormeau Baths and Future Screens NI work collaboratively in order to build and support the network and drive forward a culture of public engagement. The partnership between Future Screens NI and Ormeau Baths have resulted in more than 60 EOIs to the Future Screens NI Open Call and 25 live projects. Future Screens NI provide the academic and research expertise to drive forward the cluster and Ormeau Baths provide the necessary infrastructure and support required to build the local creative cluster. The importance of the partnership between Future Screens NI and the Ormeau Baths Innovation Hub is that it establishes the creative industries in NI as a neutral space located in accessible area within Belfast City Centre where contemporary and emerging industrial forms can be advanced in secure settings in a transitional period which is still informed by underlying political tensions. The role of the Cluster as a safe space for high-risk creative endeavour in a low-risk innovation environment, one that fosters experiment and cultural opportunity, cannot be overestimated. As BenedictAnderson (1991) has shown, communities interact through concepts of imagined connection and Future Screens NI and Ormeau Baths together will actively work as a hub to create new forms of imagined community which advance and normalise political stability while creating real employment and building economic growth. Together the partnership build a creative cluster comprising 20 Lead industry partners including: RTÉ, NI Screen, BBC, BCC, Digital Catapult, Invest NI, Innovate UK, Tourism NI, Retinize, Humain, The Lyric Theatre, and 100 SMEs at the forefront of new immersive and emerging technologies including Alt Animation, Italic Pig Ltd, Taunt Ltd, Sentireal, Sixteen South, Incisiv, PreCog, NEON and JadeBlok alongside significant global partners including the World Building Institute, Experimental Design, Disney, Warner Media, Industrial Light and Magic, HBO and The Romeros. In doing so Future Screens NI and Ormeau Baths have established a network consisting of: • 25 live R&D projects in gaming, med-tech, immersion, animation, mental health and wellbeing, and pain relief which are at the forefront of R&I within new and emerging technologies • Future Screens NI and Ormeau Baths have hosted over 20 R&D lead events attended by more than 5,000 creative industry representatives and academics • Established the regular Future Tuesdays Series which takes place on the second Tuesday of every month and is attended by an average of 60 representative • 22 members of academic staff who are leaders in their field working collaboratively with the industry attended by more than 4,000 Creative industries reps and showcasing 30 local R&D projects • 4 PhD students undertaking Future Focused research in Cinematics, Design Thinking and Leadership. • Built a research partnership comprising 20 Lead industry partners including: RTÉ, NI Screen, BBC, BCC, Digital Catapult, Invest NI, Innovate UK, Tourism NI, Retinize, Humain, The Lyric Theatre, and 100 SMEs at the forefront of new immersive and emerging technologies including Alt Animation, Italic Pig Ltd, Taunt Ltd, Sentireal, Sixteen South, Incisiv, PreCog, NEON and JadeBlok. • Built a global partnership involving the World Building Institute, Experimental Design, Disney, Warner Media, Industrial Light and Magic, HBO and The Romeros. • Developed the Pixel Mill which is an R&D led Gaming and Innovation Hub which is home to 18 businesses and provides accommodation, mentoring, expertise and leadership development. Including building an R&D led network. • Created 79 new R&D led jobs within the creative sector in Year 1. • Developed a bespoke R&D led Leadership programme to 100 local creative industry businesses which has resulted in the development of new business models and created 10 new R&D led jobs • Developed the Hearios has the potential to stimulate listening skills at pre-school age • The Lead2Grow programme which has been developed to generate new leadership models commenced in March 2019 with an initial Lead2Grow Programme which was attended by 211 participants. The programme will go live in October 2019 with 30 registered participants. • Future Screens NI and co-located with the Propel Pre-accaeleratior at Ormeau Baths. The Propel Pre-Accelerator is home to 21 new programmes. The Propel Pre-Accelerator is delivered by IGNITE, a UK based start up support and investment network. • Working together in close partnership Ormeau Baths have ensured that Future Screens NI is the strongest project within the entire UK Industrial Strategy Programme. This was announced by Professor Andrew Chitty, Challenge Director - Creative Industries Clusters and Audience of the Future Programme at the AHRC Beyond Conference 2019. Future Screens NI at Forefront of the Industrial Strategy Programme • Ulster University and Ormeau Baths have established the Pixel Mill, a unique R&D led Gaming Incubation Hub home to 18 businesses. • Ulster University and Ormeau Baths have transformed the local creative sector by providing infrastructure, creating a strong ecosystem, supporting industry to advance along the R&D funding pipeline and to access prestigious funding and mentoring opportunities from Innovate UK and Industrial Light and Magic. • Future Screens NI and Ormeau Baths hosted the NI Assembly STEM All-Party Group in order to ensure that the local STEM ecosystem and Political Structures understand the important role of the Creative Industries in the generation and application of new and emerging technologies. 20-21 November 2019 in Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh. https://beyondconference.org/showcase/the-infinite-hotel/ • Ormeau Baths and Future Screens NI are collaborating on The Hearios. The Hearios is a new and exciting stop motion animation and live action mixed media series aimed at a pre-school audience featuring a family of musical moles who teach children the important developmental skill of active listening. Future. In order to make The Hearios stand out from its competitors, have carried out user testing with the target audience, in collaboration with QUB, to provide information about the existing listening skills and vocabulary of pre-schoolers and how they are affected by the central conceit of the show. The series has been designed to improve children's active listening skills which have been shown to assist with their development in areas such as speech, language skills and memory. ALT have conducted user testing in order to establish the effectiveness of the show in capturing children's attention to the sounds presented and their development of a vocabulary of sounds. Educational aspects of a series are of huge importance to broadcasters, especially public service broadcasters who have a particular remit to inspire and educate their audiences. https://altanimation.wetransfer.com/downloads/46cb97ed83a61c13dc7d757eb5d6172220191028135926/da75d8 Other specific impacts have included: • Enhancement and expansion of R&D capacity, knowledge and skills of CI businesses (micro and SMEs) and their owner/managers. The embedding of new knowledge and core technical/business enterprise skills will bring an in-depth understanding of the commercial reality of doing business in CI in a way that will foster collaboration and growth resulting in improved productivity and efficiency at an individual firm level and, in turn across sub-sectors. • Commercialisation and exploitation of technical/expert knowledge leading to spin out companies, as well as the creation of new processes, products and services. • Development of the international commercial capabilities of CI business owners to aid the sector to attract R&D investment from global business. • Increased wealth generation and economic prosperity, evident in the creation and growth of companies and jobs, and the enhancement of business revenue and innovative capacity in high performing CI sub-sectors in NI. • Establishment of specialised physical Creative Innovation Hubs in Belfast • Development of innovative hardware and software solutions for application in creative contexts. • Increased productivity of individual high performing (or potential high growth) CI firms. • Increased number of ideas driven through to successful product development and commercialisation. • New frameworks of leadership development for the CI sector to facilitate collaboration between micro-businesses via HE, local authorities and enterprise agencies to ensure training, advice and mentoring that is fit for purpose. • Connection of pockets of excellence across the region harnessing the opportunities afforded through the partnership with Ormeau Baths. Additional Supporting Information https://vimeo.com/372602129 (Video) https://tinyurl.com/vydpuku (images) https://tinyurl.com/rqmkwmy (report) https://creativeindustriesclusters.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Clusters-Booklet-Story-So-Far-FINAL-web.pdf https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZY6eQbPLGU&feature=youtu.be https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42mItwjPW8I&feature=youtu.be https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jgEYcVlpmY
Impact Future Screens NI and Ormeau Baths have established a network consisting of: • 25 live R&D projects in gaming, med-tech, immersion, animation, mental health and wellbeing, and pain relief which are at the forefront of R&I within new and emerging technologies • Future Screens NI and Ormeau Baths have hosted over 20 R&D lead events attended by more than 5,000 creative industry representatives and academics • Established the regular Future Tuesdays Series which takes place on the second Tuesday of every month and is attended by an average of 60 representative • 22 members of academic staff who are leaders in their field working collaboratively with the industry attended by more than 4,000 Creative industries reps and showcasing 30 local R&D projects • 4 PhD students undertaking Future Focused research in Cinematics, Design Thinking and Leadership. • Built a research partnership comprising 20 Lead industry partners including: RTÉ, NI Screen, BBC, BCC, Digital Catapult, Invest NI, Innovate UK, Tourism NI, Retinize, Humain, The Lyric Theatre, and 100 SMEs at the forefront of new immersive and emerging technologies including Alt Animation, Italic Pig Ltd, Taunt Ltd, Sentireal, Sixteen South, Incisiv, PreCog, NEON and JadeBlok. • Built a global partnership involving the World Building Institute, Experimental Design, Disney, Warner Media, Industrial Light and Magic, HBO and The Romeros. • Developed the Pixel Mill which is an R&D led Gaming and Innovation Hub which is home to 18 businesses and provides accommodation, mentoring, expertise and leadership development. Including building an R&D led network. • Created 79 new R&D led jobs within the creative sector in Year 1. • Developed a bespoke R&D led Leadership programme to 100 local creative industry businesses which has resulted in the development of new business models and created 10 new R&D led jobs • Developed the Hearios has the potential to stimulate listening skills at pre-school age • The Lead2Grow programme which has been developed to generate new leadership models commenced in March 2019 with an initial Lead2Grow Programme which was attended by 211 participants. The programme will go live in October 2019 with 30 registered participants. • Future Screens NI and co-located with the Propel Pre-accaeleratior at Ormeau Baths. The Propel Pre-Accelerator is home to 21 new programmes. The Propel Pre-Accelerator is delivered by IGNITE, a UK based start up support and investment network. • Working together in close partnership Ormeau Baths have ensured that Future Screens NI is the strongest project within the entire UK Industrial Strategy Programme. This was announced by Professor Andrew Chitty, Challenge Director - Creative Industries Clusters and Audience of the Future Programme at the AHRC Beyond Conference 2019. Future Screens NI at Forefront of the Industrial Strategy Programme • Ulster University and Ormeau Baths have established the Pixel Mill, a unique R&D led Gaming Incubation Hub home to 18 businesses. • Ulster University and Ormeau Baths have transformed the local creative sector by providing infrastructure, creating a strong ecosystem, supporting industry to advance along the R&D funding pipeline and to access prestigious funding and mentoring opportunities from Innovate UK and Industrial Light and Magic. • Future Screens NI and Ormeau Baths hosted the NI Assembly STEM All-Party Group in order to ensure that the local STEM ecosystem and Political Structures understand the important role of the Creative Industries in the generation and application of new and emerging technologies. 20-21 November 2019 in Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh. https://beyondconference.org/showcase/the-infinite-hotel/ • Ormeau Baths and Future Screens NI are collaborating on The Hearios. The Hearios is a new and exciting stop motion animation and live action mixed media series aimed at a pre-school audience featuring a family of musical moles who teach children the important developmental skill of active listening. Future. In order to make The Hearios stand out from its competitors, have carried out user testing with the target audience, in collaboration with QUB, to provide information about the existing listening skills and vocabulary of pre-schoolers and how they are affected by the central conceit of the show. The series has been designed to improve children's active listening skills which have been shown to assist with their development in areas such as speech, language skills and memory. ALT have conducted user testing in order to establish the effectiveness of the show in capturing children's attention to the sounds presented and their development of a vocabulary of sounds. Educational aspects of a series are of huge importance to broadcasters, especially public service broadcasters who have a particular remit to inspire and educate their audiences. https://altanimation.wetransfer.com/downloads/46cb97ed83a61c13dc7d757eb5d6172220191028135926/da75d8 Other specific impacts have included: • Enhancement and expansion of R&D capacity, knowledge and skills of CI businesses (micro and SMEs) and their owner/managers. The embedding of new knowledge and core technical/business enterprise skills will bring an in-depth understanding of the commercial reality of doing business in CI in a way that will foster collaboration and growth resulting in improved productivity and efficiency at an individual firm level and, in turn across sub-sectors. • Commercialisation and exploitation of technical/expert knowledge leading to spin out companies, as well as the creation of new processes, products and services. • Development of the international commercial capabilities of CI business owners to aid the sector to attract R&D investment from global business. • Increased wealth generation and economic prosperity, evident in the creation and growth of companies and jobs, and the enhancement of business revenue and innovative capacity in high performing CI sub-sectors in NI. • Establishment of specialised physical Creative Innovation Hubs in Belfast • Development of innovative hardware and software solutions for application in creative contexts. • Increased productivity of individual high performing (or potential high growth) CI firms. • Increased number of ideas driven through to successful product development and commercialisation. • New frameworks of leadership development for the CI sector to facilitate collaboration between micro-businesses via HE, local authorities and enterprise agencies to ensure training, advice and mentoring that is fit for purpose. • Connection of pockets of excellence across the region harnessing the opportunities afforded through the partnership with Ormeau Baths. Additional Supporting Information https://vimeo.com/372602129 (Video) https://tinyurl.com/vydpuku (images) https://tinyurl.com/rqmkwmy (report) https://creativeindustriesclusters.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Clusters-Booklet-Story-So-Far-FINAL-web.pdf https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZY6eQbPLGU&feature=youtu.be https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42mItwjPW8I&feature=youtu.be https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jgEYcVlpmY
Start Year 2018
 
