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UC Celebrates Exclusive With Wallace And Gromit Creators

University of Canterbury (UC) have signed a multi-year agreement with the training arm of Academy Award® winning Aardman Animations.

In a move with the potential to redefine the animation landscape in Aotearoa New Zealand, an exclusive agreement between UC and the Aardman Academy will see the University become the only educational institution in New Zealand and the Pacific territories to specialise in Aardman stop-motion animation.

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The expertise available through Aardman, the animation studio behind Wallace and Gromit, Shaun the Sheep and Morph, is particularly exciting for animation students under UC’s popular Bachelor of Digital Screen with Honours, as it creates the rare opportunity to receive training both in their chosen specialty, and directly from industry leaders.

“It’s incredibly exciting to welcome the University of Canterbury as an educational partner with the Aardman Academy,” says Mark Simon Hewis, Head of the Aardman Academy, the training arm of the world-renowned stop-motion studio.

“Canterbury is our first and only educational partner in New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, so our relationship and activities in the coming years are even more special. We can’t wait to get going with world-leading animation insight, support and learning from our Aardman staff and Aardman Academy team.”

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Created at a time when the studio desperately needed more animators to produce Chicken Run, which went on to become the highest-grossing stop-motion film of all time, the Aardman Academy has trained hundreds of world-class animators, directors, model makers and more, globally.

The collaborative agreement came to fruition through Kōawa, the newly rebranded initiative from UC, formerly known as Digital Screen Campus.

The name Kōawa draws inspiration from Waitaha Canterbury’s vast braided rivers, a visual representation of the converged industries at the center of the University’s vision, which aspires to co-create the future of the global screen and creative technology sectors through collaboration, innovation and education.

Kōawa will enable the University to provide its Bachelor of Digital Screen (Hons) students with regular access and exposure to a high caliber of industry partners, like Aardman.

“We want to ensure our graduates are not just exploring what is happening in the creative technology sectors,” explains initiative Director, Sam Witters. “The partnerships Kōawa brings to the University will ensure our students have a finger on the pulse of future trends of the industries into which they’ll graduate and work.”

The different ways the interconnected screen industries engage with storytelling helped the University form the foundation for Kōawa, says Executive Dean of Arts, Professor Kevin Watson.

“It was built on the idea of the convergence between education and industry, creating an ecosystem where students learn from both academic experts and industry partners, ensuring we produce graduates with the creative and technical skills employers need to grow the sector and change the world through storytelling.”

UC is already home to a cinematic landmark with its Ilam Homestead playing a pivotal role in Peter Jackson’s 1994 masterpiece, Heavenly Creatures.

Now, 30 years later, UC is poised to introduce the country’s next generation of industry leaders.

© Scoop Media

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