Victoria University centre to open in the heart of the Miramar creative industry

A new state-of-the-art facility in the heart of Miramar's film sector will be established through a collaboration between Victoria University of Wellington and Miramar Creative Ltd, directed by Weta companies Co-founder Jamie Selkirk.

Professor Frazer Allan from Victoria and Kristy Grant and Jamie Selkirk from Miramar Creative stand looking at the camera
Professor Frazer Allan from Victoria and Kristy Grant and Jamie Selkirk from Miramar Creative.

Victoria staff and students will craft their own film, sound design/music, visual effects and multimedia projects at the Victoria University of Wellington – Miramar Creative Centre, to be located at 133 Park Road, Miramar.

The new centre will be high-tech, with green screens, motion capture and new computer labs equipped with the same software that is being used by film production companies around the world.

Staff from the Weta Group Of Companies, including Park Road Post Production, will contribute to course delivery in programmes taught at the Centre and provide support to students as part of the course connections to industry. There will also be additional lecture spaces provided at the Roxy Cinema in Miramar.

Richard Taylor, CEO and Co-founder of Weta Workshop, says he “welcomes Victoria University to the Miramar creative community and looks forward to future collaborations”.

The Centre will initially be the base for two of Victoria’s Master’s programmes—the Master of Design Technology and the Master of Fine Arts (Creative Practice).

The Master of Design Technology, delivered by Victoria’s School of Design, is offered through the Wellington ICT Graduate School, established as part of the Government’s drive to train more ICT graduates. The Master of Fine Arts (Creative Practice) is an interdisciplinary programme taught collaboratively through Victoria’s School of English, Film, Theatre and Media Studies, School of Design and New Zealand School of Music.

Students studying other Master’s programmes at Victoria, including computer graphics programmes, may also use the facilities at the creative centre further down the track, encouraging collaborations across a range of disciplines.

Brendan Keys, Human Resources Head at Weta Digital, is enthusiastic about extending Weta Digital’s relationship with Victoria University.

“Since the establishment of the Weta Digital graduate scholarship in 2013, our crew have been regular lecturers at Victoria University and we are happy to see this relationship grow and offer new ways for young artists to join our industry,” says Keys.

A purpose fit-out of the new Centre is currently underway and will create spaces for study, recording and editing, displays and exhibitions with studios for film, music and design to be added over the coming months.

“This is a unique and exciting partnership,” says Victoria’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Engagement), Professor Frazer Allan, “that will give our students a direct link to world-leading practitioners and industry experience in Wellington’s creative sector.

“It also provides a state-of-the-art creative hub in Wellington where forward-looking thinking and research from Victoria staff and students will blend with outstanding talent to create new opportunities and initiatives.”

An early vision for the integrated programme came from Weta Digital artist Kevin Romond but it took a fortuitous meeting between Victoria’s Professor Allan and Kristy Grant, Co-Director of Miramar Creative Ltd, at an Export NZ networking and discussion group to make the project a reality.

They both saw the benefits of establishing a purpose-built creative centre in Miramar that would give students studying at the centre authentic and practical learning pathways to access the film, gaming, VFX, animation and creative sectors.

“This is something I’ve always wanted to do,” says Jamie Selkirk. “Those of us who have worked in the industry for many years want to be able to pass on our experience in a meaningful way to the next generation of film makers and creative youngsters.”  

“We are really excited to see this project come to fruition. It is the first time that university-level study in creative arts and design will be made available with direct industry involvement and situated in the centre of a thriving creative business sector,” says Kristy Grant.

Students interested in the Victoria qualifications to be delivered at the Miramar Creative Centre can find out more by visiting www.victoria.ac.nz/mfa (for the Master of Fine Arts (Creative Practice)) or www.wellingtonict.ac.nz (for the Master of Design Technology).