Description Taunt 
Organisation Taunt
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Future Screens NI clearly identified a strong R&D challenge with an evergrowing need for real time rendering which is hampered by three factors; Cost, Time and Quality. The expertise fo the Future Screens NI team was employed towards addressing the three main factors that are currently holding this form of rendering back. Alec Parkin was the Future Screens NI Co-Investigator for this piece and was able to lend his vast knowledge of this particular factor of the animation industry having worked for major players in this market. The first problem presented by this project with Taunt LTD was how can a real time rendering workflow be used to improve the effeciency of a small animation studio, such as Taunt LTD. It goes without saying that rendering takes up a significant amount of time and resources for these small animation studios and as such being able to render out their work in real-time would be extremely beneficial not only because it allows for agile development of projects but also because it removes the need for the animators to wait very long periods of time before being able to see their work as intended. It has been shown to be the case that the initial barrier to entry for exploring the use of real time rendering is the prohibitive cost as most of the industry based softwares that are used for rendering are CPU based renderers rather than GPU based, this therefore hinders the ability of smaller teams to be able to use real-time rendering due to infastructure problems. The final aspect to the R&D challenge was to test the technical limitations of real-time rendering, this was to discover if the quality of the animations produced in this way by GPU rendering and if they were better than those produced by rendering them out in a CPU. A detailed assessment was then undertaken to identify the drawbacks of using a GPU for the use in this type of animation rendering. Overall this research was primarily undertaken to figure out if it is indeed possible to create a real time rendering hub in Belfast which could then do the rendering for these small animation studios on their behalf, therefore removing the need for these smaller studios to buy very expensive equipment in order to keep up with industry demand. Real-time rendering is currently being adapted in larger studios for major productions such as Blade Runner, The Jungle Book and Ready Player One. It was possible for Future Screens NI and TAunt LTD to reach out to Epic (creators of the unreal engine for games production) to open up a collaborative relationship with them for the project, in the hope that they will include the pilot amongst their real-time showcases. This will granted an introduction to new customer segments, such as the game cinematic industry and previsualisation for feature film. Beyond the games industry, it allows other similar sized studios to access the film and VFX industry, which up until now, due to the complex nature of the projects and the tight turnaround of the deliveries has been increasingly difficult for smaller studios to make a name in.
Collaborator Contribution Taunt LTD is a creative production studio, founded by Tom Getty and Fiona McLaughlin. They are a purposefully small but friendly bunch, producing everything from commercials to their own original short form content. They create work across Animation, both 2D and 3D, VFX, Games and interactive. Ennui is a real-time rendered pilot, created to stand alongside existing non real-time films, visually, technically and narratively. During the development process of this project, they expected to find that the introduction of a Real-Time rendering pipeline in the studio would be able to help with a number of existing bottlenecks. By regaining the time that would have previously been lost to rendering, project turnover are reduced, thus opening up opportunities for more work. In addition to this, the client offering will have a higher quality as a photo-realistic style is more feasible within the same time-frame. This will to lead to growth within the animation industry in Northern Ireland industry as a whole and increasing the demand for a skilled workforce in this area. The shift into Real-Time rendering is a growing technical solution that is well under way in larger creative cities such as London and Dublin, and for good reason. It is to be expected that the solutions obtained through this process will be reflected in other companies in the local Northern Ireland industry, allowing the sector to keep up with the bleeding edge of technological progress in animation and film. The current off the shelf solutions that exist are; rendering projects locally using our in house PCs, using online render farms or investing in an in-house renderfarm. These solutions work to some extent but have quite a number of drawbacks. Using local PCs results in studio resources being out of service for the duration of the render time. With many shots taking at least 12 hours to render, often overnight, it's not possible to avoid this eating into work-time. Equally lacking in efficiency is the online render farm approach. This incurs a large cost per use, that offers only a short-term fix per project and does not invest in long-term sustainability or growth. Online render farms are also unreliable. The method relies heavily on internet speeds, as well as a queue based system on the render farm side. This is less than adequate as there is always a chance you will be down a long queue and especially in a time sensitive project. This can have a detrimental impact on the end result. Studios that have invested in an in-house CPU based render farm solution is something that also requires has a substantial upfront cost, requires a lot of space, needing it's own dedicated air conditioned room, and is a technology that has an increasing short lifespan as newer and better things are produced so rapidly. We expect to discover that while the ideal approach would be to setup in-house GPU based render facilities, this will not always be possible for certain studios. This could be due to the training required for the staff, or potentially large initial costs if a company has already invested in a CPU based approach.
Impact Work is having a significant impact on the animation and rendering industries in Northern Ireland.
Start Year 2019
 
