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05 Apr 2016

York launches pioneering Digital Creativity Labs

The University of York will launch the Digital Creativity Labs (DC Labs) next week – a major £18 million initiative for innovative research in the convergent area of digital and creative technologies.

gamesBased at the University’s Ron Cooke Hub on Campus East, the DC Labs will be a world centre of excellence for research, harnessing the huge potential of digital games and interactive media for economic, social and cultural impact.

Involving three UK research councils, four universities, and over 80 collaborative partner organisations, the DC Labs will foster connections between researchers, industry, government, the third sector and the general public. Spoke sites will operate at the University of Falmouth, Goldsmiths - University of London and Cass Business School.

In collaboration with Creative England and other partners, the DC Labs will help organisations access the world-class research on offer at these and other UK universities to ensure that the UK capitalises on the business, cultural and lifestyle benefits of digital creativity.

Early projects include:

  • Scientists, social scientists, government and third sector employees working together to explore how games and interactive media can be used for social good
  • Museums, galleries and games publishers exploring how to improve engagement with digital archives and assets, maximising positive digital opportunities for creative culture
  • Broadcast companies and producers developing new ways of interacting with TV programmes and theatre performances
  • Local authorities exploring games and media to help them better reach citizens to improve understanding of policy changes
  • Games companies working to embed novel artificial intelligence and decision-making techniques in new games

The DC Labs launch will start at 2pm on 6 April with a keynote address by award-winning broadcaster, journalist and author Kate Russell, a regular on the BBC’s technology programme CLICK. Members of the DC Labs will then join speakers from UK Interactive Entertainment, Creative England, the BBC, and Revolution Games for a panel discussion and audience Q&A. The event will culminate in an interactive exhibition and networking drinks session, giving attendees the opportunity to understand the aims of the DC Labs and influence its plans.

Professor Peter Cowling, Director of the Digital Creativity Labs and the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Intelligent Games and Game Intelligence, said: “York is already a UNESCO City of Media Arts in recognition of leading position in with digital research, innovation and enterprise. The addition of the Digital Creativity Labs strengthens this yet further. We will be the first place to come to draw on research expertise across a range of disciplines, working with industry experts, and so find the information and forge the connections that will turn ideas into outcomes and challenges into solutions.”

Caroline Norbury, CEO of Creative England, the not-for-profit agency which supports England’s creative industries, added: “We are delighted to support and partner with the University of York on this exciting initiative. The DC Labs reflects Creative England’s own ambition to connect and grow existing and emerging creative businesses with wide-ranging research and development expertise, and we constantly strive to develop programmes which stimulate cross-innovation and creative spillovers between creative sectors and other industries. We look forward to helping some of best ideas become reality as a result of this partnership.”

Professor Feng Li, from Cass Business School, City University London, a key applicant who leads the business theme said: “Cass is a key partner in this multi-institution flagship initiative under the RCUK’s Digital Economy Programme. Working closely with colleagues from different disciplines and with our large network of business partners, we will be responsible for the business perspective in the Digital Creative Labs, developing new business models to bring out the economic and social impacts of our research in the Digital Creative Labs. We are ideally positioned to link up our research with business leaders, investors, and policy makers in London.”

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