Postgraduate coursesAreas of Expertise and Engagement with External Professionals

Course Overview

Professor Paul Ward

Paul Ward’s research interests are in the fields of animation and documentary film and television, with specific interest in production cultures and communities of practice, animation pedagogy, and animation and memory. Published work includes articles for the journals animation: an interdisciplinary journal, Animation Journal, and the Historical Journal for Film, Radio and Television, as well as numerous anthology essays. Paul is also the author of Documentary: The Margins of Reality (Wallflower Press, 2005) and TV Genres: Animation (Edinburgh University Press, forthcoming; co-authored with Nichola Dobson). He serves on the Editorial Boards of animation: an interdisciplinary journal, Animation: Practice, Production & Process and Animation Studies and is a member of the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council Peer Review College with special interest in animation and documentary research proposals. Paul is the current President of the Society for Animation Studies www.animationstudies.org.

Peter Symons

Peter Symons is the Course Leader for the AUB’s internationally-renowned BA (Hons) Animation Production. His main teaching specialism is the discipline of drawing and visualisation – one of the core skills central to the ethos of the AUB’s traditional 2D drawn approach to animation education. Peter is also involved in teaching the importance of operating within a team to enable film production and helps students develop this key transferable skill. His research interests revolve around how animation intersects with Fine Art practice, in particular in relation to notions of temporality.

Paul Hilton

Paul Hilton lectures in several areas including 2D animation principles, life drawing and in teaching 3D computer animation techniques. Paul also works extensively with the industry in the Professional Development units at BA and MA level.

Paul’s research interests have informed his practice in teaching the transference of traditional animation skills to a 3D computer environment. He has presented his research at the Society for Animation Studies conferences held at AUB (2008) and Athens, Greece (2011). He ongoingly works with industry partners, training on software tools which informs his teaching. This has included developing links with Escape studios to integrate latest industry standard software and training tools to the animation department. This industry liaison – including work with a studio in China – forms a major part of Paul’s research activity and professional development, and informs his teaching. Paul Hilton also works as a practising animator and artist within the creative industries and has worked on television commercials and promotional artwork for several studios. Paul’s most recent research practice centred on his MA in animation where he produced a short animated film, using a variety of media and techniques. The MA work explored themes of the ‘uncanny’ and the unsettling feeling of ‘recognition’ when watching something that’s not real.

Dr Tom Walsh

Tom graduated from the European School of Classical Animation at Ballyfermot Senior College, Dublin in 1994.

He has worked professionally as a special effects artist for the Don Bluth Studio in Ireland and for the Walt Disney Studio in France, contributing to feature films such as The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996), Hercules (1997) and Tarzan (1999).

He also graduated with a BA (Hons) degree in Cultural Studies from the Norwich School of Art and Design in 2002, and with a PhD from Loughborough University School of Art and Design in 2009.

He has published articles on animation practice in The Fundamentals of Animation (2006), and aspects of Irish animation history in Place and Memory in the New Ireland (2009), Contemporary Irish Film (2011) and Animation : An Interdisciplinary Journal (2012). His research interests centre on representations of Irish culture in animation, and visual effects in traditional 2D animation.

The Animation team have extensive contacts at national and international level in industry, research and knowledge transfer. Staff are active in the international Society for Animation Studies and embedded within various scholarly and professional organizations. This puts them at the cutting edge of animation-related activities in the UK and overseas. Specific expertise ranges across modes of animation: traditional 2D/drawn, CG/3D/computer, and stop motion, as well as work that synthesizes them, or examines more experimental and challenging approaches.

The Animation team are active members of the International VFX Hub Bournemouth, a partnership between AUB and Bournemouth University. The Hub is working towards becoming the leading Animation and Visual Effects centre in the UK, drawing together research, practice and knowledge transfer in the field. Alongside the clear international track records of the HEIs involved, the Hub has support from industry partners including Framestore, Double Negative, MPC and Cinesite. The annual ‘BFX’ Festival and related events (e.g. competition) are a focal point for activities and professional engagement.

Other engagement with external professionals includes a close working relationship with Aardman Animations, Glory & Dream (Nanjing, China) and a number of smaller boutique studios such as Karrot Entertainment, Gamesys and Fabrique D’Images (Luxembourg). The Animation team are experienced in dealing with the logistics of placements and working through how students’ requirements can be met via professional engagement.