Description AHRC award holders workshop/delegation 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact 8 Members were invited from each of the creative clusters by the AHRC to Belfast for workshops to develop support for the creative industries nationwide. During this time the attendees were also shown around the city to provide them with a sense of how strong the creative industries are in Northern Ireland and to see how they could be further developed here in order to make them the new heavy industries for the region.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Belfast Media Festival XR alley and Panel 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The Belfast Media Festival is a hub for engagement, education and empowerment and welcomes hundreds of people through its doors, increasing annually, including students, freelancers, Indies, broadcasters and commissioners.

At the Festival Future Screens NI coordinated a panel which discussed the uses and developments in creative XR experiences with an audience of around 150 in attendance on the day, the panel created a lot of discussion from the audience which was facilitated through through an audience Q&A

Future Screens also hosted Brenda and John Romero panel at the festival with a similar turnout to that of the creative XR panel which once again had a Q7A panel for the audience to interact with the Romeros and generated a lot of discussion on what future screens can do for the local creative economy

In addition to all of this Future Screens in asscociation with RainDance set up an XR alley which was designed to be a space at the festival for the attendees to play around with the various local XR companies and their poducts.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://belfastmediafestival.co.uk/
 
Description Future Screens NI - Twitter 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Social Media channels are extremely important for any public facing organisation in the modern day, as such Future Screens NI have put a big focus on making sure that we have high engagement on our Twitter. The average amount of impressions Future Screens gets in a 90 days period is 96,000, with around 3% of these engagements results in interactions with our posts in the form of link clicks, retweets and likes. As of 2020 we are now up by 63.3% on all twitter impressions and 12% on profile visits which cause lead generation and click through to our website. This was in part due raising our public profile but also because wer took particular care over the structure of our posts and how we engage with our community at a wider level. Finally as we gain a bigger public profile it has been shown that Future Screens Twitter is gaining an average of 60 new followers per month which are gained entirely through organic traction, this has proven to be great for our social media as these users tend to interact with us more on the platform.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019,2020
URL https://twitter.com/futurescreensni
 
Description Future Screens NI - Website 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The creation of a website for Future Screens NI was an essential task that would give Future Screens NI a strong presence online and acts as a digital resource to access our funding applications as well as a place to inform the users of development within the Creative Industries in Northern Ireland.

This website gained over 12,000 unique visitors since its creation and has generated a significant boost to the number of Expression of Interest forms being submitted to Future Screens NI resulting in over 15 funded projects from the open call funding. In addition to this it also created a large amount of applications for our other funding streams including the Future Fellowship.

