New Creative Industries strategy & funding announced

This week sees the Technology Strategy Board launch its three-year strategic programme to accelerate growth in the UK’s creative industries.

The Creative Industries Strategy (pdf) is an important milestone for the Technology Strategy Board as it outlines the focus of its investment in the sector up to 2016. The creative industries are a well-known success story in the UK, employing 1.4 million and worth more than 5% of GDP. As well as their direct economic value these industries play an important role in catalysing innovation across the wider economy, through new ideas, products, services and ways of working.

Key Themes
The new Creative Industries Strategy identifies three key themes as offering the main challenges and opportunities where the Technology Strategy Board can most provide support for the sector.

Convergence: emergence of new platforms and services, and the need to deliver content across a range of devices and environments

Transaction: disintermediation and fragmentation of markets, with new ways to capture value

Data: the opportunities provided by data find and retrieve content, and to analyses and understand audience and consumers

Cross-Cutting Themes include:
Alongside these key themes are four cross-cutting themes that represent the unique opportunities the creative industries have in working together and with other sectors.

Knowledge-sharing: the knowledge the sector brings to the wider economy

Cross-sector innovation: embedding innovation within other sectors

Design: applying creative skills and processes

Sustainability: stimulating creative applications of technology for sustainability in order to enhance UK competitiveness

A copy of the Creative Industries Strategy is available to download here.

funding_arrowA number of funding competitions will take place over the coming months, starting with a brand new fund for Cross-Platform Production in Digital Media which is now open for up to £15 million available for projects that stimulate innovation in the UK digital media sector!

This is part of a new, groundbreaking programme of work, with in excess of £25 million of investment will be pumped into the UK’s creative industries over the next two years, in order to encourage businesses to experiment and enable the UK to to retain its position as a global leader in digital technologies.

This competition will fund business-led R&D projects within these industries to develop new applications, tools, devices and software that will sustain creative and commercial success on a global stage. Successful applications to this competition will address the technical challenges of producing creative content across a range of media, devices and platforms.

Of the £15 million:

  • up to £1 will be made available for feasibility studies. Typically, feasibility study projects will range in size from £100k to £120k and last between six and 12 months.
  • up to £14 will be made available for collaborative R&D projects. Projects of two or more partners will attract up to 50% public funding of their eligible project costs (60% for SMEs). It is expected that collaborative R&D projects will range in size from £300k to £2m, though larger projects may also be considered. Projects should last between 12 and 24 months and must be business-led.

The deadline for registration for both is 6 November 2013, and the deadline for completed feasibility studies applications and collaborative R&D expressions of interest is noon on 13 November 2013. A briefing event for both strands will take place on 30 September 2013. This event will be filmed and turned into a webinar for applicants to refer to. For more information, go to the Technology Strategy Board website.


Cambridge Film Festival 2013

It’s that time of the year again and the Cambridge Film Festival is coming to get us! There’s a lot going on with 10 days of screenings in a number of venues around Cambridgeshire so let’s look at a few of the highlights.

The festival kicks off with the premiere of HAWKING on Thursday, the 19th of September. Professor Stephen Hawking himself will be there, along with directors Stephen Finnegan and Ben Bowie plus special guests for a Q&A. Other opening films include two more UK premieres – Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine and Michaela Kezele’s My Beautiful Country (part of the Eastern View strand).

But let’s not just look at the big flashy premieres because there are a lot of little jewels coming to the festival as well. This year’s microcinema explores the weirder side of British cinema with movies such as Antony Balch’s Horror Hospital and Benjamin Christensen’s Witchcraft through the Ages. Also, director John Pearse’s wll be attending the screening of his documentary The Moviemakers.

For fans of classic horror there’s Gothic on tour which gives us screening of legendary films like Bride of Frankenstein, The Exorcist and The Shining.

There are loads of options for fans of international cinema as well, with the new collaboration with Eye on Films bringing us four films from emerging international film talent, but also with the focus on Contemporary German Cinema, including The Strange Little Cat and Free Fall. There is also a retrospective of the work of cult director Roland Klick, who will also be present at the festival.

