This week, MediaCity Immersive Technologies Innovation Hub launched DREAMLAB; a new space at HOST Salford to enable creative companies and freelancers to access equipment & Expertise, test & prototype new ideas and expand service offers and future R&D needs.

Immersive technologies are transforming the UKs creative industries, the country’s fastest-growing sector. MediaCity Immersive Technologies Innovation Hub aims to develop and guide the innovation community, to empower businesses in their pursuit of world-leading products and services.

The hub’s focus is around virtual and Augmented Reality Experiences to future-proof businesses and develop new audiences, virtual production techniques and processes to expand the creative potential of Film, VFX and TV and innovation in gaming and interactive technologies, shaping a range of sectors such as Esports.

The MediaCity Immersive Technologies Innovation Hub is funded by the Greater Manchester Innovation Accelerator programme, led by Innovate UK on behalf of UK Research and Innovation.

As part of the DREAMLABS launch event, Anthony Hatton Innovation Programme Director at the MediaCity Immersive Technologies Innovation Hub announced the first phase of funded R&D projects that will receive support through the innovation accelerator programme; Immersify Education, Feed AR, Corporation Pop, Xpllore and Salsa Sound. These projects will also be backed by the GM Business Board.

Two creative engagement programmes to help support GM’s creative sector and encourage collaborations with wider industries were also launched at the event. Both will link creatives to industry to support business growth and unlock greater potential for the sector.

FutureEverything Creative Engagement Programme

FutureEverything has announced a new creative engagement programme and digital arts commission for Greater Manchester and Salford to support GM-based creatives and digital arts practitioners through a programme of R&D and mentoring.

This unique artistic development programme set in the heart of MediaCity, will bring together Greater Manchester based digital artists and private sector organisations to encourage creative innovations and engagement.

In partnership with MediaCity Immersive Technologies Innovation Hub (MITIH), as part of the Greater Manchester Innovation Accelerator programme, and University of Salford, FutureEverything has been commissioned to curate and produce an exciting new creative engagement programme and series of digital arts commissions for Salford and Greater Manchester.

Designed to cultivate, rejuvenate and level-up the innovation ecosystem that suffered during the pandemic, the Cultural Accelerator programme aims to re-energise MediaCity’s role within the Salford Innovation Triangle and will explore the ways that creative innovation can be used to identify areas for MediaCity business growth, using artistic commissions as a tool to help companies explore new territories.

The programme will take place within the heart of MediaCity from June to November 2024, including a consultation process to engage MediaCity private sector digital organisations, and an artist residency format with creatives working within the context of digital arts practice to explore emerging technologies within creative industries such as games technology, virtual production and AI. The programme culminates in a public exhibition of projects created by the commissioned artists and a presentation event showcasing R&D research at MediaCity.

The Cultural Accelerator programme provides organisations an opportunity to gain new insights into creative approaches, and offers participating artists a space to connect with key players in the technology industry at MediaCity through a period of R&D, mentorship and support from FutureEverything.

Unlock the Future – 6 month accelerator

Unlock the Future is an industry-led, challenge-driven 6-month innovation accelerator, powered byOxford Innovation Space  and delivered in partnership with MediaCity Immersive Technologies Innovation Hub. The aim is to support GM SMEs with an immersive technology solution that has an application across the key economic sectors in GM (including sustainable advanced materials and manufacturing, health innovation and life sciences, digital and creative, net zero, built environment, retail, and education).

The programme will be delivered via a cohort approach, drawing in R&D expertise from Salford University, other MITIH and Oxford Innovation Space national partners and will amplify the innovation support for immersive tech pioneers in Greater Manchester.

Participating businesses will have access to industry primes and supply chain, be mentored by an innovation and immersive tech expert, be able to learn from likeminded pioneers in their cohort and access to the Hub’s community expertise, facilities and equipment.

Applications close on 28th June 2024 at 5pm with programme delivery starting on 5th July 2024.