Engagement on the site is continuing to grow month to month thanks to a UX overhaul on the site making it more easy to navigate for users and a full restructure and analysis of the SEO on the site which has created a vast improvement on the hits the site is getting, all of which will promote an even greater level of interest being generated on all aspects of our engagement
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019,2020
URL https://www.futurescreens.org/
 
Description Future Screens NI Creative Industries Partnership Launch 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Future Screens NI is a cross sector creative partnership, Future Screens NI - a collaboration between Ulster University, Queen's University and local industry partners - announced a £13m investment to secure the future of the creative industries in Northern Ireland on the 9th of September 2018.
The new Creative Industries R&D partnership has been established to accelerate growth through new product development, services and high value skills for jobs in a flourishing sector. With a multi-million pound investment from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and funding from industry, the £13 million Future Screens NI venture is the largest single investment in the creative industries in Northern Ireland.
This innovative partnership brings together Queen's, Ulster University and industrial partners, particularly NI Screen and RTÉ, who are at the forefront of the creative economy. The academic collaboration behind the venture is also behind significant project proposals for the Belfast Region City Deal.
Responding to industry needs, Future Screens NI will deliver expert technical skills, opportunity and growth across film and broadcast, animation, games and immersive technologies and industries. Through the partnership, Northern Ireland's creative companies will develop strategies to collaborate, grow productivity and maximise their global potential, delivering new jobs and a £400m increase in GVA to boost the local economy.
Addressing challenges and building on existing strengths in creative industries in the region, areas of focus will include narrative and storytelling in digital content, applications of VR/AR in health, tourism and engineering, development of a games nexus, expanding capacity for large scale film and TV production and enhancing the high level skills pipeline in 2D and 3D animation.
The project was launched at Ulster University's Belfast campus, a long-standing creative hub for the city and region and home of the University's founding school of design, today hosted a showcase featuring the market promise of virtual reality and immersive technologies, the flair of animation and the thriving games industry.
The Vice Chancellors of both Universities attended. Alongside University staff, undergraduate and postgraduate students, representatives of the local creative industries, alumni of both institutions and members of the public.
Professor Paddy Nixon, Vice-Chancellor of Ulster University, said: "Future Screens NI is a unique opportunity to bring together our creativity with the expertise of industry partners to create a step change in the growth of a thriving sector with huge potential for our economy. The partnership will transform innovation and job creation across a range of exciting disciplines; and with creative industries hubs in Belfast, Newry, Coleraine and Derry~Londonderry, the impact will be region wide.
"This welcome and unprecedented level of investment recognises how powerfully our two local universities underpin economic growth, matching our talents to high growth sectors."
Welcoming the announcement Professor Ian Greer, President and Vice-Chancellor of Queen's, said: "At Queen's University Belfast we are delighted to collaborate with our colleagues at Ulster University and our key creative industries partners, who are crucial to the creative economy in the region, on this timely project supported by the AHRC.
"The Future Screens NI project brings together a wide range of complementary disciplines at both institutions in areas which are both industry-facing and world-leading in terms of their research and impact. Future Screens NI will provide a unique opportunity to grow the creative sector in Northern Ireland, nurturing the development of our SMEs, enhancing our economic prosperity, and celebrating the creative talents of our region and our local people."
Professor Paddy Nixon, Vice-Chancellor of Ulster University, said: "Future Screens NI is a unique opportunity to bring together our creativity with the expertise of industry partners to create a step change in the growth of a thriving sector with huge potential for our economy. The partnership will transform innovation and job creation across a range of exciting disciplines; and with creative industries hubs in Belfast, Newry, Coleraine and Derry~Londonderry, the impact will be region wide.
"This welcome and unprecedented level of investment recognises how powerfully our two local universities underpin economic growth, matching our talents to high growth sectors."
Professor Andrew Thompson, Executive Chair of the Arts and Humanities Research Council, commented: "Combining world-class arts and humanities researchers with our globally renowned creative industries will underpin growth in this vibrant and rapidly expanding sector within the UK economy.
"These pioneering partnerships between industry and universities are providing a huge vote of confidence for a sector that is vital to the future prosperity of the UK."
Future Screens NI will place Northern Ireland's creative industries in front of international markets and work with government and other agencies to create sustained growth.

The collaboration is one of nine research and development partnerships in the AHRC Creative Industries Cluster Programme, part of the Government's Industrial Strategy, bringing together dynamic creative industries with world-leading university research talent.

This event raised awareness of the Future Screens NI cluster and gained significant media pick. The event also assisted the project to develop the much needed infrastructure which is core to the projects current success. The event stimulated engagement in our future activities as is emphasised through our current engagement with 100 local SMEs and more than 20 industrial partners.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://daro.qub.ac.uk/Future-Screens-NI
 
