As a devoted son of radio, first lured to podcasting by the similarities, I’ve come to love spotting the differences. 

The Podcast Show, last week, was a rare chance to do that on an industry-wide scale and I was among many from Bristol and the South West who flocked. This was the UK’s biggest coming together of what can sometimes feel like quite a fragmented fraternity, at least for the independent creator. The hours spent in my home studio writing, recording and editing are among the happiest of my freelance endeavours, but they are also quite isolating.

The people of podcasting have much in common with radio types, not least as so many straddle both worlds, yet the vibe en-masse is strangely different. The great Terry Wogan once described radio as “the home of the introverted egomaniac” and I relate to that entirely from my time in the industry. We’re the people you’ll always find in the kitchen at parties, quietly watching, tweeting and probably adding you on LinkedIn without making eye contact. Yet The Podcast Show was deafeningly loud at all times, people with much to say to each other. The atmosphere was strikingly friendly, welcoming and explosively sociable, perhaps in defiance of all the time we spend alone. For relative newbies like me at least, there was a sense of shared demystification, of everyone helping each other to make best sense of this wonderful craft that has landed from outer audio space…

Actually, as Bristol’s podcasters will know, so much is already understood. The podcast world is a canny fusion of marketing, PR and audio. Consequently, the industry is relentlessly driven by intelligent market research and targeted strategy, strikingly more so than the public service broadcast world I’ve inhabited for 20 years. This manifests itself as an absolute obsession with audiences, and rightly so: “Who we can serve, why and how…”, rather than “What we’d like to do…”. If you and I have ever worked together, or if we’ve had a coaching workshop together in recent months, you’ll understand why this makes me sing.

I lapped up the session ‘From Grey to Gold’ with Andy Goldsmith (from Adelicious) and Kat Farmer (from #gotthepodcast), which explained why canny podcasters should consider the over 55s. It has baffled me and angered many besides to see this growing audience abandoned by public service broadcasters, who really should be ramping up their commitment to an ageing population. We heard in the session that, not only is the older market growing in size, the over 55s hold 70% of the UK’s wealth; so it is perhaps even more perplexing that so few have seen the commercial potential of engaging them through audio. Known in the marketing world as “the blind spot”, this audience is targeted by only 3% of advertising briefs, typically health-related products, care homes and funeral plans. How crass! Among the marketing orgs represented by the speakers, 90% of briefs are targeted at 18-44 year olds, a decade adrift from those who will be spending 63p in every pound over the next ten years.

The reason cited for the vacuum (and I believe this to be true in radio, too) is that older people are not seen by the industry as a sexy audience to serve. Kat Farmer described an “echo chamber of young people in marketing talking to themselves…” and “…everyone imagining that anyone over 55 is like their nan”. We urgently need to get beyond that. I recently launched The Bus Inspectors podcast which is already thriving with older audiences. It takes a really niche subject to the mainstream – a grading scheme for the UK’s transport museums – and hopefully brings it to life with human interest stories that will light up those with curiosity. And, as I know from my work in BBC radio over the years, the over 55s are endlessly curious.

Having chosen to make The Bus Inspectors as a narrative podcast – that is, a crafted documentary rather than ‘chat show’ style – it was with some trepidation that I attended Miranda Sawyer’s session ‘Is Narrative Podcasting Dead?’. I have such respect for Miranda that, had the answer been ‘Yes, it’s dead’, I probably would think long and hard about my future. Fortunately, it was a complex but conclusive ‘No, it’s thriving… but it’s an art form… and narratives are more expensive to make… so you have to work much harder to pitch them’. This totally chimes. For many brands simply wanting ‘a podcast’, a freestyle chat is much quicker and cheaper to produce, so it’s no wonder narrative podcasts remain the exception. It’s also no wonder they really stand out and have a lasting value beyond most.

Other stand out messages came from Harry Morton, the Somerset-based CEO and founder of Lower Street Media, who talked about the importance of understanding, as a starting point, how your podcast fits into a wider landscape and ecosystem; and Fiona Fraser ‘The Podcast Expert’ whose simple message will actually be a profound revelation to many: “Your podcast is not for everyone”.

This is an industry which truly respects its audiences and is ever thoughtful about who will listen and how to reach them. No wonder it’s thriving.

Boomsatsuma is transforming Creative Industries education with the launch of Bristol Film School and Bristol Creative Technology Centre.

