York university supports arts sector hit by coronavirus

27th May 2020

York university supports arts sector hit by coronavirus

ARTS funding is being used to support digital and creative companies hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

The University of York is repurposing dedicated arts funding and sharing it between 17 companies which are determined to bring digital storytelling to life when it is needed the most. The £42,000 is part of the XR Stories project by the university, Screen Yorkshire and the British Film Institute which supports immersive and interactive technologies.


It has been used for purposes such as adapting to working from home and finding IT solutions, ensuring companies were able to continue working on projects.

Among the beneficiaries is York’s Pilot Theatre which has been working on an immersive theatre experience for secondary school-aged students with researchers at the university.

Academics say the importance of the creative and cultural sectors should not be overlooked as people find new ways to connect through technology during lockdown.

Prof Damian Murphy said: “These projects have never seemed more timely than now, as we adjust to restrictions on our lives and turn to digital and online means to connect and interact with our families, friends and the wider world.”

The university is also supporting the sector through the Screen Industries Growth Network which is researching challenges facing the industry, such as skills shortages, diversity and inclusion.

Prof Andrew Higson, from the Department of Theatre, Film and Interactive Media, said: “In recent years the screen industries of Yorkshire and the Humber have been buoyant, but the impact of the coronavirus threatens the progress we have made as many companies struggle to stay in business. SIGN aims to support these businesses in the region by researching what help they need to survive, and then working with them to help access support and recover.”

“As we move beyond the immediate effects of economic and social lockdown, SIGN will invest in skills, training and business support, and encourage diversity and inclusion across the board, so that businesses can emerge stronger and more resilient.”

SIGN involves eight other Yorkshire universities and key national and regional screen agencies. It’s part of an £6.4m project, with £4.9m from Research England and £1.5m from the University of York and partner universities.

For the full story please visit the York Press website.