Durham University Argument Clinic Animations.

The Challenge.

Durham University wanted to have a series of e-learning animations with the core activity in this area referred to as 'The Argument Clinic'. It involved a series of special sessions on everyday debates. These sessions were delivered by leading academics and are designed to equip students with the ability to consider issues from various perspectives. Small groups of peers will take part in discussion clinics, each focusing on a specific theme and grounded in an introductory video and a set of multi-media materials. Topics include: “The Examined Life”, "Controlled Experiments", "How to Lie with Data" and "Fact or Fiction?".
Two of the main challenges to overcome were A) how to keep viewers interested over the course of 10 animations all between 6 and 12 minutes in length for a total running time approaching the duration of some feature length movies and B) how to inject a sense of fun into what could potentially be rather dry material full of facts and figures and little else.
It is groundbreaking and allows the ‘filling-in-of-gaps’ between the academic side of University and life in general. This was not going to be an easy task.
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The Solution.

Working with the fantastic team at Durham University, we managed to really build on the initial ideas which were clear but maybe not as innovative as they could be. We proposed using animation for everything and utilising a mix of the scripting capabilities at the University as well as the Clearhead team. Clever, tight Scripting and Sound Design were then going to be the key to bring these 6-7 minute films to life.
Keeping students entertained for that length of time wasn’t going to be easy. So we created animation with smooth and clever transitions, which really brought to life everything that was being said.
Clearhead adapted Durham's initial scripts to include a range of pop culture references and through a mix of recurring characters, visual gags, callbacks, and fun sound design created a family of animations containing the perfect mix of seriousness and fun.
We developed a simple visual language that effectively tied everything together and provided an easy framework on which to build each video adding driving transitions when necessary and without dwelling on any scene for too long, each video flows along at a rate that seems to defy its overall runtime.
The project spanned numerous months but the effort was really worth it and an education defining set of digital learning was born.
"Thanks very much for all your support, creativity and vision to help us to achieve our goals for the Durham Argument Clinic."