StoryFutures is a £6.4m project funded by AHRC’s ‘Creative Industries Clusters Programme’, unlocks university research for creative industries. StoryFutures give small and medium businesses (SMEs) access to cutting-edge research in narrative, technology, business and audience insight; driving innovative storytelling, exploiting new technologies in Virtual, Augmented, Mixed Reality and Artificial Intelligence. It is a highly interdisciplinary project spanning media arts, electronic engineering, computer science, history, geography, psychology, management and drama.
StoryFutures core objective tackles the challenge of creating compelling content for next-generation technologies. Since its launch in October 2018, StoryFutures has proved pioneering in two areas:
- Research-fuelled economic growth: StoryFutures has catalysed 40 new research and development (R&D) industry and academic collaborations, created 16 new products, unlocked a further £2.1m investment for creative industries’ R&D, built a network of over 100 companies, stimulated growth or support of 75 jobs and a 3.2% - 18.6% increase in SME turnover, and introduced over 20,000 audiences to new experiences.
- Open Innovation: StoryLab is a unique open innovation model that commissions and creates R&D prototypes in immersive storytelling by bringing together SMEs, academics and the world’s most recognisable names, including The National Gallery, Heathrow, Discovery and Nesta. StoryLab is thus a tripartite model for innovation: it develops and co-funds creative challenge briefs with large organisations for academics and SMEs to solve in a two-day open innovation workshop, concluding with a final prototype commission for one SME-academic collaborative team. StoryFutures then supports the prototype development sprint with research in storytelling, business modelling, value exploitation and audience insight.
Storyfutures Academy (funded by further £5.5 m) is the only National Centre of Excellence in Immersive Storytelling, offering creative training and financing creative development through Experimental Labs and Writers Room, and fostering and financing co-productions.