Digital Circle Update – 21st April

The phrase of the week is: stimulus package

The first one that should be on all your radar is this timely intervention from FutureScreens. FutureScreens is a £13M project run jointly by our two great universities to stimulate new thinking and new creativity in the regional creative industries. Following on from previous calls this year, they’ve come up with a new micro-call.

Rewriting the Narrative Open Call.

Applications are now welcome for awards of up to £5,000. Applications should be received by 5pm on Friday 8th of May 2020 to Nuala Toman Project Manager of Future Screens NI at n.toman@ulster.ac.uk. If you have any questions or queries about the call please contact Nuala directly at the email above.

Rewriting the Narrative is an open call to the Northern Ireland creative industries challenging them to explore where and how these changes are happening in the creative industries. More importantly the call is aimed at identifying how can we learn from the current situation, both positives and negatives, and use it to strengthen the industry once normality returns. The call focuses upon 5 core themes:

  • Creativity – How has social distancing and social-isolation changed how we create? What are the new types of content and/or experiences being inspired by how we are being made to live our lives at this moment in time?
  • Community – Community has always been driven by in person interactions but how can that be maintained when the in-person element is taken away. Even before Covid-19 members of our communities were feeling the impact of social isolation due their own personal circumstances. As a society we now understand that better than before. How can we most effectively replace that in-person interaction? How can that be used to help those who may feel social isolated in future?
  • Environment – With society and business evolving we are seeing a positive impact on the environment. Air pollution is reducing around the world, in our towns and cities nature is returning in some form. Where in the creative industries can this positive environmental impact be maintained within our practices?
  • Work/Life Balance – With more people working from home than ever before what does this mean for the traditional workday. Do video calls allow us to be more efficient and effective with our time? How can this be used to better the creative industries, both from how ideas are developed but how production is practically implemented?
  • Education – The current situation has shown that there is still a place, and need, for the classroom in education but also that education can take place outside of the classroom. How has Covid 19 changed how we approach learning and teaching both for adults and younger generations?

Rewriting the Narrative will fund up to 20 projects with a £5,000 grant each to carry research and development into the 5 themes outlined above. The call is open to individuals/freelancers and companies from Northern Ireland’s creative industries. What form the projects take is open to the applicants; a digital platform, a short film or animation, evidence based recommendations for change etc. anything that tackles the challenges we face today as a society to improve it for the better.

Applicants will be paired with an academic from Ulster University or Queen’s University Belfast who will provide appropriate research support.

The Future Fund

While this is only open to startups who have previously raised in excess of £250,000 and is also a CLN (Convertible Loan Note – which should be treated with some caution), it still represents a shot in the right direction for government support for startups. Sadly, it’s not going to do anything for early stage startups who are trying to raise their first funding, but that’s why you should come to RAISE anyway!

Terms are available here: GOV.UK