Bournemouth University

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Animation courses set 'shining example'

3 February 2011

An example of a student's work

NESTA praises animation courses at Bournemouth University.

Bournemouth University’s (BU) animation courses have been held up by NESTA as a ‘shining example’ compared to other institutions with graduates struggling to meet industry needs.

The National Endowment for Science Technology and Art (NESTA) singled-out Bournemouth University’s National Centre for Computer Animation (NCCA) in a report presented to the Minister for Culture, Communications and the Creative Industries, Ed Vaizey.

In it they exposed the skills gap of most school and university animation leavers, but highlighted BU and Abertay University in Dundee for adequately preparing students for their careers beyond graduation.

In particular, NESTA praised the maths content of BU’s ‘Computer Visualisation and Animation’ course. Sofronis Efstathiou from BU’s NCCA said: " We have always acknowledged the creation of computer games and visual effects is a marriage of the arts and sciences, both of which feature extensively in our undergraduate and postgraduate courses.”

NESTA also emphasised the high graduate employment rates of BU graduates, which excel well above the national average. The report showed over half of Bournemouth University Animation graduates find employment in the film and visual effects or video games industries within six months of graduating. The national average is as low as 12.5% in some institutions.

In fact, NESTA concluded that almost half of all graduates from specialist VFX courses who gained employment in the industry had graduated from Bournemouth University. Sofronis believes this is down to their continuing efforts to keep courses in line with industry needs.

“This is a fast moving industry,” he said, “continually innovating and developing new technologies and practices.  The NCCA has been able to remain relevant in the field of computer graphics due to its strong links and working relationships with industry, who continually help to develop, advise and support our curriculum and research activities, for which we are very grateful.”

The team at the NCCA are keen to share their knowledge to help correct the skills gap that has emerged. Lecturers are involved in outreach programmes that help inform and excite the children and parents about working in the games and visual effects industry. Activities include animation projects within local primary schools, participation in local art events and animation summer schools.

NESTA’s report was presented by Ian Livingstone, life president of gaming giant Eidos, and Alex Hope, managing director of visual effects firm Double Negative and can be viewed here.

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