UAL announces the development of world-leading Virtual Production lab
University of the Arts London (UAL) is excited to announce the development of a specialist Virtual Production (VP) and XR Lab facility - via its Fashion Textiles and Technology Institute (FTTI) - creating capacity for innovative, transdisciplinary practice-led research in VP/XR textiles and dress.
The new FTTI lab will be located at UAL’s new East Bank campus (2023). The campus will form part of a new powerhouse for research, innovation, creativity and learning through a novel collaboration between world-leading universities, cultural bodies, industry and local communities.
To address this nascent and specialist field of textiles and dress, the university will bring together a unique range of technical skills and digital expertise across UAL's colleges, institutes, and research centres. The specialist lab will drive forward an ambitious research agenda, build capacity to meet wide ranging sector needs, and support significant growth potential for the UK's creative and cultural economy.
Research opportunities will enable development of novel XR experiences including the potential for digital access to historical textile and dress archives and applying these assets into screen and real-time spaces. For example, cultural institutions and museums such as the V&A are exploring the potential for archive-informed clothed characters in hybrid live and online experience contexts.
Exploration of these possibilities will create new markets for the creative and cultural sectors, driving the build of skills to serve them. However, UK-wide research-led capacity and skills in this field are limited, hindering access and advanced development beyond traditionally associated practices and disciplines, which this UAL VP/XR facility will also address.
The multi-million-pound project was awarded by AHRC’s Creative Research Capability and is part of UKRI World Class Laboratories Fund – which helps research institutes and universities to maintain and improve facilities and ensure UK researchers have use of world class laboratories, equipment, and digital resources.
It follows the success of prototype R&D, resulting in an installation ‘Made in Code: Reimagining the Experience of Fashion’, that took place at the V&A in March 2023. It combined state of the art markerless motion capture, garment simulation, cloth rendering and display technology to showcase the potential of real time digital media in wide ranging fashion contexts.