Innovative new school on creative team awarded funding to develop ideas for Festival UK* 2022

The School of Digital Arts (SODA) has been shortlisted to take part in a national festival celebrating the best in UK creativity and innovation.

SODA forms part of a team that includes some of the Manchester’s key cultural institutions.

Together, they make up one of the 30 creative teams chosen to take part in the Festival UK* 2022 R&D Project, awarded up to £100,000 to develop ideas for the event.

Festival UK* 2022 is a major UK-wide festival of creativity and innovation, backed by £120m of government investment, which will commission up to 10 major public engagement projects designed to reach millions, bring people together and showcase the UK’s creativity globally.

SODA is partnered with significant regional creative institutions, businesses and practitioners in their creative team.

Professor Toby Heys, Head of SODA, said: “SODA are delighted to announce their inclusion in the R&D phase of Festival UK 2022, working in collaboration with Manchester International Festival, Epic Games, the Science and Industry Museum, the Creative Computing Institute, and with practitioners including Es Devlin and Boy Blue.

“Our joint project was one of 30 selected across the UK to compete for further funding, which would allow us to produce a highly ambitious event with considerable national and international impact.

“Engaging in live projects with industry for the benefit of our students will be central to SODA’s strategy and this R&D period will strengthen our developing partnerships in Manchester and across the UK.”

Festival UK* 2022 will take place throughout 2022 and each project will bring new opportunities for creative people in sectors that have been significantly impacted by COVID-19. A specific focus is being placed on emerging talent and under-represented voices.

The 30 creative teams selected for the Festival UK* 2022 R&D Project were chosen following an open call. A rigorous selection process considered 299 submissions, involving almost 3,000 organisations, freelancers and other creatives representing the five STEAM sectors.

Over the next few months each team is being supported to develop its big idea, through a specially designed programme that includes presentations, workshops with the BBC Research & Development team, breakout spaces and opportunities to hear from high profile speakers representing STEAM. The 30 teams will pitch their proposals before a panel in February 2021, with ten set to be taken forward as part of the UK-wide Festival.

Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden MP, said: “These 30 teams show our world-class British creativity at its very best – risk-taking, groundbreaking and diverse. They’ve gone through fierce competition to get here and highlight exactly what’s possible when organisations from every part of the UK work together. I cannot wait to see their daring ideas come to life.”

7 December 2020