For the last three years, boomsatsuma has been delivering cutting-edge, industry aligned film, photography and games degrees. The next step in the region’s leading creative training providers’ evolution sees Bristol Film School become home to filmmaking and photography degrees, with Bristol Creative Technology Centre (BCTC) housing Bristol Games Studio, alongside the entrepreneurial Venture Studio.

CEO and Founder Mark Curtis says:

“Boomsatsuma has developed a reputation for changing lives. Through our innovative courses we are helping to nurture and develop highly skilled, talented young people, whether that’s at college or degree level. Our new structure focuses on preparing students for successful careers. We are committed to ensuring Bristol remains a powerhouse of creativity and we want the Film School and BCTC to become cornerstones of the city’s successful Creative Industries sector.”

Bristol Film School

Bristol Film School has ambitious plans. Dr. Susan McMillan, Executive Dean, explains why this dynamic rebranding is important for the company, the city and its students:

“The new name, Bristol Film School, says ‘what’s in the tin’ making it clearer to those who don’t know us what we do, how we do it and where. Bristol is globally renowned for its film and television production, and we are trailblazers in shaping new talent to ensure its success, working alongside our wonderful industry partners.”

Bristol-based director of Netflix hit The Crown, Philippa Lowthorpe, three-times BAFTA Award winner, sums up the mood from industry:

“Changing the name really positions boomsatsuma where it should be – as a leader in film and TV in the South West and nationally. Bristol needs its own Film School. It’s incredible we don’t have one. This is fabulous news.”

Bristol Creative Technology Centre

BCTC builds on boomsatsuma’s growing connections with the region’s creative technology sector and its’ ambition to combine degree level learning with the delivery of entrepreneurial, commercially viable projects for partners.

A key development has been the foundation of an in-house incubator, Venture Studio. Led by Richard Blows, Head of BCTC, a team of Game Art graduates and students have been engaged as freelance developers to recreate the world’s first historically accurate digital reconstruction of Hadrian’s Wall for Microsoft Flight Simulator, in partnership with Time Machine Designs.

BCTC Production Manager Mark Fisher comments:

“I had the opportunity to work on the Hadrian’s Wall project through being a boomsatsuma Game Art graduate. I started at boomsatsuma as a college student on the Games, VR and VFX course. Once I finished that I moved onto the Game Art degree and as soon I finished that I was able to start on the Hadrian’s Wall project. Being able to go straight into a job was an amazing feeling and it has been an amazing experience from start to finish.”

To find out more about boomsatsuma degrees and the opportunities available through Bristol Film School or BCTC, come along to our next Open Day on 15th June.

We are delighted to announce that new directors have been appointed to the Bristol Creative Industries board.

The five individuals will deliver additional strength and depth to the board which will hugely benefit Bristol Creative Industries, our members and the wider creative sector in the south west.

They bring a host of skills and experience including digital marketing, film production, CRM, data analysis, website marketing and creative industry education.

As we said in our new year message at the start of 2024, driving value for Bristol Creative Industries members is our top priority, and we remain committed to creating opportunities for our community to learn, connect and grow their businesses.

To continue with this mission, we have key focuses that the new board directors will help us deliver thanks to their excellent expertise and contacts. They will contribute directly to:

Our priorities also include the BCI Talent Programme which supports the next generation of diverse talent in the creative industries and is currently open for sponsorship opportunities.

The appointment of the five new board directors follows Lis Anderson and Heather Wright becoming co-chairs of BCI.

Heather Wright, co-chair of Bristol Creative Industries, said:

“We are delighted to welcome these uniquely talented, inspirational and hardworking industry leaders who have stepped up for BCI and for our sector. They will strengthen our team and make it possible for us to achieve our ambitions for members.”

Meet the new Bristol Creative Industries board directors

Joining Lis Anderson, Heather Wright, Gail Caig, Marissa Lewis-Peart, Julian Davis and Steven Coombe on the Bristol Creative Industries board are:

Adam Millbank

Adam Millbank, JonesMillbank

Adam Millbank brings over 16 years of commercial film production experience, serving as a founding director of B Corp registered companies JonesMillbank and Nine Tree Studios.

With his roots in documentary filmmaking, Adam has honed a talent for uncovering the essence of stories, establishing profound connections with his subjects. While he remains a practitioner, he also dedicates significant time to nurturing relationships with agencies and brands, earning him a reputation as a trusted partner in the industry.

