£350,000 grant to help showcase British art and history through VR/AR

Funding announced for leading teams driving creation of virtual, augmented and mixed reality content in the UK’s arts and culture sector
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Digital Catapult, the UK’s leading advanced digital technology innovation centre, and Arts Council England have today (July 26) announce the five projects successful in achieving further funding from Creative XR, a programme dedicated to supporting the development of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) products and their application within the creative industries.

The five projects will receive a total of £350,000 in funding, alongside match funding and support from a range of creative technology and cultural organisations. The funding provided by the programme is supporting the development of the UK’s VR industry, which is expected to grow by 76 per cent to reach £801m by 2021, making it the largest and fastest-growing VR industry of any country in EMEA.

The successful projects all use immersive technologies, combined with a range of traditional storytelling techniques such as documentary, poetry and theatre to provide audiences with unprecedented cultural experiences.

Over 1,000 teams registered their interest in CreativeXR when the programme launched last October, with 250 submitting proposals for the Open Call. This pool was narrowed to a final group of 20 invited to showcase their projects to partners including Google, BBC and Sky. The programme has been developed by Digital Catapult and Arts Council England with support from Innovate UK, and in association with Immerse UK.

The funded projects are:

  • Fatherland by Limbik, Norwich & Portsmouth: An interactive theatre experience using real-time motion capture and VR technology that brings to life the journey of a son and father coming to terms with dementia and disembodiment in a modern world. Completed in partnership with University of Portsmouth and The National Theatre
  • Immersive Histories by All Seeing Eye Ltd, Stroud: An immersive VR experience allowing an audience to physically step into history and experience the famous ‘Dambusters’ mission from on board Guy Gibson’s Lancaster. Completed with support from Other Set and the RAF Museum
  • Municipal Dreams (working title) by VR CITY LTD, London: An immersive journey into the complicated history of the notorious Aylesbury Estate, using stereoscopic 360 video, photogrammetry and 3D modelling. Completed with support from Royal Holloway University, Creation Trust and IDFA
  • Traitor by Pilot Theatre, York: A two-player interactive high stakes thriller, combining VR with live action, completed with support from Pilot Theatre
  • When Something Happens by Boom Clap Play, Belfast: An epic journey through the history of the cosmos – from the big bang to modern life – written and narrated by poet Boston Williams. Completed with support from Northern Ireland Screen and Northern Ireland Science Festival


Following a first round which saw 20 teams develop prototypes, the latest round of investment will enable the five teams to further develop their projects, making them publicly available and taking the CreativeXR programme and the selected teams to the next level.

CreativeXR has allowed content creators to focus on R&D and develop risker projects aimed at the arts and culture space. Designed to raise artistic and technical ambition, the programme has enabled the development of new skills, tools and business opportunities. Teams have been given workshops and marketplace events with industry leaders as well as access to Digital Catapult Immersive Labs in London, Brighton, North East Tees Valley and Belfast.

“Applicants to CreativeXR presented us with an incredible level of creativity and innovation, narrowing these down to a final five was not easy,” saidJeremy Silver, CEO, Digital Catapult. “The value of taking these projects to full production will be both in surfacing new creative approaches and ways of working, but also in stimulating commissioners and giving confidence to investors in this new medium, where the UK has such world leading strengths. Digital Catapult and Arts Council England are working together to help develop this new sector for the UK creative industries.”

Francis Runacres, executive director of enterprise and innovation, Arts Council England, said: “At the Arts Council, we’re thrilled to see the cross-sector partnership between ourselves and Digital Catapult come to fruition through five final projects. Each of the five organisations are developing cutting edge, immersive content, and are illustrating what the UK can contribute to this growing global market. In time, we look forward to audiences enjoying the immersive experiences that they are creating; connecting with art, history and culture in ground-breaking new ways.”

More information on CreativeXR can be found at creativexr.co.uk.

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