Description Future Screens NI Host Northern Ireland Assembly STEM APG at Ormeau Baths Innovation Hub 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Future Screens NI hosted the STEM APG at Ormeau Baths Innovation Hub on the 10th of February 2020. The purpose of the event was to emphasise the important role that the Creative Industries play within Science Technology Engineering and Maths. STEM is used as short hand to represent science, technology, engineering and maths. The term "STEAM" has been devised and used to represent STEM plus the arts - humanities, language arts, dance, drama, music, visual arts, design and new media. Understanding science and mathematics knowledge and practices, as well as technological and engineering practices, has become a priority for educational programs across the world (Kelley & Knowles, 2016) . The policy framework within the UK promotes science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) integration both in and out of schools (STEM Learning, 2018) . Within the Northern Ireland Context the Policy Framework is laid out within Success Through STEM (Department for the Economy, 2011) which was developed in response to the STEM Review in 2009 (Department and Education and Department for Employment and Learning, (2009) . It is noted in the STEM Strategy, that better linkages with local companies, particularly SMEs and micro businesses, will facilitate a more coordinated approach to articulating local demand, improving sector attractiveness, highlighting available opportunities, continuous professional development and careers advice and guidance. Engaging with these companies is the single biggest challenge in taking the STEM Strategy forward (Department for the Economy 2011) . It is Future Screen's NI's position that the challenges facing the STEM community reconcile with the STEAM community. Future Screens NI has developed the much needed infrastructure through which to engage Universities, Industry, SMEs and microbusinesses in the implementation of actions required within the STEM Strategy to address challenges associated with the growth the economy through capacity development.
The STEM APG exists to bring together Members of the Northern Ireland Assembly and others with an interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in Northern Ireland with the aim of raising awareness among MLAs of important developments in STEM, both technological and educational and how policy issues impact upon these areas. The APG hold focussed meetings, with debates opened by guest speakers who are active in the fields of interest. Future Screens NI joined the APG to ensure that the voice of the creative industries was heard in the context of technological and educational matters. The integration of STEM into STEAM is an approach to preparing a quality STEAM workforce and driving forward the change required in order to develop a strong technology-based society built upon the premise of integrating science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics in education. STEAM places an emphasis on arts (fine arts, language arts, liberal arts, and physical arts, alongside developments within the creative industries at the interface between creativity and technology) as emphasis of both the need to, and benefits of integration. It has been influenced by the social discourse on education for creativity and the growing implementation of new and emerging technologies within the creative industries .
STEAM also provides an opportunity to address challenges associated with engaging with STEM subjects through the effective engagement of integration with the arts, creativity and creative technologies . The overall intention is drive forward innovation through the integration of activities as part of the transition towards a post-disciplinary world.
Future Screens NI hosted the STEM APG in the 10th of February 2020. The meeting was attended by 20 representatives of the STEM community and 20 representatives of the Creative Industries. The average attendance at regular APG meeting is 12. The Director and Co-Director provided a presentation to the group regarding Future Screens NI and the level of investment in the local Creative Industries. The presentation emphasised the following points:
Future Screens NI has located a Creative Industries Innovation Hub within Ormeau Baths Innovation Hub. In the context of Northern Ireland, the creative industries are more than just another key economic sector, generating, according to DCMS figures, £1.01 billion in gross added value of the NI economy, and employing 2.9% of the entire NI workforce. For a region emerging from a period of profound conflict, and social and cultural division and dysfunction, the creative industries sector has continued to offer an alternative and successful paradigm, a new model for cultural expression, personal growth, and economic attainment. Ormeau Baths provides a perfectly appointed space through which to develop and build the Future Screens NI Creative Cluster based upon these objectives.
The cluster of organisations involved in Future Screens NI may be defined as:
(a) audiovisual-led, complemented by the strength of the digital sector and the impact of technology in other more traditional sectors, eg. in tourism, heritage, textiles and crafts;
(b) operating across NI as a region, driven by the Belfast travel-to-work-area (add ref to NESTA) but with a region-wide remit linking, in particular, to the North West of the province;
c) a spatially defined multi-industry cluster that is distinctive within the UK, shaped by the complexity of cultural space in the aftermath of 20th-century conflict, a plurality of commercial and cultural relationships including across the border with the Republic of Ireland, the role of economic development bodies such as Invest NI and Catalyst Inc., and the significant investment of the HEIs and FE colleges in the creative industries;
d) comprising emerging animation, games and immersive technologies industries, which although small by international standards, is one of the fastest growing sectors of the NI economy. The overarching aim of Future Screens NI is to develop a new understanding of the role the creative industries can play in advancing the NI economy both in terms of financial growth and the creation of new employment opportunities. It will do this by researching new technologies and opportunities, developing appropriate educational and training models, placing NI creative businesses in front of international markets, and working with government and other key agencies to ensure sustained growth.
Future Screens NI have developed a creative cluster comprising 20 Lead industry partners including: RTÉ, NI Screen, BBC, BCC, Digital Catapult, Invest NI, Innovate UK, Tourism NI, Retinize, Humain, The Lyric Theatre, and 100 SMEs at the forefront of new immersive and emerging technologies including Alt Animation, Italic Pig Ltd, Taunt Ltd, Sentireal, Sixteen South, Incisiv, PreCog, NEON and JadeBlok alongside significant global partners including the World Building Institute, Experimental Design, Disney, Warner Media, Industrial Light and Magic, HBO and The Romeros.
• 25 live R&D projects in gaming, med-tech, immersion, animation, mental health and wellbeing, and pain relief which are at the forefront of R&I within new and emerging technologies
• Future Screens NI and Ormeau Baths have hosted over 20 R&D lead events attended by more than 5,000 creative industry representatives and academics
• Established the regular Future Tuesdays Series which takes place on the second Tuesday of every month and is attended by an average of 60 representative
• 22 members of academic staff who are leaders in their field working collaboratively with the industry attended by more than 4,000 Creative industries reps and showcasing 30 local R&D projects
• 4 PhD students undertaking Future Focused research in Cinematics, Design Thinking and Leadership.
• Built a global partnership involving the World Building Institute, Experimental Design, Disney, Warner Media, Industrial Light and Magic, HBO and The Romeros.
• Developed the Pixel Mill which is an R&D led Gaming and Innovation Hub which is home to 18 businesses and provides accommodation, mentoring, expertise and leadership development. Including building an R&D led network.
• Created 79 new R&D led jobs within the creative sector in Year 1.
• Developed a bespoke R&D led Leadership programme to 100 local creative industry businesses which has resulted in the development of new business models and created 10 new R&D led jobs
• Developed the Hearios has the potential to stimulate listening skills at pre-school age
• The Lead2Grow programme which has been developed to generate new leadership models commenced in March 2019 with an initial Lead2Grow Programme which was attended by 211 participants. The programme will go live in October 2019 with 30 registered participants.
• Future Screens NI is the strongest project within the entire UK Industrial Strategy Programme. This was announced by Professor Andrew Chitty, Challenge Director - Creative Industries Clusters and Audience of the Future Programme at the AHRC Beyond Conference 2019.

Future Screens NI at Forefront of the Industrial Strategy Programme
• Future Screens NU have established the Pixel Mill, a unique R&D led Gaming Incubation Hub home to 18 businesses.
• Future Screens NI have transformed the local creative sector by providing infrastructure, creating a strong ecosystem, supporting industry to advance along the R&D funding pipeline and to access prestigious funding and mentoring opportunities from Innovate UK and Industrial Light and Magic.
• Future Screens NI and Eagle Labs hosted the NI Assembly STEM All-Party Group in order to ensure that the local STEM ecosystem and Political Structures understand the important role of the Creative Industries in the generation and application of new and emerging technologies.
• Enhancement and expansion of R&D capacity, knowledge and skills of CI businesses (micro and SMEs) and their owner/managers. The embedding of new knowledge and core technical/business enterprise skills will bring an in-depth understanding of the commercial reality of doing business in CI in a way that will foster collaboration and growth resulting in improved productivity and efficiency at an individual firm level and, in turn across sub-sectors.
• Commercialisation and exploitation of technical/expert knowledge leading to spin out companies, as well as the creation of new processes, products and services.
• Development of the international commercial capabilities of CI business owners to aid the sector to attract R&D investment from global business.
• Increased wealth generation and economic prosperity, evident in the creation and growth of companies and jobs, and the enhancement of business revenue and innovative capacity in high performing CI sub-sectors in NI.
• Establishment of specialised physical Creative Innovation Hubs in Belfast
• Development of innovative hardware and software solutions for application in creative contexts.
• Increased productivity of individual high performing (or potential high growth) CI firms.
• Increased number of ideas driven through to successful product development and commercialisation.
• New frameworks of leadership development for the CI sector to facilitate collaboration between micro-businesses via HE, local authorities and enterprise agencies to ensure training, advice and mentoring that is fit for purpose.
• Connection of pockets of excellence across the region harnessing the opportunities afforded through the cluster.
• Placing an emphasis upon the quality and excellence of local talent within the creativity industries in the fields of animation, gaming, gaming for good, med tech, artificial intelligence and gaming.