33 1/3 brings us a number of exciting music documentaries. There’s Bollywood: The Greatest Love Story Ever Told, I Am Divine and Stone Roses: Made of Stone, among others.

On Thursday, September 26th you can also attend free screenings of Best of Cambridge Student Shorts, showcasing films by Anglia Rusking University students.

The festival closes on the 29th with How I Live Now, with the presence of director Kevin McDonald (Last King of Scotland).

In conclusion, the festival can certainly appease any type of film lover, from the appreciator of gritty world cinema, to the science geek . There’s something in there for the cult fanatic, for the musician, for the peckish film buff in the mood for a short or for the parents who want to introduce their youngsters to cinema-going.

For more information visit the Cambridge Film Festival website.

Last Stand visit Cambridge Studios

Last Stand have barely had a month to recover from the Games Jam at Brains Eden 2013 before hot footing it back to Cambridge. As the runners up of the competition, the five students from Howest University in Belgium went on a two-day in-depth tour of no less than five major studios here in Cambridge.last stand geomerics

On Thursday we visited Geomerics and Sony Guerrilla Cambridge. The day started at Geomerics, a 22 person strong middleware studio that develop lighting technology used in loads of games. We saw their most recent demo, an absolutely stunning piece of art that showed off the achievements of the most recent technical developments in Enlighten (the leading real-time global illumination technology) and we also saw an Enlighten post-E3 trailer that includes footage from games like Battlefield 4, Dragon Age: Inquisition and The Bureau: XCOM Declassified.

At Sony Guerrilla Cambridge, Last Stand got a tour of the entire studio but, more importantly, were matched with their disciplines and chatted for more than an hour with individual artists, programmers and designers. They were able to show and discuss their portfolios, get personal career advice and gain invaluable insight into working in the games industry.

Thursday evening continued with more networking over drinks, where we were joined by two members of the Ninja Theory team. As well as a good opportunity for a beer, the students were offered yet another chance to show off their portfolios. More importantly, though, this was a good time to get to know each other better and share enthusiasm about games and popular culture in a broader sense.

last stand jagex 1last stand jagex 2

On Friday we started our day at the impressive Jagex studios, boasting the biggest team of game developers in Cambridge, currently over 500. Quirky and cool, Jagex showed us around all of their departments, from art to audio, and they let us take a peek at their most recent projects. It was amazing to see the range of titles coming out of cambridge, from the PS VIta exclusive Killzone: Mercenary to Runescape, the world’s most popular free-to-play online adventure game.

last stand frontier

Next on to the Frontier Development, a studio with a tradition of innovation, who are currently working on one of the most expected games of 2014: Elite: Dangerous. Here, the recent graduates got advice from senior programmers, artists and producers on how to move forward with their game, especially in the context of GamesCon.

last stand arm

We finished the day off at ARM, the world’s leading semiconductor intellectual property supplier, whose technology can be found in95% of smart phones and 80% of digital cameras, who also have a games development team. Here we were shown around their headquarters, from servers to gym, and we were shown some of their most recent demos (even got to play some in a cool gaming chair).

Overall, the two days provided a unique behind the scenes look at these major studios. Sure, we got down to the nitty gritty, got real advice and a proper inside look, but we also got a more personal, human feel of what these studios are really like, the sort of understanding that you only usually get by actually working there. The tours were extensive and the possibilities for networking seemed almost endless.

We expect the members of Last Stand to make waves in the games industry very very soon!

Why do they do it?

speaker-profileImagine, for one second, that people were rational. You might think you are but all research and experiments show that we aren’t. We are irrational, biased, easily-swayed and obsessed about small unimportant things.

What would the world look like? For a start, there would be no French automotive industry. Instead we’d all buy just a handful of cars that were well made and at the right price point (probably just VW or Audi). We’d all use roll on deodorant as they are not as wasteful as sprays. And marketing to people would be easy. You’d make your argument, you’d trust them to weigh up their decisions and then they would buy your products or services.