Adam now collaborates with globally recognised brands, leveraging his expertise to drive innovative projects.

He maintains a keen interest in the intersection of education and creativity, aiming to foster greater connectivity within the Bristol creative industries around film and video and create a space for collaboration through Nine Tree Studios.

Tom Harber

Tom Harber, Aer Studios

Tom Harber is an experienced creative agency leader specialising in digital experiences and creative technology solutions.

Tom has held leadership positions in industry leading creative agencies across both the UK and Australia that have be recognised at prestigious awards including Cannes Lions, BIMA and The Effies. Tom eventually landed back in the South West to head up creative technology studio, Aer Studios.

Proudly B Corp Certified, Tom and his team have been ranked in the top 100 best workplaces in the UK and have recently been appointed to the BBC UX Design roster as the only agency representing the South West region.

Tom’s passion is in creating meaningful digital experiences that have a positive impact on people and planet. He believes that bringing the creative and technology sectors closer together can have a huge benefit to the South West.

Tom Bowden-Green

Dr Tom Bowden-Green

Tom Bowden-Green‘s experience combines senior consultancy (10+ years) and academic leadership (10+ years), designing and delivering training to support business development and career growth in marketing. His current focus is on bringing together regional and academic expertise to support business growth within the creative industries.

Tom studied his PhD at the Digital Behaviour Lab at University of Bath School of Management. His research and teaching now focuses on applying psychology to creative processes.

His recent work at Bristol Business School includes investigating behaviour change with Bristol City Council, researching the Bristol brand with Visit West, and understanding the effectiveness of social media advertising.

Tom created and led the MSc Digital Marketing at UWE Bristol and led several successful Digital Marketing Bootcamps. He co-hosts the The Digital Behaviour Podcast.

David Darke

David Darke, Atomic Smash

David Darke is the co-founder and operations director of Atomic Smash, a website performance agency based in Bristol, specialising in optimising WordPress, WooCommerce and Shopify.

Since its inception in 2010, Atomic Smash has prided itself on a caring team culture, emphasising continuous learning, creativity, and problem-solving. In this role, he has been recognised for kindness in leadership by being nominated as a Kindness Leadership Leading Light.

David’s approach to business reflects a deep understanding of the web’s potential to transform how companies and individuals communicate and conduct business.

Kate Sikora

Kate Sikora , Noble Performs

Kate Sikora is the co-founder and managing partner of Noble Performs, a digital performance marketing agency based in Bristol renowned for helping organisations achieve remarkable results.

Highly commended as the IOD Director of the Year 2023 and serving as a Taan European Governor, Kate is committed to driving excellence and innovation in the digital marketing landscape.

Beyond her professional endeavours, Kate finds joy in family life, practicing yoga, and exploring new culinary creations in the kitchen.

In summer 2021 we ran an event discussing funding for creative businesses with the south west team at Innovate UK EDGE and a group of Bristol Creative Industries members.

During the discussion, attendees said it would be useful if we could provide regular updates on the finance schemes that are available for creative companies in the south west and beyond. This guide is our response.

The guide is one of Bristol Creative Industries’ most popular ever blog posts. We keep it updated with the latest funding schemes for creative businesses so check it regularly. We also include the post in our monthy email newsletter, BCI Bulletin. To sign up, go here.   

Latest funding for creative businesses:

West of England Combined Authority creative freelancer grants

Creative freelancers in Bath, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire can apply for grants of up to £2,000 to deliver specific activity that will enable them to develop their product, service or creative practice. Examples include:

The deadline for applications is 12pm on 21 June.

More details.

West of England Combined Authority Business Innovation Fund

This scheme provides grant funding to help businesses progress research and development activity leading to the creation of novel/new products, processes and/or services.

You can apply for a grant of between £15,000 and £25,000 to cover up to 45% of project costs. You must fund the remaining 55%.

Applying businesses and the project location must be based in the council areas of Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol, or South Gloucestershire.

The deadline to apply for the fifth round of funding is 12pm on 20 June 2024.

More details.

£200m South West Investment Fund

The British Business Bank, the government-owned business development bank, has launched the £200m South West Investment Fund (SWIF) “to help address market failures by increasing the supply and diversity of early-stage finance for UK smaller businesses, providing funds to firms that might otherwise not receive investment”.

