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Welcoming Dr Vali Lalioti as Programme Director, UAL Creative Computing Institute

Outdoor portrait shot of person against green background
Outdoor portrait shot of person against green background
Dr Vali Lalioti, photo courtesy of the Innovation Consultancy.
Written by
Cat Cooper
Published date
21 October 2020

University of the Arts London (UAL) warmly welcomes pioneering designer, computer scientist and business leader Dr Vali Lalioti. Joining the University in a new academic year during extraordinary times, Dr Lalioti will take up the role of Programme Director, UAL Creative Computing Institute (CCI).

Founder-Director of The Innovation Consultancy, Dr Lalioti is at the forefront of culturally responsive and cutting-edge developments in technology, business, entertainment and the arts. These include a ground-breaking new VR tool to help performers and live venues hit hard by Covid-19.

Her academic credentials include a PhD in Computer Science, a MRes in Design from Royal College of Art (RCA) and an MBA. This is combined with extensive leadership and innovation experience gained internationally, from Silicon Valley to Africa, Japan and Europe. Early in her career she brought Virtual Reality (VR) technology to South Africa and then back to the UK, as the human mind behind the first ever Augmented Reality production for the BBC in 2003.

Inclusive and interdisciplinary approaches 

Working with the UAL Creative Computing Institute team, Dr Lalioti will oversee all courses in the Institute’s programme: BSc and MSc in Creative Computing, MSc Data Science and AI for the Creative Industries, MRes Creative Computing and MA Internet Equalities; as well as Diploma and Graduate Diploma in Creative Computing.

She will lead a diverse team of designers, artists, academics, researchers and computer scientists, developing the Institute’s courses, students and projects through a values-based approach that promotes diversity, inclusion and interdisciplinary learning principles.

Dr Vali Lalioti, Programme Director, UAL Creative Computing Institute:

Society needs creative computing to apply the right technologies and processes to problems. Art and design thinking allows us to research and find the solutions which respond to the challenges of the world we are in today. I believe it is key to be able to work not only with different cultures and people, but also across disciplines, especially when you want to be a creative technologist and bring exciting innovation and change to this world.

When you graduate from a UAL CCI course, you will have mastered the tools of creative computing, you will have developed a creative technology practice and you will be able to work across different disciplines.

New opportunities for performers in Covid-19

Through her research and development in collaboration with Imperial College and Royal College of Music, Dr Lalioti leads on VR Rehearse & Perform: a new platform to create fresh opportunities for the UK’s performers whose work is affected by the ongoing pandemic. The project was one of over 8000 Covid-19 response bids to secure prestigious government research funding via InnovateUK and now comes into UAL Creative Computing Institute under an AHRC funded project.

VR Rehearse and Perform enables musicians to virtually rehearse and perform in the country’s iconic venues. It is based on a combination of high-quality visual 3D models and accurate acoustic rendering of real performance spaces. Performers can use the tool to experience what it would be like to perform in any real-life venue from their home or studio.

These real performances in virtual venues can be recorded and experienced by audiences in VR or used to enhance physical performances when venues reopen. A novel way of future working, it responds to the needs of venues as well as performers while the global pandemic continues to restrict performances.

Dr Vali Lalioti on VR Rehearse & Perform:

Musicians and performing artists are now training in home spaces, visually and acoustically poor in comparison to real venues.  Their livelihoods are also in peril as live performance venues remain closed, with losses so far totalling £13.9m. The investment of this highly competitive  InnovateUK Covid-19 funding will fast-track our research and design of the VR Rehearse and Perform platform.

Ben Stopher, Dean of UAL Creative Computing Institute:

We are thrilled to be joined by Dr Lalioti at a time when the potential for creative computing to reimagine and connect our world in new ways could not be more relevant. We look forward to working with Vali and to her influence on our projects, teaching and research.

Dr Lalioti with her company are opening up the VR Rehearse & Perform platform under Creative Commons, so that it can benefit a broader community. Together with UAL Creative Computing Institute, Imperial and the Royal College of Music she will continue her research on the Covid-19 economic and wellbeing impact on arts and culture sectors and how digital tools and creative technologies can support them.

VR Rehearse & Perform