From TikTok to AI, the future of publishing to be explored in unique West of England project

April 30, 2021

A unique research project to explore what publishing means in the 21st century has been launched in the West of England, a region with a long history and reputation for innovation in the industry.

The Amplified Publishing project will look at areas as diverse as children’s animation, gaming, social inclusion, the use of AI (artificial intelligence) to create content and digital zines as well as the latest technologies, platforms and trends. 

The project, which aims to challenge the business of content creation and distribution. is being steered by Bristol + Bath Creative R+D, a £6.8m collaboration between the region’s four universities – Bath Spa University, the University of Bath, the University of Bristol and the University of the West of England (UWE).

Staged in partnership with BT, Bath media group Future, Epic Games – the US games developer behind Fortnite – and BBC R&D, Amplified Publishing will also give participants the opportunity to think about what the broad publishing landscape will look like in 10 years’ time.

It is bringing together a multi-disciplinary and cross-sector group of 10 academic and industry-based Fellows along with eight industry partners for a four-month ‘deep dive’ into the potential, challenges and opportunities of publishing.

The project’s timing is seen as especially pertinent by Bristol + Bath Creative R+D as the pandemic sparked an explosion of content creation online. 

Bristol + Bath Creative R+D co-investigator and academic lead for the project, Kate Pullinger, pictured, said: “In early March 2020, we brought a group of content creators and distributors together that we hoped would participate in a new project that shone a spotlight on the publishing industry.

“We didn’t know then that this would be our last interaction for over a year, but we continued working in the background to launch our latest pathfinder, which aims to quite literally ‘amplify’ the publishing sector by bringing together a diverse group of people from business, the arts and academia.

“And it seems we were forward thinking in our approach. Over the past year we’ve seen a sharp rise in content creation, with people making and publishing their own content on everything from TikTok to SoundCloud.

“It’s become apparent that – despite our delay – the pandemic has only intensified the need for R&D based on the issues and ideas discussed that evening all those months ago.”

The new cohort of researchers is made up of four academic researchers from a wide range of professional backgrounds, as well as SME industry partners and large industry partners from sectors including tech, publishing, gaming and media. 

The group will now spend the next four months researching a variety of different topics before a call for prototypes in September.

The project is one of five pathfinders being led by the Bristol + Bath Creative R+D cluster, a four-year programme, created to support and celebrate the region’s thriving creative industries.

To find out more the programme, visit:

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