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Professor Simon Robertshaw

Dean of School

Dean of the School of Arts and Creative Industries

  • EB 3.01, Docklands Campus
    School of Arts and Digital Industries (ADI)
    University of East London
    Docklands Campus
    E16 2RD

    Creativity has always been a passion for Simon. His early career as an artist gave Simon a breadth, and knowledge, of working and collaborating at various scales.

    Having trained in Fine Art, he moved from Liverpool to London in the mid 1980s to embark on a Masters at the Royal College of Art. His passion for video and mixed-media art forms led to a number of exhibitions and works that addressed social and community based issues. The 80s gave birth to a wave of new artists engaged in making video shorts and his work thrived in a mix of social change and technological development.

    He created video works and then music for a number of Channel 4 documentaries utilising the latest sampling technology that would eventually give birth to the revolution in video and music production. 

    He came to prominence as a creative interactive artist exhibiting in major galleries around the world. Most notably he was shortlisted for the Imaginaria Award in 1998 and received many commissions including work from the Wellcome Trust that same year.

    As an academic he created the first MA Creative Technology programme in the UK for the University of Salford, aimed at bringing together technologists and artists.

    In 2000 he embarked on a new role at the International Centre for Digital Content as Head of Research, developing creative new media solutions across a number of technologies within cultural, creative and commercial sectors.  In 2003 he became Director of ICDC and led new initiatives in incubation, research and academia. 

    The move to Uclan in 2007 started a whole new chapter for Simon. As founder of Sandbox, he led an elite team of technologists, creatives and facilitators to a unique proposition.  The client base and impact was significant, working with everyone from large public sector and global consultancy groups to local communities.

    Throughout his career, Simon’s core values and principles are maintained by building and empowering people which requires integrity, trust and respect with all parties. Simon believes that true innovation is the ability to build teams that work together in a creative way to find solutions to real problems.

    art film installation

    1998-2001     Foundation for Art and Creative Technology. Board of Directors

    1998-2001     External Examiner MA/MSc Interactive Media, University of Limerick

    2001-2003     External Examiner European Media Masters of Art, University of Portsmouth.

    2001-2006     External Examiner European Media Masters of Art, HKU, Holland.

    2004-2007     Board member of the Greater Merseyside Digital Development Agency.


    2006 -2009           External examiner for NEWI on MA Computer Graphics, MA Animation.

    2007-2010            External Examiner for MA Media Enterprise Birmingham City University

    2007 -2010           Member of the European Think Tank on Digital Content.

    2009-2010            External examiner on Norwegian Artistic research Fellowship programme at Bergen National Academy of Arts.

    2010-                   Member of the Royal Society of Arts.

    2011                    External Examiner for the Austrian Science Fund.

    2011-                   Member of the Institute of Directors

    2011-2015            Board of Governors for the Hackney University Technology College, London



    Much of my earlier artistic career focused on Gallery and Community-based activity, exhibiting and collaborating within the context of video/new media installation where I achieved recognition both nationally and internationally, exhibiting at Tate Liverpool, ICA London, A Space, Toronto, amongst others. Most notably I was shortlisted for the Imaginaria Award in 1998 and received many commissions including work from the Wellcome Trust in 1998. During this time I taught at HE level developing a new MA Creative Technology for the University of Salford. My focus changed in 2000 when I was appointed Head of Research at the International Centre for Digital Content at Liverpool John Moores University, developing creative solutions across a number of technologies within cultural, creative and commercial sectors. This appointment was made on the basis of my experience in the development of new media practices and pedagogical application. 

    I have recognition internationally being an advisor to the Austrian Science Fund from 2011. I sat on the European Think Tank for Digital Content from 2006 -2010. More recently I was asked by the British Council to present at the Creating Prosperity; Talent development for the Creative Economy in Hong Kong.

    Much of my artistic background has informed my academic career, personal development and more lately creative and production methodologies that I have utilised in an academic/enterprise setting. As founding Director of Sandbox, Centre for Digital and Creative Industries in 2006 I worked and provided creative solutions for a wide variety of large organisations from McKinsey through to the NHS. It is my experience both within academia and industry that provides me with a unique approach to working in a University environment.

