Reflections on the 2018 Summer School


The annual residential Digital Economy Summer School 2018, hosted and organised by the EPSRC Centre for Digital Entertainment, took place in sunny Poole and Bournemouth on the Dorset coast in early July, with over 100 Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) delegates from across 10 UK universities within the Digital Economy Network (DEN)  in attendance.










This year, theInspire, Programme, Develop  event was delivered over a two and a half days between  Sunday 1 July to Tuesday 3 July 2018, at the stunning Italian Villa venue in Compton Acres, Poole, near Bournemouth, with an opening BBQ networking evening  on the Sunday evening at the Urban Reef Seafront Restaurant and Beach Bar overlooking Boscombe Pier.

Photo montage by @CDT_EI

Over 100 delegates from five EPSRC Digital Economy CDTs, benefited from  a  rich and varied programme of keynote talks, workshops, networking and social activities. These included Digital Economy PhD students from the following Universities:

  • University of Bath
  • Bournemouth University
  • Goldsmiths University of London
  • Heriot-Watt University
  • Loughborough University
  • Loughborough University London
  • Queen Mary University of London
  • University of Nottingham
  • University of Southampton
  • University of York.

Overnight hotel accommodation was provided for CDT delegates  in Bournemouth town centre, with organised coaches taking attendees from their hotels to the Italian Villa each morning and returning delegates after the days activities.

Delegates in the Introduction to creating VR content in Unity workshop









Monday 2 July

After being collected from their hotels via coach, delegates received welcome refreshments on arrival at the Italian Villa in Poole. Professor Peter Hall, Director of the Centre for Digital Entertainment, of the University of Bath, first officially opened the Summer School and welcomed attendees to the venue.

Professor Iain MacRury, Deputy Dean – Research and Professional Practice at Bournemouth University had also kindly agreed to give a welcome talk and gave delegates a flavour of what was to come over the next two days.

Dr Sue Black OBE and Kish Hirani, CTO of Terra Virtua provided opening keynotes and Q&A sessions.

When registering for the event, PhD students had opted for one of three available  half-day generic research skills workshops  to attend on the Monday afternoon. The options were Project Managing your PhD,  Research communication, public speaking, improvisation and comedy techniques, and Presenting Your Research With Impact.

Above: Gefion Thuermer – leading the Project Managing your PhD workshop








Attendees then returned to their hotel to get ready for an evening welcome drink in the beautiful courtyard at the Italian Villa, followed by a 3-course dinner.  Many delegates then proceeded to the downstairs bar and function area, where a resident DJ provided music to dance to until 11.30pm.

Tuesday 3 July

Day two of the Summer School involved attendees participating in a full-day workshop of their choice, which they had chosen from the options of Kaggle, Linking the Physical and the Virtual, and an Introduction to Unity.

At 4pm, the organisers brought the delegates together for a final closing session, and prizes were given out from two of the workshops. Congratulations to Gergely Hantos and Matthew Smith of the Embedded Intelligence CDT who won Amazon vouchers in the Kaggle Competition  and  the Bright Club Southampton workshops.

Group photo on at Urban Reef on Boscombe Beach

Catch up with the action:


DEN would like to thank staff and students at the Centre for Digital Entertainment of Bournemouth University and the University of Bath  for organising and hosting the Summer School. Particular extended thanks go to Zoe Leonard and Rebecca Knight as main organisers.

Thank you also to the Keynote Speakers and Workshop Leaders for sharing their expertise and experience to attendees.





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