School of Digital Arts building gets planning go-ahead

Plans for the new School of Digital Arts (SODA) building have been given the green light by Manchester City Council.

The development is Manchester Metropolitan University’s groundbreaking new interdisciplinary school for creative digital storytelling. Approved by the Planning and Highways Committee, SODA opens in 2021.

A £35m investment into workspaces, networks, teaching and research, SODA will support the urgent and growing demand for skilled workers in the region’s creative and digital industries.

The five-storey SODA building will be located on Higher Chatham Street, adjacent to Manchester School of Art in the Benzie Building, the Students’ Union and Salutation pub.

It will provide space for a digital innovation lab, green screens, edit suites, screening space, a media gallery, sound and music studios and production studios.

The front of the building will feature an integrated LED light wall, which could illuminate static images, videos, and digital work produced by students.

Architects Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios (FCBStudios) – the same practice behind the award-winning Benzie Building – have drawn up designs for the building.

From 2021, SODA will produce over 1000 graduates annually with expertise in disciplines that span film, animation, UX design, photography, games design, AI and more, often working on live projects with industry partners.

Students will choose from a flexible mix of courses designed with those partners: undergraduate, postgraduate and research degrees that run alongside degree apprenticeships, summer schools and short courses.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Malcolm Press said: “Our new School of Digital Arts will drive the next generation of creative talent, meeting the demands of the growing digital economy both regionally, nationally and internationally. We believe that there is nothing in the UK that matches the school in terms of scale, vision and ambition.

“SODA is a fantastic addition to the University’s world-class creative offering, sitting alongside Manchester School of Art and the Manchester Writing School, and building on our existing strength in technology, innovation and working hand-in-hand with industry.”

Greater Manchester’s digital and creative sector is growing faster than anywhere else in the UK outside London, employing more than 82,000 people and generating over £4.1bn per annum.

TNT Education

Photo Credit: Manchester Metropolitan University


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