Local Industry Leader Professor Greg Maguire presented to the group as live example of STEAM in action through his work on facial rigging and body rigging. Greg Maguire is the CEO and Co-Founder of HUMAIN. The HUMAIN team have created digital humans, fantasy creatures and digital doubles for many of the top entertainment and technology companies around the world.

https://www.humain.co.uk/#home-1

Professor Greg Maguire is actively involved in promoting a sustainable all-Ireland animation industry, through his work with Skillset, Digital Northern Ireland 2020, Matrix, Northern Ireland Screen, Invest NI, Irish Film and Television Academy and the Visual Effects Society (USA). In 2010, he formed Northern Ireland's largest animation cluster, Toody Threedy for students, researchers and industry which has enabled students to develop their practice with both local and US-based companies. In partnership with NI Screen and Skillset, Professor Maguire has developed a series of flexible learning programmes for industry which run concurrently with University taught content, ensuring content delivered is current and fit for purpose.Greg served as R&D Supervisor, Character Supervisor and Creature Supervisor at two Lucasfilm Divisions. At Lucasfilm Animation since it's formation in 2003 as a global digital animation studio and at Industrial Light & Magic on the Academy Award nominated, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Terminator Salvation and Avatar.Prior to his role at Lucasfilm, Greg was Technical Animation Supervisor on Walt Disney Feature Animation's first computer animated feature, Dinosaur. At Disney, he was responsible for creating and maintaining Dinosaur's eighty diverse creatures.

Greg provided a presentation to group which demonstrated his work in the realistic portrayal of the human face. The realistic portrayal of human face is one of the most challenging aspects of animation. As realism within computer generated lighting models increases through the use of algorithms and mathematical principles derived from real world lighting, an artist with an understanding and knowledge of lighting principles can easily generate a photographic still life. The complexity required to generate motion through animation on organic surfaces particularly the human face to express believable emotion to entertain a sophisticated audience must be able to attain the same realism. A high-level interface that can mask the complex systems required to achieve facial realism enables the animator to achieve the most appropriate performance for a character. Greg's work on facial rigging commenced during his role as Research and Development Supervisor on the Emmy Award-winning: The Clone Wars which provided an opportunity to research facial rigging within the context of the high-end episodic television (Maguire, 2010) .

According to Maguire (2010) the three main issues to be addressed in creating a facial animation system are the form of the head, its articulation and the controls presented to the animator. The form of the head must a) represent the character and b) be modeled in an appropriate way to enable articulation, i.e. the topology of the edge and vertex arrangement should naturally Llow along the areas of deformation to avoid unsightly folds giving away the polygonal nature of the object.

Although the face is primarily driven by a series of muscles, it is the outward appearance and deformations of the skin from it's neutral position towards an extreme that are interpreted as expressions. In Animating Facial Expressions (Platt and Badler, 1981), describes how to construct expressions using muscle-based facial model. Their work used the Facial Action Coding System (FACS, Ekman, Friesen, 1978) to determine the most appropriate articulations of the human face. In Stop Staring (Osipa, Sybex, 2003), Jason Osipa's describes a method of moving objects within a scene that presents a familiar interface to an animator enabling them to quickly grasp their function and editing of their timing curves.

Professor Maguire has established developed a hybrid facial rigging system which combines various facial animation techniques including joint-driven animation and facial blendshapes. Which includes techniques in cross parameterization, remeshing, interpolation, and global and local shape. This approach has generated better rigging tools to create better facial rigs with more believeability that will gain greater connection with audiences. Greg also demoed his work live to the attendees.
Participants also

The main outcomes of the engagement were:

• A greater recognition of the range of technological expertise and outcomes within the creative industries
• Stronger relationships between STEM agencies and Future Screens NI
• A commitment to greater integration between the sectors

https://vimeo.com/372602129 (Video)
https://tinyurl.com/vydpuku (images)
https://tinyurl.com/rqmkwmy (report)
https://creativeindustriesclusters.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Clusters-Booklet-Story-So-Far-FINAL-web.pdf
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZY6eQbPLGU&feature=youtu.be
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42mItwjPW8I&feature=youtu.be
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jgEYcVlpmY
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL http://aims.niassembly.gov.uk/mlas/apgdetails.aspx?&cid=546
 
Description Future Screens NI Open Call Launch, Friday 5th of April 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact 110 companies representing every screen sector in NI filled the main meeting room at the Ormeau Baths, Belfast. As one senior figure from a key development body pointed out it was an astonishing turnout for 8:30 on a wet Belfast morning. The purpose of the event was to launch the funding calls for the AHRC funded Creative Clusters programme. The cluster in NI (one of nine across the UK) brings together Ulster, QUB and local industrial partners, and funding is available through this partnership to promote R&D in the screens industries, specifically games, animation, immersive technologies and film and broadcast. The cluster will also support these industries with capacity building in leadership and financial procedures while gathering key data which can be used to promote regional (and national) policy development in the area. he funding model created by the Future Screens NI Management Team and approved by the Steering Board, evolved from discussions with the industrial partners and local creative businesses. These discussions illustrated that there was a need for access to funding on a rolling basis, often small sums, but sums which could prove crucial to a company. Hence the initial approach for funding to Future Screens NI will be through an expression of interest form, a one page document which captures the key information about any proposed R&D. Future Screens NI undertakes to reply to these forms within two weeks indicating whether a company should proceed with a full application or whether more clarity is needed.
Future Screens NI will also issue Challenge calls, possibly larger amounts aimed at R&D which might advance the sector as a whole and based on trends emanating from relevant research. Prof Michael Alcorn outlined the process for application and this prompted a number of useful questions, and it was an opportunity to underline the fact that these processes may have to be adapted as they roll out and that feedback from the companies involved is central to this ongoing process.
There was significant interest also in the support schemes related to the funding, whether for fellowships whereby companies can link up with a researcher in either of the universities to develop an experimental prototype (this can be researcher into business or business employee into the university) or the writing and production design workshops which will be offered on a rolling basis.
Friday morning also saw the launch of the Future Screens NI web presence at futurescreens.organd all the relevant forms can be downloaded from the site which also has details of all the researchers attached to the cluster. It is perhaps worth mentioning that other researchers with expertise relevant to an R&D project can of course be used.
The morning finished, as all early morning events should, with breakfast, and the opportunity to speak more informally about the possibilities the Future Screens NI cluster offers. A sincere thank you to all who attended and the energy, enthusiasm and positivity present on Friday morning was an indication that this is an exciting time to be involved in the creative industries in this region.
The event created the collaborative network required for the creative cluster to be successful
• Established the mechanism for the Open Call
• Established the infrastructure for the Creative Cluster
• Encouraged more than 50 submitted EOIs to the Open Call. The establishment of 25 live R&D projects in gaming, med-tech, immersion, animation, mental health and wellbeing, and pain relief which are at the forefront of R&I within new and emerging technologies
• Together Ulster University and NI Screen have invested £1.9mn. Ulster University and NI Screen provide a unique funding stream in which £100,000 of the finance goes to the industry partner to address their R&D led challenge. This investment has generated 79 jobs.
• Working together in close partnership NI Screen have ensured that Future Screens NI is the strongest project within the entire UK Industrial Strategy Programme. This was announced by Professor Andrew Chitty, Challenge Director - Creative Industries Clusters and Audience of the Future Programme at the AHRC Beyond Conference 2019. The building of infrastructure through the awards launch has positioned Future Screens NI at Forefront of the Industrial Strategy Programme
• Future Screens NI at Forefront of the Industrial Strategy Programme
• The event formed the basis of developing the infrastructure required to develop the Future Tuesdays Series. This is a monthly seminar series which is about knowledge transfer and community building within the cluster.
• A joint investment of £365,000 in the local Creative Industries. £87,500 from Future Screens Ni and £277,500 from the Arts Council NI
• 7 large scale transformative projects across art, theatre, audience development, craft making, mixed and alternative reality and VR film making which combines the very best of talent within the creative industries, the artist community, community sector with local academic and research experts.
• 19 smaller scale projects across art, immersive technology, festivals, music technology and craft making
• Closer collaborations between the creative industries, university, the artist community and the community sector
• Increased visibility of Future Screens NI and the Digital Catapult https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ugR0XBSTyUGd75J8hrLirZppnPaHIQEk/view?usp=sharing
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.futurescreens.org/news/2019/4/12/future-screens-ni-funding-call-launch
 