Aimed at businesses in Bristol, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire, the fund provides:

SWIF is managed by four fund managers:

The region is split as follows:

North of the region:

South of the region:

The funding is split as follows:

Businesses can apply for funding directly to the relevant fund managers here.

Bristol Council vacant commercial property grant scheme

Bristol Council is offering grants of between £2,500 and £10,000 to organisations taking on a new city centre or local high street commercial property.

The funding is open to businesses, charities, CICs, sole traders and arts and culture groups for both long term and temporary/meanwhile use.

Organisations must employ fewer than 50 people, have a turnover of £10.2m or less, and a balance sheet showing £5.1m or less.

Funding can be used for structural works to a property or equipment to be used in the property (capital expenditure). The funding needs to be matched by 20%.

Applications are open until 11.59pm on Monday 30 September 2024.

Successful applicants must start trading from the funded property by Friday 31 January 2025.

More details.

Create Growth Programme

The Department for Culture, Media & Sport’s Create Growth Programme provides grant funding and business support to micro, small and medium sized businesses in the creative industries with innovative ideas.

To apply, businesses need to be based in one of these 12 English regions:

There is a total of £3m in grants available in the latest round of funding. Individual businesses can apply for grants of between £10,000 and £30,000.

Applications close at 11am on 19 June.

More details.

Innovate UK Smart Grants

UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £25m for “game-changing and commercially viable R&D innovations that can significantly impact the UK economy”.

Applications for the latest round of funding close at 11am on 24 July.

More details.

Innovate UK innovation loans

UK registered businesses can apply for loans for innovative projects with strong commercial potential to significantly improve the UK economy.

You can apply for a loan of between £100,000 and £2m to fund your project’s eligible costs.

Applications for the latest round of funding close at 11am on 26 June

Another round of funding will open on 27 June and close on 21 August

More details.

Creative UK Creative Growth Finance II

This £35m Creative UK and Triodos Bank investment fund provides loans of £100,000 to £1m.

Finance is directed to post-revenue creative businesses presenting promising growth potential and who:

More details here.

UK Games Fund Content Fund

Grants of £50,000 – £150,000 are available for UK registered small and medium sized enterprises with PAYE employees engaged in games development work in the UK.

More details.

UK Games Fund Prototype Fund

Established UK-based companies with a game development project at an early stage in the pipeline can apply for grants of up to £30,000.

More details.

Supporting Grassroots Music Fund

Applications are open for this government fund which supports rehearsal and recording studios, promoters, festivals, and venues for live and electronic music performance.

Grants of £1,000 and £40,000 are available for projects up to three years in length. The fund runs until March 2025.

More details here.

Developing your Creative Practice

This fund from Arts Council England supports individual cultural and creative practitioners in England thinking of taking their practice to the next stage through things such as: research, time to create new work, travel, training, developing ideas, networking or mentoring.

Grants of up to £12,000 are available.

The rounds of funding are as follows:

Round 21

Opens for applications: 12pm on 25 July 2024
Closes for applications: 12pm on 22 August 2024
Decisions announced: 7 November 2024

Round 22

Opens for applications: 12pm on 14 November 2024
Closes for applications: 12pm on 12 December 2024
Decisions announced: 6 March 2025

More details here.

]Travelwest sustainable travel grants

Travelwest provides match-funded grants for initiatives that improve sustainable travel provision in a business.

The aim is to provide financial support and incentives to employers to enable them to encourage sustainable modes of commuting or in-work travel (including site visits and meetings) amongst their staff.

The grants can be used for the implementation of physical measures, promotional events or any other measure that will encourage mode change amongst staff.

Grants are currently availables for businesses in Bristol and North Somerset.

More details.

BridgeAI funding and support programme

Innovate UK’s £100m BridgeAI programme aims “to help businesses in high growth potential sectors such as creative industries, agriculture, construction, and transport to harness the power of AI and unlock their full potential”.

The programme offers funding and support to help innovators assess and implement trusted AI solutions, connect with AI experts, and elevate their AI leadership skills.

More details.

Paul Hamlyn Foundation Arts Fund

This fund supports organisations who work at the intersection of art and social change. It offers grants between £90,000 and £300,000 over three years.

The fund is open for applications from 4 April until 31 May and from 14 August until 14 October.

More details here.

Arts & Culture Impact Fund

This new £23m social impact investment fund is for socially driven arts, culture and heritage organisations registered and operating in the UK. It offers loans between £150,000 and £1m repayable until May 2030.

