SiDE to play major role in £4m Knowledge Exchange hub

AHRC and SiDE logos

The SiDE project and Newcastle University are to play a leading role in the formation of a new regional consortium aimed at boosting the UK’s digital and creative industries. Led by Lancaster University in partnership with Newcastle and the Royal College of Art, the £4million hub – dubbed ‘The Creative Exchange’ – aims to address the changing digital landscape to inform the development of new products and services. Leading the Newcastle University research is Professor Peter Wright, lead investigator on SiDE’s Human Centred Design Perspective. In addition SiDE investigators Professor Patrick Olivier and Professor Atau Tanaka will also play a key role in the development of the hub.

Professor Wright explained: “Digital technology is now central to the creative economy, from computer games to journalism. Through this award we will use the design and prototyping of new forms of digital technology as the vehicle for knowledge exchange between art and humanities researchers and the commercial sector through the UK. “This is a unique opportunity to bring together some of the leading organisations in the field and we are delighted to be a part of it.” Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the Lancaster hub is one of four Knowledge Exchange Hubs for the Creative Economy being launched across the UK. As well as Newcastle, Lancaster and RCA, ‘The Creative Exchange’ includes collaboration with the BBC, Microsoft, MediaCityUK, FutureEverything, Tate Liverpool, Opera North, Storey Creative Industries Centre, The Sharp Project, NESTA, Manchester Digital, Arts Council England and over 30 small and medium sized companies working in the sector.

Leader of The Creative Exchange and the Chair of the Hub Council is Professor Rachel Cooper, Chair of the Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts. ‘This hub is a unique opportunity to bring three of the UKs top design research labs and academics from across the arts and humanities together with organisations and business to address the changing digital landscape. This will result in the development of new products and services centred around citizen led content, driving regional and national economies. The UK’s Creative Economy – which includes everything from design and gaming to digital media, broadcasting, theatres and libraries – is, relative to GDP, probably the largest creative sector in the world. The Hub will respond to the ability of everyone to access the digital space and create their own content online by linking up businesses , organisations and researchers with members of the public in order to test out new ideas and develop new services and products.

The Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts said: “Interaction between businesses and universities is crucial for driving growth. It enables businesses and organisations to benefit from our world-class research base, gaining new knowledge and ideas. This major investment will not only enrich the creative industries but is also a vote of confidence in the excellent arts and humanities research at our higher education institutions.”

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