Description Future Screens NI Stall At Science and Stormont 2020 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact The Creative Industries have been recognised as an important sector of the economy. The industry is dependent upon continuous evolution and innovation. The local creative industries have the potential for social and economic transformation (Lorenzen & Sapsed, 2015) . The importance of the creative industries is underscored by their role in 21st century developed economies (Nathan et al., 2015) . Thus the creative industries provide important insights into the global economy, science and technological change and processes of innovation and change. Locally the contribution to science by the creative industries is undervalued and under appreciated. Innovation in the creative industries has been described as "those creative efforts that strike the market as unusually distinctive, satisfying, and/or productive in opening new ground" (Caves, 2000, p.202) . Creativity has been defined as a process of generating something new by combining elements that already exist (Boden, 1990 ). Creativity is centred upon the capability and willingness to engage in the experimental. It is therefore built upon science endeavour. It is essential that the importance of the creative industries in driving forward science, research and innovation is fully understood and exploited during the transition to post-disciplinarity. Innovation and technological change is driven by the internal dynamics of creative industries and trends in the wider economy.
Future Screens NI held a public engagement stall at Science and Stormont in order to raise awareness of the project and emphasise the important role of the creative industries in developing new, emerging and immersive technologies. The purpose of Science and Stormont is to foster close relations with policymakers and key stakeholders, Science and Stormont is organised by the Royal Society of Chemistry, on behalf of, and in cooperation with, the Northern Ireland science and engineering community. Future Screens NI engaged with the event in order to emphasise the important role that the Creative Industries play within Science The overall intention is drive forward innovation through the integration of activities as part of the transition towards a post-disciplinary world.
• A greater recognition of the range of technological expertise and outcomes within the creative industries
• Stronger relationships between STEM agencies and Future Screens NI
• A commitment to greater integration between the sectors
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019,2020
 
Description Future Screens NI talk at Portadown College (Creative Careers Talk and Workshop) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Future Screens NI took part in a talk and workshop for the creative careers talk at Portadown College in which we engaged students on the topic of picking a career in the creative industries in a bid to raise awareness that they are a viable means of gaining employment for young people who wish to stay within the region. Approximately 100 students were in attendance for the talks which were presented by Professor Paul Moore and Lucy Baxter. Following this Lucy took a workshop on film making, which is her field of expertise, where she engaged students that were interested in pursuing a career in the creative industries.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Future Tuesday Events Series 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Future Tuesdays is a monthly events series hosted and run by Future Screens NI. At each of these events we will be focussing on a particular aspect of the industries we work with, inviting speakers to tell us about their experiences within the industry, their projects and how they think the industry will change for the better.

For our launch event we will be exploring Futures in Animation and Immersive Technology. The first event featured Alec Parkin and Dr Declan Keeney from Ulster University, and industry lead Kevin Beimers from Italic Pig, Northern Ireland's Game Studio of the Year, this included a VR demo of Italic Pig's game "The Infinite Hotel"

The second in our Future Tuesdays events series covered "Augmented Futures" and will feature a talk and demonstations from Alan Hook and Retinize.

Alan Hook is has worked as an artist, designer and maker in emerging technologies, immersion and worldbuilding for 15 years. He is currently working on a range of immersive projects, from Cinematic VR to more experimental work like Equine Eyes, a mixed reality headset that helps you 'see like a horse'. Alan is a Lecturer in Interactive Media, and Associate Head of School in Communication and Media at Ulster University and Co-Investigator at Future Screens NI

Retinize is a multi-award-winning immersive media studio, creating VR and AR experiences for clients like National Geographic, BBC, Seagate, BMW, National Museums NI etc.
Their mission is to create new and incredible immersive experiences that push the boundaries of what the viewers/users are typically expecting from similarly designed content and what the medium (VR/AR) is currently capable of. The overall goal for Retinize is to harness this newly expanding medium by using a full spectrum of available technologies to get the absolute best out of the content. To do this they use state of the art 360 video, 3D stereoscopic vision and spatial sound to truly immerse the user in breathtaking content. By doing this they believe that they will be able to get more people to fully embrace a new form of story telling that is able to instantly transport a user to an entirely new world.

For our 3rd event in the series Future Screens NI focussed upon Leaders in Innovation Scarlet George and Incisiv, which took a new tack by changing to format to an "In conversation with" interview style which was to stimulate debate and thinking about how we enter the creative industries

Scarlet George is a consultant whose key work focuses on ethical tech, gender and artificial intelligence. Scarlet has experience conducting user research interviews within Agile projects and has synthesised user research on a number of projects into usable, evidence-based case studies for effective cross-cutting analysis. Scarlet has worked on a number of projects including advising governments on procuring digital services that best suit their needs and working with UK local authorities on a Discovery into a data ethics framework. She presented at UNESCO's 2019 Mobile Learning Week in Paris and UNESCO's invitation only 2019 International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Education in Beijing.
https://tinyurl.com/uh4hbvw

INCISIV will be providing a demonstration of their ground-breaking VR sports technology. They are pioneering the development of technologies that unlock the secrets of decision-making. Their innovative platform uses powerful in-game virtual reality (VR) to precisely control what players see, and even hear, and using body-based sensors accurately measure their responses. Their scientifically validated algorithms analyse these responses and quantify their ability to make great decisions. Their expertise lies in translating deep scientific knowledge into ground-breaking techniques that measure a player's decision-making ability (AQ), identify weaknesses and ultimately help them make better decisions, so their team can win more games.

The fourth event in the series was designed to celebrate International Women's Day, the topic for this event was "Equal and Better Futures" with the double hitting line up of Women in Tech Leaders: Coral Movaselli from Girls in Tech and Award Winning Tech Trailblazer Deepa Mann-Kler CEO of Neon.

Coral is a self-defined techy problem solver specialising in equal and sustainable futures through empowerment, equality and sustainable technology. Best known for transformational transport technology and the application of AI to address climate change. Girls in Tech aims to accelerate the growth of women in tech and start ups. Coral will provide inspirational insights into how to take the lead in tech.

