Prof. Gregory Sporton MA PhD

Professor of Digital Culture & Creativity (from Jan, 2013)

New Post, developing interdisciplinary research in creative arts practice and computing, with CCA and CMS schools at the University of Greenwich. Press Release from Greenwich is here and there was a brief report in the THE appointments section.

Professor since February 2011.

With my research collaborator Jonathan Green, I have been securing a patent for a motion capture/HCI device, MotivePro that is shortly to be completed, with grants to acquire the patent and to exploit the opportunities in the arts, health and technology sectors for its application.

My research publications are based around my previous work with the VRU, but also include articles about dance, a subject to which I invariably find myself returning given my background. I still occasionally perform, though usually now in relation to research. I am also Review Editor for Scene.


The Sporton Professorial Inaugural Lecture

I was appointed a Prof at Birmingham City University in February, 2011. I gave my professorial inaugural lecture there at the Birmingham Conservatoire, Birmingham City University on Tuesday, Nov 1st, 2011. Link to video material and the paper from the Lecture.

Previous Employment
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2005-2012: Director, Visualisation Research Unit, School of Art, Birmingham City University

My work as Director of the VRU involved the support and application of new technologies in the visual and performing arts.

During my period as founding Director, I was responsible for the development of research facilities, research staff, securing funding and linking the work of the VRU to the University’s research strategy, as well as pursuing my own research interests. Included in this has been the development of the MA Digital Arts in Performance, a programme that has attracted UK and international students, as well as the MA Arts & Project Management, developed to enable a new generation of arts professionals.




In 2008, as part of a collaboration with the Arts Council, I became Chair of STATE, now an RFO of the Arts Council. STATE operates the acclaimed Eastside Projects gallery space and the VRUdio, an HD video, animation and sound facility designed to provide research infrastructure for local arts companies as well as commercial hire, on behalf of BCU. It is one only a handful of HEI/Arts Council England jointly funded permanent projects.

Recruited to University of Central England (now BCU) in 2002 as Head of School, Performance & Moving Image, Department of Visual Communications, Birmingham Institute of Art & Design. This School included Theatre Design, Moving Image & Multimedia Design, as well as MA Scenography. During four years in the Visual Communications Department my role was regularly extended to include areas like research, quality assurance, new course development and overseas course development.


1999–2001 Head of Research & Graduate Studies, Laban Centre London I oversaw the reform and redevelopment of the Graduate School, to focus on new institutional priorities determined by a new building programme. This meant a thorough review and reorientation of the provision with a practical focus, where I successfully validated M level programmes in Choreography, Performance and Dance Science, the latter two the first of their type in the UK, that have proven very durable. During this period I also rationalised and revalidated its Research Degrees programme, creating the platform for many students to go on to practice-led research degrees. I have fairly extensive experience of PhD supervision, including contributions to health science-based doctorates.


with Suzanne Adair at Human Veins Dance Theatre


1996-1999 Dance Studies Subject Leader University of Wolverhampton. Founded the Dance Studies department and developed to a full honours programme, attracting 90 students per year. Seconded onto the Steering Group for the development of a new faculty for the University, now the very successful School of Sports, Performing Arts and Leisure (SPAL), and acted as its Associate Dean during the period of selecting and appointing an inaugural Dean. This included negotiating demerger of subject areas, staff and students from existing structures, the establishment of a management team, chairing Quality Assurance Committee, and developing new programmes for the new School.

1992-1995 Lecturer in Dance, Coventry Centre for the Performing Arts, Coventry, U.K., entry level position teaching dance technique, choreography, community dance and anatomy.

1985-1994 Professional dance career performing with companies and in independent projects across a large variety of forms and contexts. Work included spells with English National Opera, Nexus Dance Company, Human Veins Dance Theatre, Het Muziektheater, Opera Restor’d, Small Axe Dance Company and more.

Institutional Roles and External Responsibilities

PhD Supervision of students in diverse areas of digital technology practice in the Arts. Membership of Institutional Research bodies at all levels.

2009-2012, External Examiner, MA Digital Culture and Technology, Kings College London.
2009-Present, External Examiner, BA (Hons) Multimedia Design, Nottingham Trent University.
2006-2012, Member of the Management Team, Department of Art, BIAD
2004-2007, Consultant, Animazoo Motion Capture, on development of new products, corporate spokesman and accessing new markets.
2003- 2007, Board Member, VIVID, Birmingham, representing commercial development opportunities in the Arts sector.
1993-2000 Birmingham Royal Ballet, Education Advisory Committee.

Training & Education
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PhD University of Sheffield 1999
MA Arts Education & Cultural Studies, University of Warwick 1996
Dip A (Dance), Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne, Australia 1985
Medici Fellow, Creating Enterprise in Universities 2004-05
Diploma in Russian Language, Moscow State University 2006

Arts & Business Creative Training & Development Programme, 2006.
Prince 2 Project Management Foundation Level, 2008.

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