Welcome to the first in a series of blog posts outlining the latest developments in the new Fantasy Futures project at TORCH. To find out more about the project, and ways to get involved, please read on.
Fantasy Futures is an exciting new venture to develop a co-creative model for collaboration between the Humanities and the tech sector by delivering research narratives using the latest immersive technologies, including the worldmaking opportunities offered by recent developments in augmented reality (AR).
The project launched at the beginning of the year with the addition of Project Manager Phil Dines to the core team, which is led by TORCH Director Professor Wes Williams (Principal Investigator) and Dr Victoria McGuinness (Head of Public Engagement), and Creative Industries Officer Tasha Patel.
The project emerged out of a desire to reimagine for the twenty-first century the Humanities Division’s centuries-long expertise in unearthing fascinating research narratives from the worlds of Ancient and Fantasy Literature. By synthesizing this research excellence with the UK’s world-leading gaming sector, the project is uniquely positioned to capitalize on the opportunities afforded by the latest cutting-edge advances in immersive storytelling.
Professor Wes Williams described the strategic significance of this innovative form of co-creative collaboration for the Humanities Division:
Story-telling is as old as humanity itself; new technologies offer us the chance to generate new forms of community, of being in the world.
Digital technologies are in this sense no different: they breathe new life into the cultural fragments we inherit from the past. But they can also help to transform our understanding of key concepts such as imitation and originality, agency and control.
Co-creative collaboration between academic researchers and artists, designers, and technicians is vital to this process.
Working together, we can generate future forms of story; in so doing, we re-imagine new forms of relation to each other and to our changing world.
The project has established a Working Group of researchers, creatives, and tech experts, who will steer the project through the development of the research narrative, tech prototype immersive experience, market testing, and public engagement phases.
Brian Mitchell, a motion capture specialist and former Head of Rebellion Film Studios, will help to develop the immersive experience and lead the team of developers who will bring the experience to life.
A key ambition for the project is to engage new, younger audiences who have been previously underserved by the University’s research, by tapping into their existing enthusiasm for and interest in gaming and fantasy worlds.
We are actively encouraging organizations that work with young people to come forward to take part in this exciting project, to help us test out the cutting-edge immersive experience as it is developed in order to help enhance the experience throughout the project’s duration.
If you work with young people and would be interested in finding out more about how to get involved, or simply have a general interest in or question about the project, please do get in touch.
If you are a researcher working in Fantasy Literature and/or immersive worlds and would like to find out more, or contribute to future blog posts on the latest developments in this space, please do email the Project Manager Phil Dines.