International Animation Conference Comes to Teesside
SAS Conference POSTER

Global experts in animation are due to converge on Teesside University from across the world this summer to share their knowledge.

The 33rd Society for Animation Studies (SAS) Conference will bring together around 200 international delegates, including animation scholars and practitioners, to share and present their research.

Held at a different international location each year, the SAS Conference has only taken place in the UK a handful of times and Teesside University is one of just a few UK universities to have been chosen to host the prestigious event.

The SAS Conference will be hosted from 26 June to 3 July, building on Teesside University’s international reputation for animation and further enhancing relationships already cultivated through the University’s own Animex event.

Animex, which marked its 21st year in 2020, is an annual celebration of animation, games and visual effects which attracts the cream of the animation and gaming worlds to Teesside.

Over the years, Animex has attracted guests such as Nancy Cartwright, the voice of Bart Simpson, and visual effects legend Ray Harryhausen. More recently, Animex has brought to Teesside experts who have worked on a plethora of blockbuster movies and shows from the Lord of the Rings trilogy to the Star Wars and Jurassic Park films, Toy Story and Game of Thrones. Big games industry names have included Grand Theft Auto creators Rockstar Games, to Blizzard Entertainment who are behind World of Warcraft, to Assassin’s Creed creators Ubisoft.

SAS Conference delegates will also be able to enjoy elements of the University’s Animex Fringe, including expert talks, screenings, exhibitions and other events as part of the SAS Conference programme.

The theme this year for the SAS Conference is ‘animation unlocked’, which will examine how the pandemic has caused everyone to stop, isolate and innovate, as the world gradually continues to reanimate.

Conference proposals are currently being reviewed from animation scholars across the globe on a variety of subjects, from cultural reflections and identity to philosophy in animation, to exploring innovative practices and experimental approaches.

Katherine O’Connor, Senior Lecturer in Computer Animation in the University’s School of Computing, Engineering & Digital Technologies, said: “Hosting this conference will enhance the academic reputation of our already world leading animation and games courses.

“It’s a prestigious international event, hosted each year by a specially selected university, with locations in recent years including America and Singapore. It will bring, pandemic permitting, a number of international animation academics to Teesside from other universities across the globe which will also help to provide a real boost to the local economy.

“We’re proud to be teaming up with Animex to incorporate a range of Animex Fringe events into the SAS Conference programme to showcase the calibre and vast range of animation greats we continue to work with.”

Professor Chrisina Jayne, Dean of the University’s School of Computing, Engineering & Digital Technologies, said: “We are delighted that Teesside University has been selected to host the SAS Conference. Hosting this event will build on the fantastic reputation for animation which the University has already established, not only through its courses, facilities and successful graduates to the international links already created through Animex.”

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