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Wanted: polymaths

13 September 2013
Wanted: polymaths

The chair of one of the UK’s largest production companies has urged training bodies to start producing graduates who are as comfortable with science and technology as they are with arts and humanities to fuel Europe’s digital economy.

Former Granada boss Steve Morrison, now chair of ‘superindie’ All3Media, has called for an end to arts/science divide at universities to pave way for a more polymaths – “a new breed of renaissance men and women”.

“When I was at university the scientists were in different halls to the humanity students and TV editorial departments were populated by arts graduates – the only engineers we came across were usually there to fix the lift,” he said.

“But the creative industries in the digital economy need a hybrid of computer programming, art and design, business studies, technology to create content for the future, “ he added.

Morrison told delegates attending IBC keynote session ‘Beyond Broadcasting’ that he first started to see the benefits of an arts/science fusion while he was working in satellite TV in the early 90s.

“We flew over to Seattle to have brainstorms with Bill Gates and it was a real meeting of minds between UK artists and US scientists.”

According to Morrison over 20% of All3’s sales are now from its digital programming and, speaking on his firm’s ventures in the digital space he pointed to the newly launched US quiz show format for NBC, Million Second Quiz.

The 24/7 gameshow that gives viewers playing along at home via an app the opportunity to fly to New York and play the game in the ‘studio’ – a giant glass bubble.

The playalong app for the heavily promoted show is currently number one free download at the iTunes store and during the show 1,000 viewers a minute downloaded the app – momentarily crashing the system.

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