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Creative Fuse North East awards £250k to creative collaborators from the region

14 December 2017 @TeesUniNews

 

Digital art therapy for people living with dementia; metal sculptures which will help regulate building temperatures; and the use of virtual reality technology as a catalyst for dance are among 31 innovative projects funded through a £250k scheme by Creative Fuse North East.

Teesside University academics will be working with Southpaw Dance Company to fuse dance theatre with virtual reality technology.
Teesside University academics will be working with Southpaw Dance Company to fuse dance theatre with virtual reality technology.

Digital art therapy for people living with dementia; metal sculptures which will help regulate building temperatures; and the use of virtual reality technology as a catalyst for dance are among 31 innovative projects funded through a £250k scheme by Creative Fuse North East.

In the Tees Valley, projects approved include the Middlesbrough Settlement, a collaborative project between Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (mima), Thirteen Group and community with a vision to create settlement houses that are designed with residents and provide community skills development.

Teesside University academics are also working on eleven of the projects. The Innovation Pilot and Innovation Development Awards offered grants of up to £5,000 and £25,000 respectively to SMEs, freelancers and creative and cultural organisations from across the Creative, Digital and IT (CDIT) sectors who teamed up with academics from the North East’s five universities to propose ground-breaking new projects.

The funded proposals are extremely varied, but what they each have in common is the creative ‘fusion’ of arts and design skills with technology expertise. Newcastle-based Southpaw Dance Company will be working with researchers from Teesside and Sunderland Universities and digital SMEs to fuse dance theatre with virtual reality technology to approach social challenges from a range of different perspectives.

Robby Graham, Artistic Director of Southpaw Dance Company said: 'We’re delighted to be chosen as one of the Creative Fuse Innovation Pilots. We pride ourselves on creating captivating experiences for dancers, community casts and audiences, and the chance to experiment with immersive technologies to enhance our capabilities is very exciting.' In another pilot, Middlesbrough app developer SockMonkey Studios will also be working with University academics to develop a mobile app which will make it easier for patients who are undergoing bariatric surgery to understand complex information about their treatment.

Samuel Murray, a research associate who manages the innovation pilots at Teesside University, said: 'We’re delighted to have received so many successful pilots in the Tees Valley.

'There are some really exciting schemes across a variety of different businesses and we’re looking forward to seeing the results.

'By giving funding to SMEs to explore new concepts and processes it reduces their risk and allows space for new creative ideas to flourish.'

Professor Eric Cross, Principal Investigator for Creative Fuse, based at Newcastle University, said: 'We have been very impressed with the ideas that the region has brought to this open call. We hope that these collaborations generate new ways to bring traditional arts and culture into the digital world and demonstrate how creativity can spill over beyond the CDIT sector and stimulate innovation elsewhere, including the health, agriculture, and construction sectors. These awarded projects signify the start of an incredibly exciting time for Creative Fuse and the North East.'

The successful project teams will be invited to a celebration event on 17th January to get to know each other and further strengthen the collaborative spirit in the North East CDIT sector.

Creative Fuse North East is a unique partnership between Newcastle, Northumbria, Durham, Sunderland and Teesside Universities and is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the European Regional Development Fund, and Arts Council England. The project offers a variety of business innovation support opportunities, insights into the regional creative economy, and brings different working disciplines into closer collaboration through their monthly CAKE (Collaboration and Knowledge Exchange) networking events.


In the News

Digital Business
TFM, 14/12/2017; Tees Business, 19/12/2017; B Daily, 20/12/2017; Tees Business, 02/01/2018; The Journal, 04/01/2018
Tees Valley Major Ben Houchen visits Fusion Hive set up by Teesside University and talks about companies set up digital businesses in Teesside.


How is your university helping the local community?
Edquarter (web), 29/12/2017; UniversityBusiness.co.uk, 29/12/2017
The Creative Fuse North East partnership, made up of Teesside, Newcastle, Northumbria, Durham and Sunderland universities, is providing SMEs and freelancers with grants and support .


Scheme to boost growth
Northern Echo, 14/12/2107; Business Durham 19/12/2017
Services offered through Creative Fuse Tees Valley, include one-to-one mentoring and consultancy, themed workshops, graduate placements and access to Teesside University's creative facilities.


Support launched for creative businesses in Tees Valley
D Baily, 15/12/2017; North East Chamber of Commerce, 15/12/2017; Tees Business, 15/12/2017; Northumbria University web, 16/12/2017
Unique partnership between the region's five universities to explore how creative, digital and IT firms can have a sustainable future in the region.