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DMU wins funding to help plug skills gap in UK immersive sector

Students will learn the latest skills to work in the immersive arts sector thanks to new funding awarded to the Institute of Creative Technologies (IOCT).

De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) will be one of seven organisations to share in a £110,000 grant awarded by StoryFutures Academy, the National Centre for Immersive Storytelling.

Storyfutures academy
Immersive storytelling uses digital technologies to transform the ways in which audiences can experience plays, exhibitions, art and more.

But the skills to work in the sector – an understanding of augmented reality, virtual reality and more – are in short supply.

DMU’s grant will be used to develop transdisciplinary prototyping labs across Performance, Game Development, AI, Game Art, Media, Production, Film Making, Immersive Journalism, VFX, Music Technology and Audio Technology, equipping students with the skills to work collaboratively to develop immersive experiences.

Dr Sophy Smith, Director of DMU's IOCT, said: "I am absolutely thrilled that StoryFutures are supporting the IOCT’s work in immersive practice.  Transdisciplinary collaboration is central to the making of immersive work and this project gives us the opportunity to draw on the IOCT’s expertise in this area, to ensure that students across the university are developing the skills and knowledge needed within the immersive sector.   

"We already have excellent facilities for immersive practice across the university, including Motion Capture facilities and VR/XR labs. This project will enable us to make sure that as well as having access to such high-end facilities,  students across our undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral community will develop the necessary skills to work collaboratively with those from other disciplines.  It is within these transdisciplinary spaces that the most exciting innovations can take place and I’m really looking forward to seeing the amazing immersive work that our students will be making."

This is the second round of funding in StoryFutures’ Train the Trainer programme. The first saw seven university projects and upskilled more than 100 trainers across the country.
Train the Trainer will build a national pipeline of talent development in immersive storytelling, enabling more than 14 universities to run new or modified programmes that address sector skills needs.

The universities funded in this second round will address some of the sector’s emergent challenges, bringing the sciences together with the arts (STEAM) to help teach our brilliant creators of the future a set of essential crossover skills.

"The outcomes to date have exceeded all expectations,’ says StoryFutures Academy, Executive Producer, Amanda Murphy who runs the programme. "he success is down to how well these teams of educators from many different disciplines collaborated throughout, and were able to use insight they gained from working with industry collaborators and mentors to ensure the outputs were relevant for next generation storytellers.

“All project teams pushed into new territory, and over 300 students and academics from 12 different disciplines have already been involved. It’s been a truly interdisciplinary approach and the roll out means these numbers will only grow."

For anyone interested in studying immersive practice, or creative technologies more generally, at either Masters of PhD level, contact

Posted on Monday 1st March 2021

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