Research activities

Publications, Academic research, Projects, Events

Publications    books

Recovering the history, culture and significance of animation through critical analysis, theoretical enquiry and practice-led research.
Major Publications include:

Halas & Batchelor Cartoons: An Animated History (Southbank Publishing) 2006 – A collaboration by Professor Paul Wells with Vivien Halas and the Halas & Batchelor Collection, and the Animation Research Centre, UCCA, Farnham.

Basics Animation
– a collaboration between AVA Academia and the Animation Academy to produce practice-based, practice-led research titles, including:

Fundamentals of Animation (Professor Paul Wells) 2006, an overview of animation production from First thought to Festival, including contributions from seven Animation Academy lecturers and practitioners; Barry Purves, Gerald Scarfe, Minoru Maeda, Brownbag, Pixar Animation, Hibbert Ralph, Chris Shepherd, Suzie Hanna, Koji Yamamura, Eric Fogel, Mike Frierson, Elizabeth Hobbs. Maureen Sellwood and Seed Animation.[also published in German, Spanish, Russian,Polish and Chinese]

Digital Animation (Andrew Chong) 2008, a historical overview and analysis of digital animation, including works by Pixar Animation, Marc Craste, Al + Al, Christin Bolewski, Rod Lord, and the National Space Centre, UK.[also published in Spanish]

Drawing for Animation (Professor Paul Wells) 2009 – a collaboration with internationally renown, multi-award winning director Joanna Quinn, addressing both classical and non-classical approaches to drawing, including contributions from Frederic Back, Michael Dudok de Wit, Luis Cook, Bill Plympton, Deanna Marsigliese, Michel Ocelot, Paul Driessen, Gerrit Van Dyck, Peter Parr, Tim Fernee, Curtis Jobling, Let Me Feel Your Finger First, Supinfocom, and Richard Reeves. [Also published in Spanish and Chinese]

Re-Imagining Animation: The Changing Face of Moving Images (Professor Paul Wells and Johnny Hardstaff) 2009 – a collaboration addressing the ways in which animation has now become understood as central to moving image practice and production, with contributions from Pierre Hebert, Joanna Priestley, Marjane Satrapi, Don Hertzfeldt, Miriam Thyes, PES, Eric Dyer, Peter Tscherkassky and Steve Reinke.

Animation in Process (Lawrence King) 2009 : Andrew Selby – a case study approach to state of the art contemporary animation, including contributions from Paul Bush, Semiconductor, Run Wrake, Smith & Foulkes, Suzie Templeton, Clyde Henry Productions, Frank Flothmann and the Lycette Brothers.

The Animated Bestiary: Animals, Cartoons, Culture (Rutgers University Press) 2010 : Professor Paul Wells – a critical assessment of the representation of animals in animation, both from the point of view of practitioners, and through the lens of a variety of theoretical approaches from Animal Studies, Philosophy, Social and Cultural History, and Film & Media Studies.

Aspect: The Chronicle of New Media Vol 15 : Influence and Reference (2010)

Christin Bolewski presents her work ‘Mountain-water-painting’ with a commentary by Professor Paul Wells

Character Animation (with Glen Keane and Joanna Quinn) (Animation Academy in association with BFI Live, Nov 2011)


Postgraduate work and professional research is a key characteristic of the work of the Animation Academy. Postgraduate students have both University pages and sometimes, their own websites.

Sarra Hornby Visual Arts and Animation
Experimental Animation & Research
Commercial Illustration . Animation . Art Direction

Samantha Moore

Tariq Alrimawi


CROSS-DISCIPLINARY ACCESS AND APPLICATION : Testing the role, function and definition of animation in a range of research contexts and production environments ie design and technology; performance art; engineering and sport, often using the Animation Academy’s Motion Capture rig.

PRODUCTION AND EXHIBITION : Revealing the process and outcomes of animation as an entertainment, an educator, an industrial model, and an art in a range of productions and commissions.

Production includes :

Animation Nation (BBC Productions)
Animation Nation

Object React : Films of Response (onedotzero; Institute of Contemporary Arts; Victoria & Albert Museum)

Time Shift : Oliver Postgate: A Life in Small Films (BBC Productions)

Fab Four to Ethel and Ernest : A Tribute to John Coates and TVC (BAF Productions)
John Coates

Bradford Animation Festival Stings 2009 (Bradford Animation Festival)
BAF logo

Someone I Know Has Died (Child Bereavement Agency) [Pre-production]
StoryBoard frame

Taking the Country Road : The Film Craft of Tony Fish (BAF Productions)
Tony Fish Doc

The Oil Kid (AGR Group / DGS Norway)
Oil museum

Inside The Green Book : The Life and Animation of Geoff Dunbar (BAF Productions)
Geoff Dunbar

Watch Me Move : The Animation Show (Barbican, London) [Curatorial Team]
Watch Me Move

An Animated Utopia : The Life and Achievement of John Halas (BAF Productions)
John Hallas



John Grace CoferenceIn 2007, the Animation Academy hosted the John Grace Memorial Conference: The Art of British CGI The Conference programme, featuring essays and information is available for the submission of a first class stamped addressed envelope to Professor Paul Wells.

Space In 2009, the Animation Academy, Julia Bracegirdle and the National Space Centre, Leicester, hosted Animating Space, a symposium dedicated to the analysis of representations of space from the perspective of astronomers, scientists and media analysts. The Symposium featured the National Space Centre’s new panoramic dome show, ‘Astronauts’.

ABACIn 2010, the Animation Academy, in association with BAFTA, the BFI, and the National Media Museum, launched the Association of British Media Collections (ABAC) with a specialist audience of archivists, animation studios, and commercial sponsors.

ABAC2014, Animation Academy chaired the Animation and Public Engagement symposium in association with the Bradford Animation Festival.

ABAC ABAC In 2017, the Animation Academy, National Football Museum and Hotel Football will open The Beautiful Frame, an exhibition and symposium that will explore the relationship between sport and animation, video games and other models of virtual experience.


The Animation Academy is on the Steering Groups for two major British Animation Festivals. It works with colleagues at the University of Teesside on the annual Animex International Festival of Computer Animation and Games and with the Festival Director at the former Bradford Animation Festival. Both festivals have seen some of the major figures and studios in contemporary animation participate in their programmes in recent years including Nick Park, Al Jean from The Simpsons, Pritt Parn, Max Howard, Eric Goldberg, Pixar Animation, LAIKA, Dreamworks SKG, Framestore, MPC, Double Negative, WETA, Blue Sky and Sony Imageworks.

The Animation Academy has also been a member of The British Cartoon Forum, participated in the work of the Society for Animation Studies worldwide, and regularly collaborates with the Netherlands Institute for Animation Film and Visual Audio Fonds, Belgium.

ANIMATED CONVERSATIONS : Providing a critical forum for debates defining and progressing the field of animation through panels, seminars, and open lectures.
Speakers have included :

  Andy Blazdell
Andy Blazdell
Iain Harvey
Iain Harvey
(Illuiminated Films)
Peter Lord
Peter Lord
(Aardman Animation)
Dave McKean
Dave McKean
(Illustrator and Director)
  Andy Schmidt
Andy Schmidt
(DreamWorks Animation)
Tim Searle
Tim Searle
(Baby Cow Animation)
Kitty Taylor
Kitty Taylor
(Tiger Aspect)
Johnny Hardstaff
Johnny Hardstaff
(Director and Designer)

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