How the Royal College of Art Plans to ‘Catch ‘Em All’ with New Pokémon Scholarships

The famous franchise is supporting masters’s students working at the intersection of art and design

Courtesy: Royal College of Art, London

Courtesy: Royal College of Art, London

The Pokémon Company, responsible for the fictional universe where humans catch, train and battle with 800 supernatural brightly-coloured creatures, are partnering with London’s Royal College of Art to create two annual full-fee scholarships for students to ‘support the creation and exploration of innovative art and design’ – the first of its kind.

The inaugural recipients are masters’s students Jesse Cahn-Thompson and Amir Afshar. Cahn-Thompson studies on the RCA’s Information Experience Design programme where he works at the intersection of AI and ‘alternative sensory experiences’, while Afshar is researching the impact of virtual reality on architecture on the Innovation Design Engineering course.

‘The relationship between physical and digital space is a recurring theme in my work,’ Cahn-Thompson said. ‘Being recognized by such an innovative, imaginative organization as the Pokémon Company is such a privilege.’

Created in 1998, the Pokémon Company oversees the popular Pokémon franchise spanning video and card games, and film and television spinoffs, set in a world filled with the eponymous magical monsters. The winning students both receive scholarships for the final year of their programme, and will travel to the Pokémon studios in Japan, home to such iconic creations as Pikachu and Charmander.

Pokémon CEO Tsunekazu Ishihara commented: ‘Through this scholarship, I am delighted to support students who show the potential for creating a new industry or mode of expression by exploring unknown possibilities.’ Dean of the RCA’s school of communications Rathna Ramanathan told frieze: ‘Scholarships such as this, allow gifted students from different walks of life an opportunity to take risks, experiment and ultimately transform their practices as well as the broader context of the world.’

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