Centre for Creative Futures

Centre for Creative Futures

The Centre for Creative Futures applies imaginative and interdisciplinary methodologies, embedded in lived experience, to shape a future without systemic inequalities.

Centre Lead
James A. McLaughlin

Lecturer in Drama; Lead - Centre for Creative Futures

Hacking the Familiar

Professor Jorge Lopes Ramos reflects on how his inferiority complex and his very long name have impacted on his way of creating interactive theatre and games.

Our vision

The creative arts are fundamental to the UK’s economic and social wellbeing. Yet, as digital innovations emerge at bewildering speed, the industry is subject to unprecedented changes whose costs and benefits may not always be shared equally. The Centre for Creative Futures investigates how the positive impacts of new technologies, models and platforms might be enjoyed equitably and inclusively by creative professionals and their audiences. In so doing our world-leading, interdisciplinary team of researchers and practitioners provides a grounding and training for creatives of the future.

We aim to:

  • Be a leading voice in strategising and working towards the development of an equitable future for the creative industries, maximising positive impacts for creative professionals, audiences and wider communities.
  • Providing a nurturing environment, focus and collaborative opportunities, enabling our postgraduate and early career researchers to realise their promise.
  • Host workshops, conferences, seminars and other activities around emergent practices in research, impact and funding bid writing, allowing all members to interact with leading scholars in their field, establish international networks and progress their careers and impact.
  • Engage actively with practitioners, policymakers and other relevant stakeholders within the creative industries, facilitating dialogue, collaboration and coordination towards common goals.
  • Publish high impact reports, policy briefs, research papers and other outputs to disseminate our findings and contribute to public discourse on progress towards more equitable creative industries.

Our impact on the world

Cinema, television, theatre, performance and other creative arts are vital to the UK. They employ millions, generate more economic value than the aerospace, life sciences and automotive industries combined, and immeasurably enhance our quality of life. Yet the pace of change is accelerating, as new virtual, augmented and extended reality digital technologies emerge. The Centre for Creative Futures seeks to address the profound questions this raises about how, in the future, we will produce, consume and participate in the creative arts. Which forms of liveness and intimacy will these technologies mediate? What new collaborative models can generate new forms of connection? And how can we identify ways to empower marginalised voices and promote positive change?

Through practice-based and traditional forms of research, the CCF seeks to contribute to many of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Examples include:

  • Our work on the role of creative practice and healthcare training and simulation for nurses, which supports Good Health and Wellbeing (SDG3).
  • The ‘Safe Working Practices in Theatre’ project, launched in the wake of the #MeToo movement and focusing on making creative productions safer and more accessible for participants and audiences, which contributes to Gender Equality (5).
  • Our hosting of a new PhD scholarship for researchers with a disability, aimed at studying and addressing the isolation of certain communities, which supports Reduced Inequalities (10).
  • The award-winning ‘Radio Ghost’ project, using serious games technology in public spaces, such as shopping malls, to highlight supply chain and human rights issues, which supports Responsible Consumption and Production (12).
  • Our creative partnerships with local communities in Brazil during COP 30, enabling indigenous voices to create alternatives to the western-dominated narrative on climate change, which supports Climate Action (13).

Who we are

An interdisciplinary approach

The Centre for Creative Futures encompasses and supports practice based, theoretical and critical research across a wide range of creative disciplines, including drama, literature, theatre, performance, filmmaking, art and design, and immersive technologies. Our members include performers, producers, dramaturgs, directors, cinematographers, designers and writers. This interdisciplinary approach is vital as it allows us to develop fresh and original perspectives, tools and solutions to address global challenges – and avoid repeating the mistakes of the past. Regardless of expertise and background, we all share a commitment to promote equality, representation, alternative and inclusive futures.


The creative arts serve as a powerful bridge for forging collaborations within and beyond CCF, and we have developed close relationships with a broad range of external partners. These encompass theatres, film and TV companies, and technology suppliers, as well as local and national arts organisations and networks, such as the Tramshed Theatre, Greenwich Theatre, Punchdrunk, Protein Dance, the Theatre and Performance Research Association, Mo-Sys Engineering, Mrs C’s Collective and the Contemporary Playwriting Network. Beyond the more immediate creative professions, our research collaborators have included the British Ecological Society, the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory’s Diamond Light Source, the Structural Genomics Consortium and the Royal Academy of Engineering.

