Research and Partnership Development call for the Next Generation of Immersive Experiences

In November 2016, the AHRC and the Creative, Digital & Design KTN successfully co-hosted three workshops. These were able to bring together the cultural and creative industries together with researchers, academics, businesses, institutions and trade associations. The aim of the workshops was to test the appetite for a challenge-led research programme for the creative economy, whilst generating ideas on challenges, and formulate a set of principles and design questions which would inform the development of the initiative/programme itself.

Immersive and interactive technologies were highlighted as a key challenge area in both the AHRC workshops and the ISCF engagement workshops. The AHRC are therefore launching this call on Immersive experiences in partnership with EPSRC. Both AHRC and EPSRC will be co-funding this call, contributing £940k each, and will also be exploring opportunities throughout the lifetime of this call to link up with ESRC and Innovate UK, and other UKRI funders.

Both the AHRC and EPSRC research communities are key to providing the research function for the UK's Creative Industries. As such the AHRC, working closely with the EPSRC and the RCUK Digital Economy (DE) Theme, is launching this call to develop a research programme to bring together organisations within the creative economy with researchers from both the arts and humanities communities and beyond to ensure that:

  • the UK's world leading Creative Industries and research sectors are in a position to understand, experiment with, and exploit immersive technologies to create new experiences;
  • the next generation of digital content and services can be conceptualised, produced and exploited within the UK Creative Economy.

This is not a technology-only research programme, nor one exploring interfaces but a programme to explore the new technology-enabled, multi-sensory, narrative, interpretative, and performance experiences that will drive future creative and commercial value. This will require interdisciplinary working between the Arts and Humanities and other disciplines from Psychology to Engineering, and inter-sector working between researchers, creative practitioners, and businesses.

This call will be focused on encouraging research proposals exploring immersive experiences in three areas where the UK has world leading creative assets and technology partners. These three areas have arts and humanities research at the core of developing experiences and practices. They also represent areas in which the benefits of research offer significant cultural and economic value for the UK:

  • Memory - how can new immersive experiences extend the access, interpretation and reach of memory-based institutions such as museum, galleries, archives and collections?
  • Place - what new experiences can be created by the combination of immersive technology and place based services?
  • Performance - what new creative practices are enabled by immersive technology, what new experiences can be offered to audiences and how can this transform or extend models of performance?

Further details on the context, aims and scope of the call, as well as further information on how to apply, can be found on the AHRC funding opportunities website. Additional content can be found on the AHRC Creative Economy Immersive Experiences website.