OK, now back to reality. Dr Nick Southgate, an expert on behavioural economics, said that it all comes down to one thing – thinking is one of the most demanding things we as humans can do. So, if the brain can find an easy way out, it will take it. If lots of people are doing something, it must be good. If 8 out of 10 cats prefer it, then so will ours.

Nudge theory has gained a lot of traction in recent years as marketers start to understand human behaviour and apply it to their situations and campaigns. They are beginning to understand how to nudge people along into buying stuff, but by understanding human behaviour we can actually get them to change their behaviour for the better (like stopping smoking, testing fire alarms and not taking drugs).

The frustrating reality of why people make decisions is really exciting for those of us in the creative and marketing space. It gives us the opportunity to really tap into what people are doing and then encourage them to do something mutually beneficial. After all, if people were all rational we’d be out of a job.

For me, above everything else in marketing, the area of human behaviour is THE most important thing we need to focus our attention on. Otherwise we’ll be just shouting into the void…

Last year, Stephen Donajgrodzki talked at the first Another Marketing Conference about how the government is using communication to have a positive impact on society. You can watch his presentation here ( Mark Earls also talked last year about herd behaviour and how we all simply follow the masses. This year we have Rory Sutherland from Ogilvy, who is a champion of behavioural economics, and Jon Dodd an expert in neuro-science who will talk about how we can deliver immersive experiences through better design. This year’s Another Marketing Conference takes place on June 25th at The Junction in Cambridge (

The author of this blog post, Neil Cooper, is the Host and Organiser of Another Marketing Conference which takes place on October 18th at Cripps Court in Cambridge. For more information, and to book your place, visit: The event is being supported by Creative Front.


AMC is an independent event organised by local creative/marketing people who think that dull, heavily sponsored conferences are a thing of the past. This event is only focused on delegate experience and inspiration.

The full agenda can be found at Through Creative Front you can register at a heavily discounted rate – just £99 instead of £299. Just use the promotional code ‘cr3ativefront’ when booking your place.

Showcasing talent and creating opportunities for graduates and employers

New talent, new skills and new ideas are just a few things that creative graduates areUntitled. brimming with.  Here at Creative Front, we are working with an EU initiative, VIVID, on a number of ways to support and showcase creative graduates in the region. We are offering access to brilliant graduates for local companies, as well as advice and guidance for young people to find work and internships or set up their own business.

If you are interested in meeting creative graduates, what better place than the Cambridge School of Art Degree Show, Amuse?   Run on 6 June from 6-9pm in the Ruskin Gallery at Anglia Ruskin University, companies can head to a dedicated area where we will do some match-making with exhibitors and their tutors directly. Our dedicated Employability Service can also offer practical help with your recruitment process such as arranging on campus interviews and selection days, or one to one appointments with tutors and potential candidates.

Cambridge School of Art is also working with The District, a creative agency to launch the first Frontroom Graduate Award! Winning this unique award will offer one lucky graduate his/her own show as part of the Frontroom’s exhibiton programme.

The degree show is a great place to spot new talent and we can also help you find an intern. With the support of VIVID, we can offer you 50% funding to place a graduate full-time in your company for up to 12 weeks.  If you are interested in this offer, all you have to do is submit an application form and the Internships team will be in touch if your business is successfully selected.

Supporting young creative graduates, is extremely important to us. Match-making like this works and everyone wins – students get to showcase their work, enter to win their own solo show and employers get to meet the best and brightest new talent and tap into a subsidy to secure new interns into their business!

eu_logo_webVIVID logo FC small

The launch of BE. Mobile

BE MobileAs always, Brains Eden is staying ahead of the curve this year by introducing BE. Mobile, a brand new element of the Games Jam which enables young developers to work with the latest technology and mobile devices!

The gaming industry has undergone big changes in recent years and tablets are now outselling laptops and consoles, while game applications are the best sellers in iOS and Android Mobile App stores.


