Wednesday, 2 January 2019

"Mend The Gap" on 4th February 2019

In February 2019 we're hosting Film London's Mend the Gap event: a debate on animation training and employment.

Here in the UK we have something of a disconnect between what industry needs, and what a lot of animation degree courses actually teach. As a result, many animation studios often recruit young talent primarily from European animation schools, not from the UK. So what is the cause of this problem, and what can be done to fix it?

The Problem: UK Animation, European talent
Currently up to 30% (and often more) of the team at British animation studios are artists sourced from overseas, often from schools in Europe. Which works right now for employers, because we have free movement of labour within the EU. But, with Brexit looming, and the likely loss of free movement, UK studios could find it a lot harder to source well-trained entry level talent.

But aren't there plenty of UK graduates?
Yes. According to Film London, UK universities produce over 600 students with degrees in animation every year.  But, many of them don't find work in the industry. So why are so many UK animation graduates not ready for work when they leave university?

Mend the Gap on 4th February
On 4th February we're hosting a panel event with Film London, when we will debate how to Mend the Gap between education and industry.

Who needs to change? Education or industry?
Why does industry think that UK animation graduates are not work ready? Are they right, and if so what can be done to fix it?  Should UK universities be more focused on delivering graduates that fit industry needs? And, if students are paying up to £9k a year for their degree - don’t they deserve a qualification that will prepare them for work in their chosen field after they graduate?  Alternatively, should industry be more understanding of academia and the role it plays in student development, and take on more of the burden of training animation graduates in practical skills?

Industry meets academia
Mend the Gap aims to answer those questions and bring academia and industry together, with students, to examine how universities and the animation industry can work together to solve the animation skills challenge.

Our Panel
The panel chair is Adrian Wootton OBE, CEO Film London and the British Film Commission.

Also on the panel are
  • Greg Wade - Higher Education Policy Adviser at Universities UK
  • Kate O’Connor - Executive Chair, Animation UK 
  • Edward McAffrey – Senior Lecturer, BA Film, Faculty Of Arts & Creative Industries at Middlesex University. 
  • Gareth Ellis-Unwin - Strategy & Activities for Film, Creative Skillset.
  • Shelley Page - Talent Consultant for DreamWorks and Aardman Animation
  • Alexander Williams – Head of Animation at Escape Studios
 Mend the Gap is an opportunity to shine a light on the meaning and purpose of teaching animation at university.  Should animation be a purely academic subject? Or should it focus largely on practical, craft skills, preparing students for the workplace? 

The Escape Studios Animation Blog offers a personal view on the art of animation and visual effects. To apply for our BA/MArt in 3D Animation, follow this link.  To apply for our storyboarding evening class, visit this page here.  For the next 12 week animation course, click here.

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