Creative Changemakers

Jason M Allen - Theatre d'Opera Spatial

We are celebrating

People at every stage of their career who have used their creativity to make a real impact.

In 2023, we’re shining the spotlight on a shortlist of six Creative Changemakers  where creativity has changed the world in the last year. We’re also celebrating four Emerging Changemakers whose work is reshaping the creative industries that they work in.

Both lists have been nominated by the staff and students in our creative community.

In autumn, a panel of industry experts will select the team or individual behind the moment that has had the greatest impact as our Creative Changemaker of 2023. 

The selection will be made based on their creativity, accessibility, contribution to society, collaboration and future legacy.  

Creative Changemakers 2023

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Creative Changemakers 2023

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Jason M Allen - Theatre d'Opera Spatial

Théâtre D'opéra Spatial © 2022 Jason M. Allen

When ‘Theatre d’Opera Spatial’ won the digital category at the Colorado State Fair fine art competition it became one of the first artworks created using AI tools to win such a prize.

Jason’s use of the generative AI programme sparked a heated global debate and a backlash from artists who accused him of cheating. But he had openly credited his use of AI in his entry, believing that his collaboration demonstrates a progressive tool within the creative industry. He responded: "I’m not going to apologise for it… I didn’t break any rules”

Besides winning this award, Jason runs a studio, Incarnate Games, which produces tabletop games. His exploration of AI began with a curiosity of how the new breed of AI image generators would compare with the human artists whose works he commissioned.

Jason was invited to a Discord chat server where people were testing Midjourney, a platform that uses a process known as ‘diffusion’, turning text into custom images. Consequently, he became very passionate about this process and began creating hundreds of images, one of which he submitted to the Colorado art competition.

Jason wanted to create a change in the industry and inspire others to use AI as a tool for their own art. The publicity around ‘Theatre d’Opera Spatial’ certainly achieved that.

Electric theatre collective: 'Masterpiece' for Coca Cola

Electric theatre collective: 'Masterpiece' for Coca Cola

‘Masterpiece’ is a campaign for Coca-Cola’s Real Magic platform, which invites artists and creatives to use AI tools to generate original artwork with iconic creative assets from the Coca-Cola archives. 

The film is set in an art gallery, where Andy Warhol’s 1962 artwork ‘Large Coca-Cola’, comes to life. This iconic Coca-Cola bottle is then passed from one famous animated painting to another. As the bottle is passed between artworks, it is transformed to match the style of the artist it has been passed onto, including the likes of Turner, Munch, Van Gough, Hiroshige, and Vermeer. As well as artworks from modern masters, the advert also introduced the world to new contemporary artists. 

The VFX team at Electric Theatre Collective and creative agency Blitzworks used a mix of live action shots, digital effects and stable diffusion AI to create the commercial’s animation style and its complex transitions.

Creative Review wrote ‘it is still quite rare to see this technical craft packed into an ad… it’s an interesting signal of how machine learning might be incorporated into projects of this kind moving forward.’ The project won the The Electric Theatre Collective team a D&AD Yellow Pencil for Visual Effects and Computer-Generated Work.

Through this project and others, Electric Theatre Collective has demonstrated the expertise to enhance and bring imaginative creative projects to life with the very latest techniques.

Epic games game editor software workspace

Epic Games: Unreal Editor for Fortnite

With the release of the Unreal Editor for Fortnite (UEFN), Epic Games have changed the way in which users will experience gameplay for a long time to come. Rather than waiting for developers to release new content or create new worlds to play in, thanks to UEFN, players can do this for themselves. 

When Epic Games launched the Fortnite Battle Royale feature of the game in early access on September 26th, 2017, they reshaped what a traditional shooter game looked like. The world had never seen a battle royale game of this depth before and it was this creativity and innovation that launched Fortnite to where it is today. Epic Games reported in 2021 that there were more than 400 million registered users on Fortnite. That number is likely to be even higher in 2023.

Now, they are doing it again. Creatives can now use this open platform to build their own metaverse experiences, playing the game how they want it to be played. 

Carols Bott, Games Development Course Leader at Ravensbourne said: “While other entertainment companies and cryptocurrency companies tried - and failed - with their implementations of the metaverse, Epic Games understood content is king. You need an open platform for industry creatives to create and build experiences. And Epic Games and Unreal Editor for Fortnite will provide it.”

Richard Howarth: Apple Vision Pro

Richard Howarth: Apple Vision Pro

When Apple’s VP of Design, Richard Howarth, presented Vision Pro AR Goggles to the world, he potentially launched a new era in mixed reality technology.

This new “Spatial Computer”, including Apple’s first 3D camera, has the potential to change the way we work, communicate, and collaborate, making everyday lives easier. Having the ability to access applications and communicate with other people at life-sized scale, it might revolutionise how we work from home, how we communicate and how we create.

