£90,000 awarded to freelancers in first Clwstwr Seed cohort

Clwstwr 2020 seed cohort

Clwstwr, the programme to drive innovation in the South Wales screen sector, has announced grants totalling £90,000 to nine freelancers and micro-businesses. 

Clwstwr, led by Cardiff University in partnership with the University of South Wales and Cardiff Metropolitan University, is a five-year research and development programme that aims to nurture a thriving media production hub around the Welsh capital. 

Following a two-day ideas Lab, Clwstwr’s first seed-funded cohort has been chosen. The funded freelancers and micro-businesses will work with industry experts and academics to develop their ideas over a three-month period.

Clwstwr’s first Seed Cohort includes innovations which will not only enhance the screen and news industries, but they have the potential to improve sustainability, tourism, participation in democracy and creative expression. The projects include an AR Murder Mystery experience, a zero carbon festival and 360 degree film for live performance.

The cohort will research and develop ideas including how to tell the stories of recent Welsh history, how to engage 16-24 year olds in the democratic process and how screen-based technology can bring new layers of performance to podcasts.

Clwstwr Director Professor Justin Lewis said: “Our first Clwstwr Ideas Lab has resulted in the programme investing in nine talented people who will now be able to pursue cutting edge ideas.

“Our new cohort is an expression of creative range and potential. We have an expert in sustainable energy/music festival organiser, a writer/director/film maker, one of Wales’s leading authors, a podcast producer, an experimental filmmaker, an internationally acclaimed musician, an up-and-coming entrepreneur in the new experience economy, an animation festival director and a theatre director.”

“It’s a great group, full of commitment, invention and energy and I can’t wait to see their innovations develop.”

Member of the first seed-funded cohort, Director of Cardiff Animation Festival Lauren Orme, said: “I'm thrilled to be working with Clwstwr on an R&D project around environmental sustainability in animation. The opportunity to spend time exploring something I care so much about is really exciting. 

“Clwstwr have been very mindful of removing barriers so freelancers and micro businesses can access their support. Having spent a couple of days with the rest of the cohort, I can't wait to develop my project alongside some inspiring people working on really interesting ideas. 

“Animation often suffers from a lack of specific provision – I've seen this through running an animation production company as well as an animation festival. I hope that through my Clwstwr project I'll be able to help companies like mine by developing new approaches to greening animation production.”

Funded through the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy, with match funding from the Welsh Government, Clwstwr brings together all major Welsh broadcasters including BBC Cymru Wales, S4C and ITV Wales with independent film and television production companies, Wales’s national companies and creative organisations, creative coworking spaces, tech start-ups, strategic agencies including Arts Council of Wales, local authorities including Cardiff Council and Welsh Government.

In 2019, the Clwstwr programme awarded £1 million to 23 businesses to develop their ideas for new products, services and experiences. 

Visit www.clwstwr.org.uk to find out more about the first Seed Cohort.