More details here.

The Elephant Trust

The Elephant Trust says its mission is to “make it possible for artists and those presenting their work to undertake and complete projects when frustrated by lack of funds. It is committed to helping artists and art institutions/galleries that depart from the routine and signal new, distinct and imaginative sets of possibilities.”

Grants of up to £5,000 are available.

More details here.

Arts Council National Lottery Project Grants

Grants of up to £100,000 are available for arts, libraries and museums projects.

The grants support a broad range of creative and cultural projects that benefit people living in England. Projects can range from directly creating and delivering creative and cultural activity to projects which have a longer term positive impact, such as organisational development, research and development, and sector support and development.

More details here.

Start Up Loans

A Start Up Loan is a government-backed unsecured personal loan for individuals looking to start or grow a business in the UK. Successful applicants also receive 12 months of free mentoring and exclusive business offers.

All owners or partners in a business can individually apply for up to £25,000 each, with a maximum of £100,000 per business.

The loans have a fixed interest rate of 6% p.a. and a one to five year repayment term. Entrepreneurs starting a business or running one that has been trading for up to three years can apply. Businesses trading for between three and five years can apply for a second loan.

More details here.

UnLtd funding for social entrepreneurs

If you’re running a creative social enterprise you may be able to access funding from UnLtd.

Finance of up to £5,000 is available for starting a social enterprise and up to £15,000 for growing a social enterprise.

Successful applicants also get up to 12 tailored business support plus access to access to expert mentors and workshops.

More details here.

Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme

Businesses can apply for up to £3,500 to cover the costs of installing gigabit broadband.

Check if the scheme is available in your area here.

Know of more funding and support for creative businesses?

If you know of another scheme that we haven’t listed and you’d like to share it with other creative businesses, email Dan to let us know.

I have now completed my studies at Cardiff Metropolitan University! My final project involved creating a mixed media animation, laser cutting to create 3D models, and projection mapping.

All of this came together to create an immersive installation which will be open to the public at the Graduate Degree Show on the 7th of June, at Cardiff School of Art and Design. I warmly invite you to come along and see it for yourself – me and my course mates have been working very hard to produce our final outcomes and there’s a lot of amazing art and design to see! I am planning on moving to Bristol within the next month so I would love to meet and talk to other creatives in the area. I’ve included a link to my project trailer so you can get a glimpse of what is to come…

Project trailer:

Find out more about the exhibition here:

In the dynamic world of experiential design, the integration of neuroscience represents a unique opportunity where science and creativity can combine to help elevate immersive experiences. 

To dive deeper into this fascinating subject, we sat down with Katherine Templar Lewis from Kinda Studios, a women-led neuroaesthetic studio and lab using neuroscience to prove the power of art on human connection and wellbeing. Working with brands, experience designers, platforms and institutions, Kinda turns neuroscience into felt experiences to deepen their impact on a range of interconnected health measures. 

With a wealth of expertise in crafting immersive environments that resonate with audiences, Katherine offers her insights into how experiential designers can harness the power of neuroscience to enhance their design practices. 

Katherine, can you give us a quick overview of what exactly Neuroaesthetics is?

Sure, so neuroscience is the study of the nervous system, including the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves, and how they influence behaviour and cognitive processes. It explores the intricate workings of the brain’s neurons and neural circuits to understand how information is processed, emotions are generated, and actions are coordinated. 

Neuroaesthetics, is a new branch of neuroscience that our work centres in, which studies how different elements affect our environment, be it light, sound, art, nature itself, impacts our brain and body.

It delves into the aesthetic underpinnings of emotion, thought and behaviour, providing insights that can inform various fields, including design. At Kinda Studios, we see neuroscience as a valuable tool for understanding human perception and emotion, allowing us to create immersive experiences that resonate deeply with our audience.

Can you give examples of how Neuroaesthetics influences your design decisions?

Neuroaesthetics serves as a toolbox for us at Kinda Studios, providing valuable mechanisms that we can leverage to enhance our design decisions. While neuroscience doesn’t hold all the answers, it offers insights that allow us to tap into the power of creative difference. For instance, we utilise colours and sounds in design that have an affect on our nervous systems, either positive or negative. Understanding how they can evoke specific emotions and drive behavioural responses allows us greater intention in our designs 

By harnessing the power of art and sensory experiences, we create immersive environments that stir emotions and engage visitors on a deeper level. This approach not only elevates the overall design but also enables us to create social impact through values like environmental stewardship through experiential storytelling. Neuroscience empowers us to create meaningful experiences that resonate with people’s feelings and drive positive behaviour change.

