Manchester Metropolitan University

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New network to encourage digital brilliance

Cross-faculty Digital Innovations project launched

A NEW business network to promote digital innovation across Manchester has been launched by MMU.

The Digital Innovation network brings together researchers and innovators at the University as well as businesses from across the city to work towards greater knowledge and success.

They are hoping that encouraging collaborations will create more innovations such as the award winning Manchester Time Machine, an iPhone app which combined GPS and archive film footage to create an interactive tour of the city, and which involved experts in film, computing and design.

Other digital projects which have taken place in the University include the BT ArtBox, which saw Dean of the Manchester School of Art David Crow collaborate with students from BA(Hons) Computing to create a reworked red telephone box featuring a digital “curtain” as part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebration in London and the curation by Dr Andrew Biswell, principal lecturer in English and creative writing, of a brand new edition of Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange, for iPad.

Leader in its field

The project is being run by director Paul Bason, of the Manchester School of Art’s Creative Manchester partnership, and digital adviser to the university, Alex Connock.

A website, and Twitter account are now live and work is under way to find a physical home for the project within the University campus.

Alex Connock said: “With Manchester already a leader in fields such as digital marketing, TV production, digital innovation for TV and search engine optimisation, it makes huge sense for the university to be at the forefront of digital research and activity.”

Paul Bason, said: “Through the Digital Innovation website we aim to reflect the digital aspects of a range of teaching and research that takes place right across MMU.

“The digital sector is essential to the economy and creative life of the city and it is fitting that a large university like MMU would want to take a lead in this field and to build on existing relationships with digital companies.”

Physical space

Paul added that work was currently underway to develop a plan which would see a building on campus redeveloped to provide a space where businesses would work alongside students and researchers in developing new digital products and services.

“This will provide the opportunity for the kind of interplay between academic disciplines as well as between the university and commercial sector that we know characterises the best kind of innovation,” said Mr Bason.

Diana Erskine, Managing Director of the digital consultancy Reading Room, attended the launch event at the new MMU Business School. She said: “What an exciting evening! It was wonderful to see MMU making such a huge investment in digital for their organisation, Manchester and for the students they serve.

“Digital Innovation promises to be a wonderful online platform for digital ideas and inspiration. Reading Room are delighted to join the new Digital Innovation network and look forward to partnering and collaborating to work towards an even greater Digital Manchester.”

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