First innovation cohort chosen following widespread interest from creative sector

An ambitious programme to drive innovation in the creative sector has awarded grants totalling £1m to 23 businesses in South Wales. 

Clwstwr, which is led by Cardiff University, in partnership with the University of South Wales and Cardiff Metropolitan University, is a five-year research and development programme that aims to nurture a thriving media production hub around the Welsh capital. Funded through the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy, with match funding from the Welsh Government, it made its first call for applicants earlier this year and following a highly competitive process, the first cohort has been chosen.

Film and television companies, technology businesses, creative organisations and freelancers are among the recipients who will work with academics to develop their new products, services and experiences.

The pilot projects include a news service for schools, remote editing facilities to grow post-production regionally and using technology to transform the ways that people make and experience dance. Participants will investigate new storytelling formats including interactive documentary, non-linear gaming and a hybrid between film, television, theatre and alternate reality gaming. The cohort will research and develop ideas including artificial intelligence in the newsroom, a hub for women’s football content and a virtual reality film studio.

Clwstwr Director Professor Justin Lewis said: “Our first Clwstwr cohort offers an exciting variety of projects and the quality of the applications we received is proof of the vibrant media sector here in South Wales. Not only will these chosen projects enhance the screen and news industries, they have the potential to improve other sectors such as education, healthcare and business.

“I am looking forward to working closely with the cohort as they develop their ideas into exciting products, service and experiences that will give them greater opportunities for growth and will in turn, help secure South Wales’s growing reputation as a centre of media production and innovation.”

Lord Elis-Thomas, Welsh Government Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism said: “The creative industries are worth nearly £1 billion to Wales annually and is one of the fastest growing sectors in the UK. Wales has enjoyed unprecedented success over recent years, with Welsh Government support helping attract and produce award winning TV dramas, films and a whole host besides, showcasing Wales to the world whilst supporting local jobs and boosting the economy.

“We are now at a crucial point where opportunities are converging and, with the right support over the coming years, the industry’s successes could become even more significant, and therefore the rewards for Wales even greater.

“We welcome this significant boost for investment in R&D in the Creative Industries and are pleased to be providing the match funding backing that helped secure the programme for Wales.”

Clwstwr brings together all major Welsh broadcasters including BBC Cymru Wales, S4C and ITV Wales with independent film and television production companies, Wales’s national companies and creative organisations, creative coworking spaces, tech startups, strategic agencies including Arts Council of Wales, local authorities including Cardiff Council and Welsh Government.

Visit www.clwstwr.org.uk to find out more about the first cohort.