How can neuroscience improve the overall quality of immersive experiences? 

Its influence extends beyond sensory stimulation; it facilitates a deeper connection and understanding of our own selves within immersive experiences. By delving into our innate desire for coherence and connection, neuroscience enables us to craft experiences that resonate deeply with visitors. We recognise that while we experience spaces every day, often without conscious control, immersive experiences offer a unique opportunity to intentionally shape those encounters. We see ourselves as privileged to create spaces where visitors can transcend their everyday reality and be transported to other worlds, fostering a profound sense of connection and engagement with impacts that lingers long after the experience ends. 

What advice would you give experiential designers wanting to incorporate neuroscience into their projects?

My advice would be to seize the opportunity to deepen your understanding and leverage this knowledge to elevate your creations. Fortunately, neuroaesthetics is now offering a wealth of resources to learn from and explore. In parallel, technological advancements are ushering in a new era where we can really harness and utilise scientific insights into experiences to deepen their impact. By leveraging this technology with neuroaesthetic knowledge and insights, you’ll be better equipped to deliver immersive experiences that resonate on a profound level.

Now more than ever is an appetite for transdisciplinary collaboration. The work we do is not just to translate but also to connect. Collaborating and exchanging ideas with both fellow designers and scientists can provide valuable perspectives and inspiration for your projects.

One resource that we often recommend is the book “Your Brain on Art: How the Arts Transform Us” by Ivy Ross and Susan Magsamen. In this book, Susan Magsamen delves into the fascinating intersection of neuroscience and art, exploring how artistic experiences can profoundly impact our brains and lives. It’s a captivating read that offers valuable insights into the power of creativity and its effects on the brain.

By immersing yourself in resources like this and actively engaging with the neuroaesthetics and studios like ours, you’ll be well-equipped to infuse your experiential designs with a deeper understanding of the human mind and emotion, ultimately creating more impactful and meaningful experiences for your audience.

What challenges have you faced using neuroscience within design? And how did you address these?

Incorporating neuroscience into design presents exciting opportunities for world-building and creating immersive experiences. However, we’ve encountered challenges when certain environments don’t align with neuroscience principles. For instance, hospitals and schools often prioritise functionality over emotional well-being, hindering our ability to create truly immersive experiences.

In hospitals, the focus on efficiency and sterile environments can be at odds with the nurturing and healing aspects that neuroscience suggests are beneficial. Similarly, schools face constraints due to limited space and the need to accommodate large numbers of people, making it difficult to implement neuroscience principles effectively.

External factors like noise pollution from motorways and heavy traffic pose challenges beyond our control. Despite these obstacles, we address them by adapting our designs to work within the constraints of the space. Neuroaesthetics research and studios like Kinda Studios are helping in transforming these spaces for greater positive impact. 

We also have an in situ lab that uses neurophysiological equipment to test and explore the impact of different environments on our brain and body. The more that this work becomes a two way dialogue between science and art the further both fields can grow and the greater the positive impact we can create.

While challenges exist, they can help to fuel creativity and drive to find innovative ways to integrate neuroscience into design, even in less-than-ideal circumstances. By embracing these challenges, designers can continue to push the boundaries of immersive experiences and create meaningful connections with audiences.

What methods do you use to measure the impact of neuroscience within designs?

Yes, we use a variety of methods to measure the impact of neuroscience within our designs. This includes utilising advanced technologies such as brainwave monitoring (EEG), electrocardiography (ECG), and gamma wave analysis to gather quantitative data on neural and physiological responses to our experiences. Additionally, we rely on self-report measures to capture subjective feedback from participants, allowing us to understand their emotional and cognitive reactions.

What do you see as the future of neuroscience driven-design and how do you think it will affect the design/event industry?

The future of neuroscience and neuroaesthetic-driven design holds immense potential to revolutionise the design and event industry. As we continue to embrace science-informed design practices, we’ll see a shift towards creating experiences that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also deeply resonant on a cognitive and emotional level. Neuroscience insights will guide us in crafting environments that prioritise human well-being and connection, with an emphasis on integrating elements of nature to enhance mental and emotional health.


VOOM Nutrition sets out to celebrate the power of plants in its launch campaign for POWR, its vegan sports endurance bar.

