Creative Cluster

StoryFutures Creative Cluster creates and helps fund R&D projects with creative businesses in the 'Gateway Cluster region' immediately to London's west.

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StoryFutures Academy delivers cutting edge training in immersive technology and immersive storytelling for the traditional screen industries nationwide.

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StoryLab Commissions

StoryLab runs 3 times a year. It's an open innovation event which funds prototype productions in immersive and next generation storytelling, linking SMEs with university researchers and large scale organisations, like Heathrow, The National Gallery and BBC Studios.

There are currently no open calls for StoryLab. Click 'Express interest' to the right to keep in touch — we are getting ready to announce our next StoryLab call in December.

Check out the video below for a quick overview of our StoryLab process.

Winning SMEs are supported in the delivery of the commissioned work by having access to professional producers, academic story-consultants, our business modelling experts, and our world-class audience insight team. By utilising cognitive psychology, neuroscience and media analysis, we help establish the effectiveness of new content experiences.

Even if you’re not successful in our StoryLab process, SMEs that take part still have access to other opportunities to collaborate with us and our industry partners. This can take a variety of forms; including investment, business support or academic partnerships.

Check out our completed and in-progress StoryLab projects below.

The National Gallery Challenge

Veronese stills 10
Virtual Veronese live at The National Gallery ©

This Challenge is now complete.

Winning SME Focal Point VR, based in Guildford, have produced the first-of-its-kind prototype 'Virtual Veronese' in collaboration with StoryFutures and The National Gallery. Read the news article here.

Read on for the brief we first set SMEs in collaboration with The National Gallery.

"The National Gallery has in its collection a 16th Century painting that it would like its visitors to experience as they would if they saw it in its original home; a historic chapel in northern Italy. The aim is to create a scaleable pilot and temporary installation that will be a multi-sensory, immersive experience. It will draw on the original lighting conditions in the church, the soundscape and music that would have been a part of worship, as well as the architecture and frescoes that originally surrounded the painting. Virtual/Augmented/Mixed Reality and Immersive Audio are all potential opportunities but it’s the story, the experience and audiences that should drive the development of this pilot.

The production budget on offer for the pilot experience is £66k (including VAT). With access to digital assets and R&D staff time, the value of the challenge increases to £100k. The winning SME is being supported by considerable StoryFutures R&D resource spanning audience insight, business development, storytelling form and understanding of multi-sensory perception in immersive space."

The Heathrow Challenge

The Heathrow Challenge is now closed, winning SME Surround Vision are hard at working producing a new experience that tackles coffee cup recycling through object recognition and machine learning.

Check out our news article announcing state-of-the-art Virtual Reality production studio Surround Vision as winner of the challenge, or read on to gain insight into the StoryLab process:

"The Heathrow Challenge was an Open Call for SMEs in the Gateway Cluster (see the map) to win a commission funded by us and Heathrow to pilot a new experience for the sustainability team at Terminal 5. Heathrow wants to encourage visitors to Costa Coffee to recycle take-away cups into the right bins. And we want to make it fun.

The cash budget expectation is £60k (incl. VAT) and there will be top-up funding-in-kind on offer from our technical and R&D support teams.

Selected SMEs were invited to come along to 2 events as part of the commissioning process:

  • First, SMEs met the StoryFutures team and prepped ideas with our experts on story-form and audience behaviours, getting to grips with the Heathrow brief and the opportunity on offer.
  • Second, SMEs joined a 2-day workshop to rash around ideas and work with our academics and industry specialists who provide cutting edge research on technology, audience insight and testing, data workflows and delivery models. A panel from Heathrow and StoryFutures decides the winning SME.

This way of commissioning means that SMEs don't spend time and

resources in lengthy pitching preparation and get to have face-to-face time with high profile commissioners such as the National Gallery, Heathrow and BBC."

Get started

To get started with StoryLab Commissions fill out our short expression of interest form.

Express interest