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The Animation Workshop: World-class education in animation and graphic storytelling

The Animation Workshop (TAW) provides world-class education in animation and graphic storytelling, but TAW is more than a school. TAW is a dedicated effort to provide stellar Bachelor graduates to the creative industries, to ensure continuous talent development, and to cultivate an interest in drawing, animation, and graphic storytelling throughout society.

Kasper Kruse

Head of The Animation Workshop

TAW has impressive international rankings, for the school as well as its graduates. What is TAW’s approach to education and professional innovation?

The Bachelor studies program in animation is ranked among the top programs in the world. Currently TAW is ranked the #4 best education outside of the US by Animation Career Review. To a large extend TAW draws on an external faculty consisting of professionals from the industry thus always securing a flow of state-of-the-art expertise from the industry as well as connecting industry with talent. Education is craft-based and uses situated learning as much as possible.

TAW empowers students through influential student councils and evaluations supporting a democratic voice in developing our educations and our community. We cultivate future professionals from a perspective of believing in talent and balancing individual work with teamwork and collaborations. On top of this, TAW offers a variety of courses for professionals that are specifically calibrated to industry needs as well as running a residency program that hosts artists from all over the world.

Alongside educations, courses, and the residency, TAW has a department dedicated to R&D where we embrace, explore, and evaluate technology, didactics, applied use of creative competencies as well as develop art and cultural projects and events.

TAW is located in Viborg, Central Jutland, Denmark. Viborg is part of the UNESCO Creative Cities network in the category Media Arts. We are part of a thriving community locally as well as deeply rooted in the national and international digital visual industry where we aim to be a positive driving force.

Innovation is essential to stay ahead in the field of animation. In TAW’s opinion, how does Denmark excel in this discipline – and why?

Denmark is one of the most innovative countries in the world due to its high levels of free and accessible education, ambitious talent development structures, and political and financial support for research and development into new technology areas.

The animation industry has to embrace the advancement of AI, machine learning and virtual production pipelines as well as block chain and NFT technology development, and as a publicly funded institution TAW is already assisting companies and studios with both the latest insights, expert knowledge and research that aid these transitions. There simply is a really well-functioning professional ecosystem for these processes and collaborations in Denmark.

How does TAW work with sustainability, and how does the issue of sustainability in general affect digitalised industries such as animation?

TAW aims to always be at the sustainable forefront of the creative industries by amplifying the urgency of human-driven sustainability and environmental initiatives that support industry initiatives for improved work conditions and greener ways of producing content.

‘Human Impact’ is TAW’s strategic long-term commitment to increase climate-consciousness in the animation industry and develop targeted climate-relevant communication that informs, disseminates, inspires, and motivates communities, citizens, and professionals to engage in sustainability and a green transition.

TAW’s ambition is to be a leading example when it comes to developing proper work ethics, defining behavior policies, and developing more healthy human focused work practices within the animation industry i.e. better work environments, improved work conditions, long-term employments, balanced working hours, beneficial payment agreements, adherence to equal rights etc.

How does TAW’s mission and approach to its industry contribute to the improvement of quality of life?

The world is faced with more challenges than ever before. To help solve these on a global scale, we must cultivate our abilities together to imagine new futures, train our creative skills to design innovative solutions, and grow and maintain our sense of community.

With its foundation in Danish core values such as democracy, critical thinking, ethics, equality, and community, TAW bridges visual storytelling with research, education, and industries to empower young talents, professionals and organizations to take part in the improvement of quality of life, i.e. by engaging in lifelong education, taking actions for sustainability and a greener transition or taking responsibility of one’s own health and wellbeing, at work and in life in general. Our profession definitely help inform, activate, engage and mobilize individuals as well as groups and entire movements to these ends.

In your opinion, what is something important that other industries can learn from the Danish animation business?

The animation industry has adapted very well to the pandemic and to the need for hybrid and virtual production pipelines allowing for working from the distance and across international borders. This has proven beneficial to the environment as well has made working across borders, nationalities, and distances easier and more accepted. This is very inspirational and something other industries can find inspiration in.

Q&A contributor

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