Developed by leading creative agency McCann Bristol, ‘The Climb’ is a cautionary tale that follows a free climber preparing to tackle ‘the Big One’, an ominous, vertical rockface that he’s always been fixated on. The film is shot with the same intensity as an epic sports documentary but ends with a ‘dark humour’ twist that viewers don’t expect, tying into the campaign line: ‘Never underestimate the Power of Plants.’

“We’re a challenger brand in sports nutrition, a category that can often take itself quite seriously,” explains VOOM CEO Robin Higgens. “While we’re serious about creating our plant-based products, our team and our customers are outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy the unpredictability of nature, something McCann has expertly captured in the film.”

McCann Bristol’s Executive Creative Director, Zane Radcliffe adds: “Humour doesn’t often find its way into health and nutrition, so it’s been a breath of fresh air to write and shoot this, and to work with a bold client who understands that you don’t always have to land the brand in the first six seconds. The joy of this film is in its restraint. The product is the punchline, which makes it all the more powerful – never underestimate the power of funny!”

Launching earlier this month across social platforms, the film was directed by Olivier Richomme at Chief, and stars GB climber and Men’s Boulder medallist, Louis Parkinson, continuing VOOM’s collaboration with elite athletes.

“The team at Chief have been an inspiration,” explains Radcliffe. “In true documentary fashion they’ve worked wonders with a modest budget and a skeleton crew to deliver a mini epic.”

The Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), Thangam Debbonaire, Labour MP for Bristol West, met boomsatsuma staff and students to find out more about the challenges and opportunities facing the independent training and funding for the regions Creative Industry sector,  joined by representatives from Better Society Capital, Bristol & Bath Regional Capital and Access – the Foundation for Social Investment.

The visit to Leadworks, one of boomsatsuma’s six training centres across Bristol, Friday 10th May, gave the MP first hand insight as to how boomsatsuma delivers education differently, bringing opportunities to the often-marginalised communities across the city. The award-winning Bristol-based disruptive educator has seen demand for its courses from students feeding into careers within the regions’ thriving creative industry sector rise year on year.

Thangam Debbonaire, MP, engaged in discussions delving into the potential for ethical funding routes for the betterment of communities, culture and education. She states:

“It was great to visit boomsatsuma and see how their brilliant facilities and staff are enabling students to take their talent to the next level. I’m proud of Bristol’s vibrant cultural life. As Culture Secretary in a Labour government, I’ll work with institutions like boomsatsuma to secure the creative talent pipeline our city needs so that it can continue to generate joy, jobs and wealth that we all benefit from.”

boomsatsuma has been supported with around £800k investment from City Funds, the place-based impact investment fund managed by BBRC, which underpinned significant expansion and enabled higher capacity. City Funds is a £10m fund created for investment from Better Society Capital, Bristol City Council and Access: The Foundation for Social Investment.

Founder Mark Curtis explained:

“It’s great to have this opportunity to have a dialogue with our local MP, who clearly shares our passion for culture, sports and (can see) their importance to the local society and economy. It’s encouraging that there is top level recognition that these sectors are important and require training pathways, beyond Maths and Engineering, to meet the needs of the employers and also fulfil the passions to give the next generations a voice.”

Mark continues:

“A significant challenge for providers like boomsatsuma is that although we could meet the demands of expanding student numbers and align new courses with the regions’ skills agenda, we have had no direct access to central Government or the Education & Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) to support our growth and demand. We have increased our engagement with Business West and West England Combined Authority over the past year and today’s visit will hopefully help consolidate our position in the local creative training landscape.

“While we enjoy very positive relationships with our education partners (at Cabot Learning Federation and Olympus Academy), it’s unfortunate that we are capped by the current system that restricts our ability to grow and scale into new markets and territories. Without systemic change we can only reach a limited number of young people.

“Sometimes to make a difference you have to actually do things differently. We are hoping the next administration will support us in this.”

Stephen Muers, CEO, Better Society Capital said:

“Boomsatsuma is a brilliant organisation helping to channel Bristolian talent into creative jobs. Organisations like this which help people access the UK’s thriving creative industries are invaluable and we are so glad to support Mark and the team. We appreciate boomsatsuma’s hospitality, and it was great to be able to show Thangam Debbonaire a wonderful example of the role social investment can play in a really important local business.

