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Immersive Arts, a UK-wide three-year programme backed by the UK’s four arts councils, expects to support over 200 artists and organisations unlock the creative power of technology.


Jon Aitken/UK Research and Innovation

A new project is set to support over 200 UK-based artists and organisations exploring the creative potential of virtual, augmented and mixed reality technologies.

The three-year nationwide Immersive Arts project has received £6m funding from the XRtists scheme, a partnership between the UK’s four arts councils and the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

The programme will give artists access to training, mentoring and specialist facilities with £3.6m of the funding available to help them get ideas off the ground.


“Immersive Arts has been designed to foster a growing, collaborative community of UK artists experimenting with immersive materials, and connecting with audiences around the world,” said Verity McIntosh, Director of Immersive Arts and Associate Professor of Virtual and Extended Realities at University of the West of England (UWE) Bristol.

“In the coming three years we will be offering an inclusive and accessible programme of research, training, funding opportunities and events.

“We look forward to working with creatives of all backgrounds who are interested in developing their practice, and testing the boundaries of what might be artistically possible using immersive technologies.”

Minister for Tech and the Digital Economy, Saqib Bhatti, added: “From the printing press to digital streaming, leaps forward in technology have always led to advances in art and creativity. The Immersive Arts programme will ensure that British creatives are given access to the tech they need to push new creative frontiers.”

Core partners

Immersive Arts will be led by UWE Bristol and have four core partners, one in each of the UK nations.

Glasgow-based producing art house Cryptic, creative media arts centre Nerve Centre in Belfast and Derry, the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff and Bristol’s multi-arts centre Watershed will work closely with supported artists in their regions.

Additional partners with specialist expertise will also support the programme. They are the XR Diversity Initiative, training and artist development specialists Crossover Arts, disability-led arts organisation Unlimited and Immerse UK, the UK’s leading membership organisation for immersive technologies.

Morgan Petrie, Creative Industries Manager at Creative Scotland, says the collaboration “provides a great opportunity for artists to be at the forefront of XR innovation”.

“The partners involved will be able to share best practice, learn from each other and nurture connections across the UK.”

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer added: “The government has already invested £75m to build a network of R&D labs across the UK that will put us at the forefront of advancements in visual effects, motion-capture technology, and AI for the screen and stage industries. 

“This new funding will help even more of our brightest artists and creatives harness the power of this innovative technology.”