Emerging Media EXploration (EMEX)

March 7, 2019
Mark Lochrie

The Emerging Media Exploration Project (EMEX) seeks to establish university-industry partnerships on the matter of content creation for emerging media technologies. Media technology R&D institutes and start-ups have a steady need for high quality content to evaluate and showcase their products, while universities are constantly looking for opportunities to educate their student on cutting-edge media technology. Universities both have the competence and time to prototype content for immature technologies, with no established production workflows and tools in place.

EMEX includes high-profile media technology research partners in the consortium and will actively seek to include more associated partners. The consortium will work on a dedicated collaboration framework that allows for blended transnational project-based learning. The learning activities will be implemented in three iterations over the project duration of three years. Each iteration will be kicked of with a mobility activity, gathering students from the participating universities on-site hosted by one consortium partner. The kick-off workshop will comprise different lecture and workshop activities with the goal of prototyping initial content ideas for a given emerging media technology. Certain online activities will allow remote students take part in part of the activities as well. Thus prepared, the students will enter an online collaboration phase, where they elaborate and produce content ideas devised during the kick-off workshop. Students from the most successful teams will be invited to the kick-off workshop of the following iteration to function as multipliers and as a reward for good teamwork.

Beyond the outcomes of each course iteration, the consortium will document and reflect the course framework as such, sharing both the concept and the content openly for other universities to implement.

The project Emerging Media EXploration (EMEX) seeks to explore the impact of new and emerging media technologies on the future of storytelling and the society. It addresses three main target groups with complementing needs:

  1. Students of design, arts and media technology

Need: Access to cutting edge media technologies to improve employability in a the competitive labour market of the the media industry.

2) Media technology research institutes and innovative start-ups

Need: Field test of innovative media technologies to improve products and to gain market access.

3) Media Houses / Production companies

Need: Storytelling and production workflow competence for new media platforms and technologies

It is evident that universities are perfectly suited to connect the aforementioned target groups to mutual benefit. Consequently, the main objectives of EMEX are:

  • Creation of a project-based teaching format allowing those three main target groups to collaborate.
  • Create prototypical content, formats and services for new media platforms and technologies in student-led exploration projects.
  • Evaluate both content and production workflows with respect to user experience and prospective societal impact.

This project should be carried out transnationally for the following reasons:

  • We want to collaborate with high profile European research institutes and companies, such as BBC Research (UK), Fraunhofer (Germany) or VTT (Finland).
  • We, and here we can especially speak for our students, are committed to a Europe without borders and as creatives and content producers, we think that a transnational perspective on storytelling and content creation is essentially necessary for a digital single market to arise not only economically, but also from a societal viewpoint.
  • As an international consortium, we were able to get the European Broadcast Union as an associated partner as valuable dissemination and network partner.
  • Not the least, the core partners of this consortium (University of Lincoln, Tampere University of Applied Science, Film University Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF) already have a successful track record of formal and informal international cooperations and we believe that they are the most suitable partners for this project both nationally and internationally.

This project was conceived as a result of an encouraging pilot course that was held as part of the Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership “OnCreate” [add grant no. here] and the “Innovation Forum Virtual Reality”, a national project coordinated by Film University Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF.

The primary innovation of this project is that we enable students of creative disciplines to work with immature, prototype-level media technologies. Modern media technology often involves complex authoring processes that require elaborated software to enable non-technicians to use it. By bringing together students from different creative and technology disciplines, we enable them to create as a team aesthetically and story-wise complex pilot-content for immature media technologies and platforms. This process is facilitated by media innovations professionals from RBB and BBC. Such a collaboration model is currently piloted on a regional level at Film University Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF in the project “Innovation Forum Virtual Reality”.

Method-wise the project follows an innovative blended-learning approach to creative collaborative project work. Based on the experience gathered in the Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership “OnCreate”, the project will developed a distributed transnational online workflow, framed by onsite workshops. This approach has already been tested in the Erasmus Intensive Programme “Mediaculture2020” and will be refined to match the requirements of teaching format development and production.

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