Report – Sustaining UK Animation

Posted on: Wednesday 04 July 2018 11:36pm by Simon Bor

What will the industry look like in the next two to three years? Kate O’Connor of Animation UK asked the panel for their realistic as well as optimistic views.


  • There’s life after Brexit, but we have to work on it.
  • Utopia is what we should be aiming for.
  • University is a place for critical thinkers as well as training.


Phil Dobree (Jellyfish Productions) said that there was nothing positive about Brexit. Every good thing that was happening in the industry was despite of it. Everyone is hungry for content. He advocated getting things created and made in the UK, stating it seemed strange that IP from UK was being produced abroad while studios worked for hire on overseas projects. Utopia is what we should be aiming at. He believes that rather than 700 animation students coming out each year it should be half that number, fit for purpose.

Marcus Kenyon (Finger Industries) said they were a small studio who interview applicants from across the EU. It was important to continue to foster diversity in the industry. Since the Brexit vote, they have shifted their focus from London, where most of their work came from, to the US. They are keeping buoyant by looking abroad. He said that there was life after Brexit but it has to be worked on.

Jon Rennie (Bait Studio/Cloth Cat Animation/Thud Media) saw lots of positivity ahead, despite of Brexit. He believed that it is easy for universities to set up animation courses, but that just looking at theory was not enough. Industry is having to train graduates who come out £50k in debt and thought apprenticeships might be a better way. He said that people came to Britain and Wales because of quality but he did worry that other countries may use Brexit as an opportunity to move beyond the UK.

Sarah Ann Kennedy-Parr defended universities. Course leader of MA Animation at UCLAN, she said that animation courses had to be self-funding, they were relatively expensive and so had to take more students. She said that a lot of people who run the courses have come from industry in the first place. She also thought that university was a place for critical thinkers. She would like to see more engagement with industry through the use of sandwich courses, with students getting practical experience.

Gareth Elis-Unwin (Creative Skillset) comes from a production background and wanted to hear the voice of the industry. Creative Skillset is looking to create 10,000 screen workers by 2022 and accredit 200 courses in HE. They have a trainee finder programme and manage the careers of young people for a year with three placements. He said there was not a single silver bullet to solve all problems.

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Simon Bor

About the author

Simon Bor


Simon studied Animation at Farnham, and, more recently, was awarded an MA in Professional Writing from Falmouth University. He set up Honeycomb Animation with Sara Bor and has been involved in children’s television since the mid 1980s. As a writer, Simon has co-written and created several shows including Milkshake’s 'Funky Valley'. As a director and… Read more