Deepa Mann-Kler is industry trailblazer, an expert in equality and diversity, an award winning visual artist; author; and CEO of Neon a health technology company. Working at the very nexus of Universities, Industry, and both the public third sector she is a visiting Professor In Immersive Futures at Ulster University and serves as a non-executive director across the UK. Deepa is a thought leader and TedX speaker who has driven forward developments at the intersection of creativity, technology, innovation, diversity, ethics, bias, culture, data, health and wellbeing through compelling storytelling. As an artist she has a strong focus on public art neon installations, notably Lumiere Durham 2019; London 2016 and 2013 in Derry/Londonderry UK City of Culture. Deepa authored the first report on race discrimination in Northern Ireland titled "Out Of The Shadows". Deepa will be drawing upon her vast experience in practice to show us how it is possible to change the world.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019,2020
URL https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/future-screens-ni-27750337045
 
Description Glenn Patterson - Storytelling seminars 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Storytelling seminars for Future Screens were conducted by Glenn Patterson in conjuncton with his R&D challenge.

Spring / Summer 2019; delivered six seminars for screen industry executives to over 100 professionals working in development to explain to researchers from the Seamus Heaney Centre the challenges they face with storytelling within each of their sectors.

These seminars were designed to explore the current challenges and find the future opportunities for storytelling in the Northern Ireland screen industry.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Innovate UK family meetings 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Future Screens NI have been to a number of Innovate Uk family meetings including hosting 2 of them in 2020, these meeting have provided Future Screens NI with a very valuable contacts in industry and business which we have been able to engage in meaningful discussions around what we can do for business as well as informing indsutry of trends in the market and technical expertise and advice
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019,2020
 
Description Launch of SEED fund with Arts Council 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Future Screens NI and the Arts Council NI have collaborated to introduce the first ever Creative Industries SEED fund. The fund was established from a Departmental Underspend which was identified during the political crisis and prior to the NI Assembly and Executive becoming functional again. The initial amount of funding secured was £240,000, to which Future Screens NI contributed a further £50,000. The Minister then contributed a further £37,500 to the fund and Future Screens NI contributed a further £37,500. This increased the total value of the fund to £365,000. Consisting of a £277,500 investment from the Arts Council Northern Ireland into the Creative Industries and an investment of £87,500 from Future Screens NI.

Future Screens NI co-hosted the launch of the creative SEED fund for local artists to get funding for their creative projects. The launch detailed the fund itself, and how to apply. Following the presentation there was a networking lunch for attendees to talk to member fo Future Screens and the Arts council about their ideas and their applications.

This event resulted in a large amount of interest in the fund and as such we recieved over 25 applications for the fund of which 7 were deemed to be succesfull

The collaborative call has resulted in:

• A joint investment of £365,000 in the local Creative Industries. £87,500 from Future Screens Ni and £277,500 from the Arts Council NI
• 7 large scale transformative projects across art, theatre, audience development, craft making, mixed and alternative reality and VR film making which combines the very best of talent within the creative industries, the artist community, community sector with local academic and research experts.
• 19 smaller scale projects across art, immersive technology, festivals, music technology and craft making
• Closer collaborations between the creative industries, university, the artist community and the community sector
• Increased visibility of Future Screens NI and the Digital Catapult
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Lead2Grow - Leadership Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Lead2Grow ran leadership workshops for local businesses after identifying a gap in the market for leadership programmes in addition to gaps in the leadership model for the creative industries at large.

3 workshops were run across 2 locations including Colraine and Derry with approximately 60 in attendance for each of the workshops that were run, those that were in attendance we highly engaged with the subject matter and reported that the leadership workshops improved their understanding of team management and leadership skills
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019,2020
 
Description Output Festival Belfast 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Output Belfast is Ireland's largest music industry conference. The event will include panel discussions, music sessions, workshops and speed networking as well as keynote speeches from award-winning musicians and managers of globally recognized talent.

Future Screens NI hosted panels at output in addition to having several team members be part of different panel discussions over the course of the event, this event really helped raise awareness for Future Screens in the regional music industry and served as key outreach as we recieved some expressions of interest for funding off the back of it
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL http://www.outputbelfast.com/
 
Description Protecting Our Digital Future? Launch of Digital Education in Primary Schools Baseline Report 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact This event was set up to improve the engagement between the creative industries, policy makers and school representatives in an effort to raise awareness of the need to further increase the IT literacy skills for both educators and students. Over 80 people were in attendance and as a result of this the expert panel has been brought in multiple times to further advise on how changes can be made appropriately to the education sector in order to fully realise the points made in the baseline report.

Research by Ulster University has shown that Primary Schools teachers have reported low levels of confidence when using computers and digital devices. The report "Digital Education in Primary Schools" authored by Professor Linda Clarke shows that just 57% of Teachers participating in the study reported that they felt fairly confident when using computers and digital devices. A further 10% reporting that they felt threatened by the thought of using a digital device. The report is to be launched by the NI Commissioner for Children and Young People, Koulla Yiasouma on Thursday the 16th of January at the Ormeau Baths Innovation Hub at an event hosted by both Future Screens NI and Northern Ireland Screen, organisations which are at the cutting edge of rapid advances in digital technology.

The recommendations within the report point towards the need for greater investment in, and a more strategic approach to Digital Education. Northern Ireland is the only region within the UK without a Digital Strategy. The last long-term development plan and ICT framework for ICT policy was set out by the government over two decades ago, namely: the 'Strategy for Education Technology in Northern Ireland'. Speaking in advance of the launch of the report Professor Linda Clarke, Research Director-Education at Ulster University said:

"The Digital Education in Primary Schools Baseline report shows a decline in teachers confidence when using computers and digital devices. It is essential that this is reversed and that Digital Education is properly resourced and prioritised. The New Decade, New Approach document and the establishment of New Northern Ireland Executive has generated an as yet unmet opportunity to prioritise Digital Education, Digital Skills and the use of New and Emerging Technologies within Schools. Therefore I am calling on the New Northern Ireland Executive to commit to addressing current deficits in digital education by investing in digital skills and to work together to produce a Digital Strategy which ensures that digital literacy has the same level of priority as numeracy and literacy. We have gathered key stakeholders together to commence the process of joint working and planning in order to kick start a more coordinated approach to Digital Education and Digital Skills"

Speaking in advance of the launch, the NI Commissioner for Children and Young People, Koulla Yiasouma said:

"Today's generation of children and young people is the first to have truly grown up in the digital world. As adults we have a responsibility to ensure that they are protected from harm in this space and that they are fully equipped to harness its many opportunities."

"This report reflects many of the areas that must be addressed within the education system including supporting our teachers to educate and support our children as well as having a curriculum that is fit for the 21st century."

Speaking in advance of the launch, Sara Long, CEO of the Education Authority said:

"EA has an ambitious vision to inspire, support and challenge all our children and young people to be the best that they can be. We are challenging ourselves to lead by example in the use of technology and digital to deliver excellent education support services that enable better outcomes for children. I welcome the "Digital in Education in Primary Schools Report" as a valuable resource to further inform our planning in this area."
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5b7e99a9da02bc507c9c4831/t/5e2083df50880c2dddcdf5c5/157918923...