Six-figure investment in virtual reality as part of Coventry 2021

Creative companies in Coventry are invited to put themselves forward to work on an augmented and virtual reality project as part of Coventry City of Culture.

Creative companies in Coventry and the wider region have until the end of August to put themselves forward for an opportunity to use virtual augmented and reality to mark Coventry’s year as City of Culture.

Coventry City of Culture Trust is partnering with StoryFutures Academy, an industry body for creative content professionals, to bring six local creative companies together to explore innovative new approaches to improving health and wellbeing in Coventry.

The project is called Positive Realities, and will be exploring how recreational and educational experiences on virtual and augmented reality platforms could have a positive impact on young people’s resilience, reduce the potential of isolation, while encouraging young adults to live fuller and more active lifestyles. 

The shortlisted creative companies from the worlds of film, TV, gaming and digital media will attend a two-day workshop where they will discover augmented reality smartphone apps and virtual reality simulators.

Each company will then apply what they have learned to create ideas that would use immersive technology to maximise their story’s reach to young audiences across Coventry.

Three shortlisted ideas will then move on to a period of paid development before one is selected to move to a prototype stage.

The selected prototype will be backed with a budget of up to £120,000 – and support from Create Central, StoryFutures Academy and Coventry City of Culture Trust – to deliver the project to audiences in 2021.

Chenine Bhathena, creative director of Coventry City of Culture Trust, said: “With our City of Culture year we set ourselves the dual challenge of developing innovative technology projects to entertain, as well as to tackle difficult social issues and find new creative solutions. 

“Using immersive technologies we hope to tell Coventry’s stories in new ways, to create incredible audience experiences, and to support innovative cultural approaches to areas such as health and safety. 

“As a city with world testbed status, we’re proud to provide a national platform for cutting-edge research led by regional talent, and to be prioritising the needs and expectations of Coventry’s next generation.

Creative individuals and companies wanting to apply for one of the six spaces have until 31 August 2020 to do so.

Will Saunders from StoryFutures Academy, added: “We are making the virtual a reality for Coventry, City of Culture. And we hope StoryFutures Academy can add commercial value for creative companies across the West Midlands and social value for young audiences in Coventry in 2021.”

Interested creative professionals can apply by visiting storyfutures.com/news/coventry-announcement.