    Sandbox the Centre for Creative and Digital had ten staff working across creative technology and facilitation.  I developed Sandbox as a creative change agent that enables organisations and communities to find solutions through innovative facilitation and cutting-edge technologies. I worked with a variety of sectors ranging from large corporate to local communities. I brought together creative and collaborative learning models gained from much of my experience in academia and artistic life that provided the basis for this unique approach and facility. Sandbox worked with a variety of corporates from HSBC to the Arts Council. 



    2012 Licence of RED to Saudi Aramco £50,000

    2010 -2012 Licence of RED technology to McKinsey & Company £200,000

    2011 -2012 Red Application development for McKinsey & Company £40,000

    From facilitated workshops approximately £1 million sterling.

    Clients for Sandbox have included:

    Arts Council. Association of Business Schools. BBC. Business Link. Creative Lancashire. Direct Selling Association. Forever Living. The Guardian. Haymarket Publishing. Kleeneze. NHS Primary Care Trust. Halton Borough Council. Merseyside Police. Nuclear research Institute. NWUA Pamperchef. Preston Guild. The School of Pharmacy. School of Education and Social Science. Skillset. Sky News. The Times Online. Trinity Mirror. University of East London. University of Wales

    2009-2011 EPSRC funded project “Bespoke: increasing social inclusion through community journalism and bespoke Design” in collaboration with University College Falmouth, Newcastle University and the University of Dundee. £200,000

    2009-2010 Infuze, Multi-platform journalism programme Northwest Vision and Media, £140,000

    2009-2010 Higher Level Skills Partnership Award Cross Platform Content (NWUA) £88,000

    2010-2012 NHS Care Contract for a series of workshops on Dual Diagnosis, £114,000

    2008-2010 Cultural Mapping Project for Lancashire County Council, £98,000

    2006 Commercial contract for the BBC live Events. New interactive work for Tennis and World Cup featured on Big Screens in Birmingham, Leeds, Hull and Liverpool.

    Kenton O'Hara, Maxine Glancy, Simon Robertshaw (2008) ‘Understanding collective play in an urban screen game’ . CSCW '08: Proceedings of the 2008 ACM conference on Computer supported cooperative work.

    2005 Kensington Vision. Interactive television pilot community project, (£700,000) Funded by Northwest Development Agency. This two year project was in partnership with South Liverpool Housing and Sun Microsystems. The project was one of the first in the country to deliver interactive broadband digital TV content to communities in Garston and Speke in Liverpool

    Robertshaw, S. (2005) ‘Kensington Vision, broadband Television and its impact on communities’. Creative Clusters Conference Belfast, October 2005

    2003-2005 Vmule, education learning game Funded by Nesta Future Learning Lab, (£60,000) This project explored the notion of gaming and learning aimed at secondary school children

    2002-2004 Mobilearn, fifth framework project. The research explored next generation paradigms and interfaces for technology supported learning in a mobile environment (£60,000).

    2002-04 LAND, is primarily a means of visualising rich information. Mapping data and database data are combined and displayed as immersive virtual environments on a variety of digital devices. This project worked closely with partners from Ordnance Survey and Renderware

    Funded by the NWDA Broadband fund (£150,000)

    2002-2004 Eurocitizen, Fifth Framework Project (£110,000). The project developed an interactive, on-line multimedia edutainment environment which is both inherently multilingual and multicultural that aims to promote, through the power of entertainment, European awareness amongst the citizens of Europe.

    2002-2004 Breast Cancer Care 2 year project (£98,000)

    The project looked at wireless technology in order to provide breast cancer patients with personalised, educational information to enable them to make informed decisions about their treatment and care.

    Funded by the PPP Foundation

    N., Keen, A., Wood, J, Robertshaw, S. (2003) - ‘The Development of Mobile Applications for Patient Education’. IN Proceedings of Designing for User Experience, DUX2003 San Francisco, USA. 5-7 June 2003

    Wood, J. Price, G. Laird, D. Robertshaw S. (2002) ‘Mobile Devices for Breast Cancer Care – A Personalised Education Information Profiling System (PEIPS)’. IN: Proceedings of European Workshop on Mobile and contextual Learning, 20-21June 2002, UK
    art room