Three creative West Country firms developing ground-breaking technology

Three businesses have exhibited prototypes of “ground-breaking” technology as part of a £ 6.8m project to develop Bristol and Bath’s creative economy.

Bristol + Bath Creative R + D is a five-year government-funded program run by the cities’ four universities and cultural organization Watershed, which offers businesses, creatives, artists opportunities to research and collaborate on innovative new products.

The Amplified Publishing event held at Bath Spa University, attended by an in-person and virtual audience, featured discussions from industry leaders on future models of content creation.

The panels discussed how creative ventures can reach new audiences with technology and discover new ways to generate income, as well as ethical and inclusive practices in technology and the creative challenges of building communities.

The discussions were followed by an experiential event at Bristol music and arts venue, Lost Horizon, where their prototype technology captured a live performance alongside a livestream of its digital twin, which users could join virtually using a VR headset.

Kate Pullinger, director of the Center for Cultural and Creative Industries at Bath Spa University, said it was “great” to see the government investing in the two cities as “the future of tech innovation in the UK”.

Ms Pullinger said: “With publishing remaining the largest employer within the creative industries in Bristol and Bath, we are passionate about finding new and innovative ways to publish across all platforms. We were delighted to host what has been a culmination of a year of research and prototyping by our incredibly talented team. ”

Paul Jones, senior manager of British Business Bank’s UK network team, said: “I’m always pleased to meet creative entrepreneurs and this event didn’t disappoint.

“All three presented their prototype with energy and in an understandable way, with great definition of the problem and demonstration of their exciting solution. The future is secure where programs such as these produce such good fledgling businesses. ”

Here we take a closer look at the three businesses that showcased their tech at the event.

Stormjar



StormJar’s creative producer James Wheale showcasing the start-up’s Nightmare Auction platform at an event at Bath Spa University.

The Bath-based studio creates immersive, multimedia horror-inspired experiences including digital and theatrical content. It has devised a platform dubbed ‘The Nightmare Auction’.

The start-up is building a community of users based around their scary dreams, with their ideas then turned into game demos, short films and digital experiences. Participants can then trade their nightmares with others using non-fungible tokens (NFTs), a form of digital blockchain currency.

James Wheale and Sophie Shaw, StormJar’s creative directors, previously ran immersive ‘zombie apocalypse’ inspired events in Bristol and are looking at potential venues in Bath to host events for their latest venture.

Network N

The games media group has created Follower.TV, which is designed to host all of a creator’s contents across multiple social media platforms, such as Twitter, YouTube and Instagram all in one singular, chronological timeline.

The Bath-based organization, which employs around 120 people, has said its new venture will mean users will no longer be dependent on algorithms, and has claimed it is a “better way” for creators to reach audiences, find new fans and monetise their content.

Co-founded in 2012 by James Binns, a former journalist, editor and director at fellow Bath media group Future, the company operates as an editorial publisher, advertising network and creative agency.

Lost Horizon



One of the digital venue's from Lost Horizon's metaverse.
One of the digital venue’s from Lost Horizon’s metaverse.

Founded by the creative team behind the Shangri-La area of ​​the Glastonbury festival site, Lost Horizon has developed a 3D immersive social VR and gaming environment, as a digital twin of its physical venue in Bristol.

The group’s metaverse includes six different venues, and the establishment is seeking to become one of the world’s first fully hybrid live music and creative spaces capable of replicating performances in VR in real time.

The concept was previously launched as a VR festival in 2020, after the pandemic forced the postponement of live music events across the country.

The two-day event attracted a global audience of 4.36 million people and featured virtual versions of Shangri-La’s real life stages at Glastonbury, with sets from DJs including Carl Cox and Fatboy Slim.

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