Our premium sponsors ARM, leaders in this field, are giving teams a number of Android Cube U18, 7″ mobile tablets to experiment and learn skills to respond to this new, emerging, mobile market of gaming!

ARM technology inside these tablets includes a dual-core ARM9 CPU at 1.2 GHz and ARM Mali quad-core GPU.

BE. Mobile teams will automatically be entered into the main Games Jam awards as well as two additional award categories and be in for the chance to win:

  • Winners– each team member will win a Nexus 10
  • Runners Up –  each team member will win a Cube U18GT Elite

BE. Mobile is an amazing opportunity for our game jammers, if you are a team visiting Brains Eden in June 2013 and interested in BE. Mobile please email to register your interest and get your hands on a tablet!

More on ARM ARM designs the technology that is at the heart of advanced digital products, from wireless, networking and consumer entertainment solutions to imaging, automotive, security and storage devices. ARM’s comprehensive product offering includes microprocessors, graphics processors, video engines, enabling software, cell libraries, embedded memories, high-speed connectivity products, peripherals and development tools. Combined with comprehensive design services, training, support and maintenance, and the company’s broad Partner community, they provide a total system solution that offers a fast, reliable path to market for leading electronics companies.

Brightest Brains Come to Cambridge

Brains Eden LogoBig names of the games industry are coming to Cambridge at the end of June (June 28, 29, 30 & July 1) to take part in Brains Eden Gaming Festival 2013.

Cambridge is a hotbed for technological advancement and is host to a world-leading digital creative hub which has grown in support of historic local hardware initiatives. A good number of world-renowned games development companies and over a thousand games industry professionals are employed in Cambridge.

Conceived by Games Eden, Cambridge’s games development network and produced by Creative Front Cambridgeshire, this vibrant festival is fully supported and funded by industry leaders.

Here’s a quick run-through of the main events:

Brains Symposium (Friday 28 June)
17:00 – 20:00

Ian Livingstone CBE keynote address –  Life is a Game.BAFTA Question Time Panel: David Braben (Frontier Developments), Mark Gerhard (Jagex), Terry Cavanagh, Nizar Romdhane (ARM), Mark Green (Sony Guerrilla Cambridge), Chaired by Ian Livingstone.

Games Jam (Saturday 29 – Sunday 30 June)
8:00 – midnight

Featuring BE. MOBILE

Brains Eden Games Jam runs over the weekend with 150 students from across the UK and Europe coming together and competing in teams to build a new game from scratch. 30 new games will be produced and exhibited in the Ruskin Gallery on Monday 1July and a group of industry judges will award exclusive prizes to the best teams. 2013’s Games Jam is supported by Unity and facilitated by Jumped Up Games.

2013 sees the launch of BE. Mobile, working with our premium sponsors, ARM.
ARM design the technology that is at the heart of advanced digital products and they will be giving each team exclusive access to the latest mobile tablet devices on which to develop their games on.

Careers Clinic (Monday 1 July)
10:00 – 16:00

This element of the festival has grown each year and offers students and graduates a rare opportunity for to talk directly to games development studios and future employers.  Artists, Coders, Designers, Producers and Programmers from all the major developers in Cambridge will be on hand to lead 1-2-1 clinics.

Supported by ARM, Guerrilla Cambridge, Frontier Developments, Jagex and Geomerics

Games Artwork Exhibition
10.00 – 16.00

Held in the stunning Ruskin Gallery, this unique and inspiring exhibition showcases games artwork and designs from world-leading development studios and university students across the UK and Europe.

“Brains Eden not only sparks debate between industry and academia but also celebrates the developers of the future and the ground breaking work of the Cambridge games development community.” Clare Denham, Manager, Creative Front

Brains Eden is made possible by the support and dedication of Creative Front Cambridgeshire, Anglia Ruskin University’s initiative to stimulate, incubate, grow and further the creative industries in the Cambridge area.

For further information, please contact or call us on 0845 196 2997.

Creative Front Cambridgeshire