Product and user experience design has always been key to Apple’s success. Stylish, intuitive interfaces and icons enable people to use their technology and software with ease. Ravensbourne alumni Richard Howarth has had a hand in creating many of the Apple products, including the design of the original iPhone model. With over 800 patents naming him as co-inventor for Apple, he is a key part of the creativity and innovation at Apple HQ.

The Vision Pro is Apple’s most ambitious product to date, the result of decades of experience designing high‑performance, mobile, and wearable devices. A singular piece of 3D formed laminated glass acts as an optical surface for the cameras and sensors. The flexible light seal and a cushioned, breathable headband are designed to deliver a comfortable and precise fit. Navigation is made easy through the use of voice, hands and eyes, while speakers are positioned to deliver spatial audio without blocking other sounds.

Apple CEO Tim Cook claims the new headset “seamlessly blends the real world and the virtual world” opening new possibilities and pushing mixed reality boundaries further than they have been pushed before.

Yasmeen Lari: Zero-carbon self-builds

Yasmeen Lari: Zero-carbon self-builds

Yasmeen Lari, Pakistan’s first female architect, won a RIBA Gold Medal in 2023 for championing zero-carbon self-builds for displaced populations. This achievement, one of the world's highest accolades for architecture, marks a shift in the industry from a fascination with ‘starchitecture’ into a focus on purpose.

Once famous for her Brutalist buildings, since retiring in 2000 Lari has used her ‘second career’ to champion humanitarian architecture. She co-founded the disaster relief nonprofit organisation Heritage Foundation of Pakistan.

In August 2022, Pakistan received over three times its usual rainfall, with one third of the country under water, a catastrophe affecting the lives of 33 million people. Lari responded with a design for a self-build model of zero-carbon, flood-proof bamboo shelters. These temporary, sustainable, octagonal structures can house a family of five with an eco-toilet, water, solar power and stove.

At her Zero-Carbon Campus, Lari trains female artisans to build these shelters, helping communities to develop artisanal skills using readily available materials. A team of artisans can build up to 100 shelters in four days.

Lari now aims to build Lari Octa Green (LOG) Emergency Shelters for the recovery and rehabilitation of 1 million households affected by catastrophic floods across the country by 2024.

After studying in London and founding her first architectural firm in Pakistan at the age of just 23, Lari is still changing the world with her work in her 80s.

Manel Torres: 'Spray-on' dress for Coperni

Manel Torres: 'Spray-on' dress for Coperni

Dr Manel Torres designed the spray-on dress which was debuted by the Supermodel Bella Hadid last autumn. This conceptual design opened the eyes of the world up to new innovative and sustainable materials in fashion.

At the beginning of October, Coperni’s Spring/Summer 2023 runway presentation of the dress during Paris Fashion Week became one of the most talked about moments of the season. Images were shared far and wide across the press and social media. Following the viral sensation, Bella Hadid was named Model of the Year at the 2022 Fashion Awards.

Dr Torres founded the research company Fabrican to develop this unique spray-on technique. It produces an instantaneous, sustainable, non-woven fabric that can be worn directly on the skin. The technology addresses concerns around sustainability in the fashion industry, since the material can be washed, reused and finally, when the garment has come to the end of its use, dissolved for re-spraying. It also compresses the fabric’s supply chain, reducing reliance on overseas suppliers and reducing its carbon footprint.

Originally from Barcelona, Dr Torres moved to London to study his Masters in Womenswear Design at the Royal College of Art. Throughout his career, he has always been concerned with the future of fashion. He and his team are only at the beginning of their journey with this invention, which they believe can change the world’s fabric manufacturing industries forever.

Emerging Creative Changemakers 2023

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Emerging Creative Changemakers 2023

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Photography by Charlotte Regan, A man carrying a child in his arms

Charlotte Regan

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Film director Charlotte Regan tells working-class stories differently. Her debut feature, Scrapper, won a Sundance World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic in January 2023 and opened the London Sundance Film Festival in July.

Charlotte grew up in London and started shooting grime videos when she was fifteen. Her reportage shots of the London riots were published in all of the UK’s papers. After graduating from Ravensbourne in 2016, her first short film premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and won a Sundance award, a BFI fellowship and a BAFTA nomination. Charlotte still shoots music videos, as well as commercials with Knucklehead and TVs show for Apple.

Speaking about Scrapper, she told Sundance: “The working class films I had seen didn’t feel like the truth of what I felt growing up. To me, those worlds are full of happiness. There’s for sure struggle and tough moments, but what never falters is the joy and the love. The dark humour that comes out of not having much. As a kid, in particular, I feel like you don’t know that your upbringing is any different to anyone else’s. You look around and see magic everywhere you look.”