We have also worked with a number of overseas entities as part of research projects, including: TAG Montréal, the Technoculture, Arts & Games Research Centre at Canada’s Concordia University; Nueve Voltios, in Colombia; Lá Da Favelinha, in Brazil; and Phoria, AusStage and Deakin Motion Lab, in Australia.


The work of the Centre for Creative Futures has been supported by, among others, Arts Council England, the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council, British Council, Innovate-UK, the Canada Media Fund and Oi Futuro Technology Centre (Rio de Janeiro), and the UCA Proof of Concept Fund.

Our research

An inclusive approach to research

All the research conducted at the Centre for Creative Futures is guided from an early stage in any project by a desire to include those most impacted by inequality. That means allowing the marginalised and disempowered to have a voice in how the research is designed and delivered. Above all, we strive to ensure that any new creative technology, be it virtual reality, augmented reality, location-based or hybrid, is interrogated and deployed in thoughtful, human-centred, ethical ways.

Our applied research, teaching and enterprise falls into three distinct but complementary thematic clusters:

  • Narrative, Place, Identity
  • Social Engagement and Creative Methods
  • Intimacy, Serious Play and Belonging

Narrative, Place, Identity

This theme explores relationships between narrative, place and identity. Recent work includes Story Cities: a city guide for the imagination. This anthology of flash fiction about cities is designed to be read in situ in any city, in order to facilitate a shared conversation between the reader, the printed page and the environment. Another project, involving archive research with London’s Royal Court Theatre, seeks to understand the ways in which young people interact with professional theatres and specifically how they use those institutions and buildings to engage with ideas of, and for, social change.

Social Engagement and Creative Methods

Here, we focus on emergent practices and processes in contemporary drama, theatre and performance, including participation and social engagement through performance, as well as intergenerational methodologies , such as how best to train future performers, writers and other creative professionals. A recent example of work in this theme is ‘Safe Working Practices in Theatre’, a collaboration with theatre company Mrs C.’s Collective. This research project explores strategies to introduce accessibility, safe working with trauma-informed material and intimacy direction into a theatre production, with the intention to shape the future working practices in theatre industries in the UK and beyond.

Intimacy, Serious Play and Belonging

The Intimacy, Serious Play and Belonging theme encompasses a range of fascinating projects which address the central challenges of our time. For instance, we have explored multi-player serious games (i.e., games designed for a primary purpose other than pure entertainment) and audio-led instruction-based performances in public spaces for addressing consumption behaviour, human rights, climate change. Likewise, we have researched the application of XR (extended reality) technology and interactive performance in digital mental health therapies. Other recent projects have encompassed disabled people-led interactive technology and participatory performance, and women-led, non-white, working-class approaches to methodology, as well as post-immersive research into emerging technologies and human behaviour.

Teaching and training

A key function of the Centre for Creative Futures is to provide a grounding and innovative training for future creatives in a rapidly changing and emerging digital arts industry. Our members teach a variety of undergraduate and postgraduate courses in areas such as drama and screen. These include: Drama BA Hons; Film and Television Production BA Hons; Film Production MA; Drama MPhil/PhD; and Film and Screen Practices MPhil/PhD.

Externally, we collaborate with the journal and blog, ‘Theatre, Dance and Performance Training’, as well as with the Theatre and Performance Research Association on performer training and scenography. Teaching is also an output from our research; for instance, the recent ‘Safe Working Practices in Theatre’ project provides students with training and guidance on how to improve accessibility and working conditions in the theatre industry. We have also used creative practice and healthcare simulation to train nurses in affective touch in mental health therapies.

Now is a great moment to raise the profile of creative methods and support genuine, world-changing arts-led research.

- Jorge Lopes Ramos, Professor of Interactive Theatre and Performance, and Leader of the Centre for Creative Futures

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