The publication of the Creative Industries Council Sector Vision in June outlined ambitious plans to support the industry and grow the economy. It included financial support for music venues, video games studios, London Fashion Week, the next generation of British music talent, advanced screen and performance technology and creative careers.
As part of this, Production Park is going to be home to one of four new research and development labs, dedicated to applying virtual production technologies to film, TV and live experiences.
These labs form the UKRI’s Convergent Screen Technologies and performance in Realtime (CoSTAR) programme, and will all bring together expertise from different consortiums. The consortium developing the lab at Production Park is led by the University of York, and will use and expand the facilities we have here, working closely with our XPLOR team, Screen Yorkshire and Vodafone, with support from local authorities Wakefield Council and North Yorkshire LEP.
The CoSTAR labs will form the largest virtual production research and development network in Europe, creating more joined-up opportunity for knowledge sharing and innovation – something that currently doesn’t exist for the live experience and entertainment sub-sector.
It’s hugely important that networks and creative clusters like this exist so that research can be applied in real, working environments. Why test something in theory when you can put it into practice?
This in turn acts as a catalyst for growth – if prototypes are successful and concepts are proved, then further funding from other private and public sources can be accessed. This pipeline results in more efficient and effective roll out of innovative products and projects, supercharging entire sectors.
It’s incredibly important that these clusters exist in different regions across the country too. To be genuinely successful and have real impact, they cannot be concentrated in one area. The benefit of regional clusters includes boost to local economies, decreasing of the north/south divide and high value job opportunities outside of major cities and the capital.
We’re immensely proud of the Production Park community and the impact we and our partners have, not just on the live experience and entertainment industry, but on the local area too. With the CoSTAR programme, the opportunities for collaboration, growth and innovation will only continue to develop.
To find out more about the impact of clusters, read the UKRI Arts and Humanities Research Council ‘Story So Far’ here.
Photos of Production Park by Stevie Campbell.