A Bournemouth University campaign has highlighted the work taking place locally in the digital and technology sectors.
The campaign featured research, learning and professional practice on everything from visual effects and immersive environments, to assistive and medical technology.
A launch event was held at Blue Zoo Animation Studios in London. The Studio is one of the largest animation studios in the UK, and was co-founded by four BU graduates, and has grown to over 200 staff members, including over 40 BU graduates.
Professor John Vinney, Vice-Chancellor at Bournemouth University, attended the launch event in London. He said, “Bournemouth University has long established strengths in the digital and technology sectors, from our visual effects work, to assistive and medical technology. Our BU2025 vision looks to build on these strengths to deliver a whole range of new applications in the future which can benefit society as a whole. This campaign features just a small snapshot of all of the excellent work we are doing at BU in these areas, and I am so proud of our achievements and those of our graduates to date, while looking forward to future research and innovations.”
Co-Founder of Blue Zoo Animation Studios and BU graduate, Tom Box, also visited Bournemouth University, along with a number of other visual effects studios, to inspire a future generation of young Dorset minds into the animation and visual effects industry.
Over 60 young adults from Twynham School, Farnham College, Weymouth College, Highbury College and St Edwards School in Poole attended the day for a workshop in games creation and to learn more about the visual effects and animation industries, which is growing every year in the UK.
Also involved in the campaign, and the event, was local visual effects company Outpost VFX. Based on Richmond Hill; the company works with media outlets like Netflix and HBO to produce visual effects for television shows and films, and worked on the film Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.
Leanne Loughran, Talent Manager at Outpost VFX said, “Many eminent artists, engineers and producers started their VFX lives at BU and have gone on to be multiple Oscar winners. Through giving young people access to good facilities, modern tech and expert lecturers who've worked around the world in visual effects, universities like BU are increasingly able to produce fantastic graduates. Just not enough of them!
“A crucial step is highlighting the benefits of a career in the creative sectors for young people much earlier in life. It's not the same as it used to be – parents shouldn't necessarily channel their children towards traditional jobs that are perceived as a route to success. Instead, creativity and artistry should be encouraged where present, as with the will to succeed the sky is the limit in the visual effects industry. Well-paid, exciting roles that can take you around the world are absolutely achievable if you have the drive.”
As well as visual effects, the campaign also highlighted BU’s increasing reputation with assistive technology and medical technology. One such academic, Professor Xiaosong Yang, alongside his colleagues and consultants from Royal Bournemouth Hospital and Poole Hospital, has created a virtual reality surgical tool to allow surgeons to practice colorectal operations virtually before performing on real patients. It is hoped such technologies will reduce errors in surgery and give better outcomes for patients.
Another research project highlighted during the campaign is that of Dr Paul Whittington. Dr Whittington is a Postgraduate Researcher in Assistive Technology at BU, and also has cerebral palsy. His work looks at how technology can help people, and give a better quality of life.
Dr Whittington said, “I have a personal motivation to improve the quality of life for others like myself with disabilities. Throughout my life I have used technologies and they have enabled me to achieve my ambitions and get to where I am now, so I want to transmit my knowledge to other people and help them to improve their lives."
The campaign also showed how BU is working to underpin education through technology – from the new buildings being placed on the Lansdowne and Talbot campuses, to the technology being added into lectures and teaching spaces to allow for students to learn and grow towards their future careers.
The campaign highlighted BU’s quality, impact and future vision in the digital and technological sectors, which is part of the university’s BU2025 strategy.
A series of podcasts has also been produced as a part of the campaign, highlighting the different work taking place at BU. These can be found on Spotify by searching ‘Bournemouth Uni’ or through SoundCloud.
For more information about the campaign, visit www.bournemouth.ac.uk/digitech-futures