Social investment can help transform lives and we are eager to work with the next government to unlock billions more pounds of private investment into tackling the UK’s social issues and grow the economy.”

Ed Rowberry, Chief Executive, BBRC, said:

“BBRC is delighted to have invested in boomsatsuma by deploying blended finance at the local level via City Funds.  The blend of finance, sourced from Better Society Capital, Access and Bristol City Council has enabled boomsatsuma to continue to deliver on its important mission to provide pathways for young people particularly those from Bristol’s marginalised communities, into the region’s creative and digital workforce.”



The Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), Thangam Debbonaire, Labour MP for Bristol West, with boomsatsuma staff and students, Better Society Capital, Bristol & Bath Regional Capital and Access – the Foundation for Social Investment. Outside of Leadworks, Bristol.

Picture by Jett Morgan, Year 2 Photography level 3 student at boomsatsuma College

UWE Bristol will host Showcase, its annual degree show, next month, offering visitors the opportunity to discover a new generation of talent from the College of Arts, Technology and Environment.

More than 1200 students from over 40 courses will exhibit their work at Bower Ashton, Arnolfini, Spike Island and the university’s Frenchay Campus from Thursday 6 until Wednesday 12 June.

An annual highlight for the university and the city of Bristol, members of the public are invited to attend the free in-person exhibitions which will include a selection of undergraduate and postgraduate work from animation, architecture, art, creative technologies, design, engineering, fashion, filmmaking, media, performance, photography, product design and writing.

Elena Marco, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Head of College of Arts, Technology and Environment said: “We are thrilled to share our students’ work publicly and give them the chance to demonstrate their ingenuity and creativity to a wider audience. This is a critical point in their careers, and they should be proud of everything they have achieved so far.”

Further information on the Showcase is listed below:

UWE Bristol Frenchay Campus:

A public opening night takes place on Thursday 6 June, with student work from architecture, product design, creative technologies and engineering on display at R Block, The Foundry and Z Block between 18:00 and 21:00. Registration is required – to book visit Eventbrite.

The Frenchay Campus Degree Show continues, featuring work from architecture, product design and engineering on:

UWE Bristol City Campus: 

On Friday 7 June an exclusive private preview evening (by invitation only) will take place across the University’s City Campus – at Bower Ashton, Arnolfini and Spike Island – featuring the work of graduating students from art, design, animation, fashion, media, writing, performance, photography, and filmmaking.

The City Campus exhibitions open fully to the public on Saturday 8 June (no need to book). Opening times are:

For those who can’t make it in person, a digital showcase launches on 3 June and features exciting work from hundreds of graduating students from 40 programmes.  Designed to celebrate new talent and support professional practice, enterprise and employability, each graduate has curated their own portfolio with links to their own sites and social channels.

More information on the Showcase is available on the UWE Bristol website.

Shaped By, an independent B2B creative agency, proudly announces the milestone initial public offering (IPO) of its long standing client, Rubrik, on the New York Stock Exchange.

With a partnership spanning four years, Shaped By has contributed to enhancing Rubrik’s brand identity and marketing through creative collaboration across numerous projects and campaigns. Through a top-down commitment to innovation and creativity, Rubrik has invested in nurturing a trusted relationship with Shaped By as one of its strategic agency partners.

Under the leadership of Rubrik’s CEO Bipul Sinha, there’s a profound appreciation for the power of creativity in driving business success. This IPO serves as a testament to the transformative impact of creativity when seamlessly integrated into brand development and marketing initiatives.

In celebration of this historic moment, Shaped By has collaborated with Rubrik to unveil a series of captivating ads, creatively crafted by our team, that will debut following the ringing of the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange. 

These ads were featured on CNBC in the U.S, and two digital billboards in the iconic Times Square.

“We’re thrilled to celebrate the milestone achievement of Rubrik’s IPO. Our collaboration with them has been a fantastic and rewarding journey” says Nick Farrar, Founder of Shaped By. “Our partnership with the Rubrik team is underpinned by creativity, collaboration, and a shared commitment to design excellence. Together, we’ve explored innovative creative approaches and challenged conventional boundaries in the sector. It’s been a pleasure to deliver exceptional work with exceptional people. We’re looking forward to continuing our journey of innovation and success post IPO.”

Here are links to some of the work we’ve done with them. 😀

Read: Creating a voice in the cybersecurity market. 

Read: Brand refresh for Rubrik

Watch: How Rubrik differentiates its thought leadership through design