Professor sets out on creative mission

Date of release: Monday, December 17, 2012

Professor Gregory SportonA passion for bringing together expertise in the arts, computing and technology is inspiring the University of Greenwich’s new Professor of Digital Creativity.

Gregory Sporton, who joins in January from Birmingham City University, has spent much of his academic career researching the impact of new technology on the visual and performing arts. He is a former professional dancer and has also researched the history of ballet in Soviet times.

He is excited about introducing a new and original focus on the arts to Greenwich. “I aim to gather together the expertise we have in so many disciplines, such as creative arts, computing, visualisation and all the rest, and make something new and interesting,” Professor Sporton says.

“The arts and sciences are drawn more closely together by technology: there is less differentiation than people think, and at Greenwich I want to build a research environment to explore that.

“Greenwich is a fantastic part of London, with a culture all its own: we have lots of arts organisations on our doorstep with whom we can work. That will be great for students, and great for the local community.” 

His appointment is part of an ongoing programme of investment by the University of Greenwich in leading academic talent, as part of its ambitious strategy to achieve excellence in research, teaching and enterprise. Greenwich aims to become a top 50 national and Top 10 London university by 2017. Further professorial posts are being created in other subject disciplines across the university.

Professor Tom Barnes, the university’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research & Enterprise, says: “We are delighted that Professor Sporton is joining the University of Greenwich. His research is exciting and well-recognised internationally as top-class.

“With his previous professional experience, Professor Sporton combines very pragmatic and innovative approaches that will ensure substantial impact in this field, while at the same time fitting very well with our research agenda.”

Professor Sporton is founding Director of the Visualisation Research Unit at Birmingham City University, where he was responsible for the development of research facilities and staff. He also has a strong track record of securing major research funding from organisations including the Arts Council.

He set up an MA Digital Arts in Performance programme at Birmingham, which has attracted UK and international students, as well as an MA Arts & Project Management degree, which has helped to train a new generation of arts professionals.

The professional dance career that Professor Sporton first embarked on included spells with English National Opera and Nexus Dance Company.

He has also been Head of Research at Laban Centre London, now Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, based at the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich.

Story by Public Relations

Picture: Professor Gregory Sporton.