On July 2, ALICE partners held a webinar with the animation expert Serge Umé as a special guest to help advance the Working Group’s studies of education and training.

Currently Head of Compositing at the Irish Animation Studio Cartoon Saloon and Animation, and a former FX supervisor at L’Idem Creative Arts School, Serge has 20 years of professional experience and many successes attached to his name. He has served the industry as a digital artist, a supervisor, a creative producer and a project manager, and worked on more than 65 films, including Oscar nominated films The Secret of Kells (2009), Ernest and Celestine (2012) and Song of the Sea (2015), which also won the award for Best Animated Feature European in 2015. Combining concrete field experience with tested academic theory, he was able to provide his unique perspective on how to teach animation techniques, develop apprenticeships and train top talent.

We left the meeting with the following takeaways: 

- Learning the tricks and secrets to professional animation can take years; experience is key: develop programs that provide hands-on practice with industry technology and that are taught by people with experience in the field.

- Achieving excellence takes an ecosystem that brings together schools, studio facilities and public funding.

- The universal language of animation provides opportunities for experience sharing, exchanges and interregional collaborations to develop educational hubs and talent.

As the project moves along, these valuable and actionable insights will guide our approach to identifying good practices leading to innovative recommendations for policy change.