AI, digital twins and horror social experiences – Bath Spa Uni event explores the future of publishing

May 19, 2022

The future of publishing in a world where anyone with access to technology can do it was explored at a recent interactive event hosted by Bath Spa University and showcasing two innovative city-based firms.

Bringing together academics, creatives, investors and techies, the event explored themes ranging from how innovative technologies can reach new audiences to discovering new ways to generate income. 

It also showcased ground-breaking prototypes, including one using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to improve accessibility for communication. 

The sell-out event was hosted at The Studio, Bath Spa’s award-winning city centre home for enterprise and innovation, before continuing into the afternoon and evening at Bristol music, art and performance venue Lost Horizon, where attendees experienced the excitement of a digital twin through live music.

The event, which was on also streamed for virtual audiences, heard from a wide range of contributors drawn from Bath Spa University, the Bristol + Bath Creative R+D’s Amplified Publishing programme and three Bristol and Bath-based businesses.

These included three exclusive panel discussions at The Studio from industry leaders on future models of content creation such as new ways to generate income, ethical and inclusive practices in technology and the creative challenges of building communities. 

These were followed by an experiential event at Lost Horizon, where prototype technology captured the physical performance alongside a livestream of its digital twin, which users could join virtually using a VR headset.

Attendees then had the exclusive opportunity to explore the ‘experience room’, meet the prototype teams and interact with their projects, which included Bath-based immersive horror studio Stormjar, which is creating a first-of-its-kind horror social experience where monsters trade the nightmares of humankind.

Also demonstrating was Bath firm Network N, which helps creators reach fans, find audiences and make money from their content.

It has created Follower.TV, which empowers creators and consumers by giving easy access to multiple channels, leveraging clients and partners to ensure that users no longer depend on algorithms and see only what is important to them. 

Bath Spa University centre for cultural and creative industries director Kate Pullinger, who is also head of the Amplified Publishing pathfinder, 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.

Bristol + Bath Creative R+D is a £6.8m creative industries cluster project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and designed to develop Bristol and Bath’s thriving creative economy.

Prof Pullinger said the funding had been critical in enabling it to explore the future of publishing across games, books, online, VR/AR and audio.

“It’s great to see the government investing in Bath and Bristol as the future of tech innovation in the UK,” she added.

Photo credits. Top and bottom: Jon Aitken. Centre: Lost Horizon 


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