View all news

Perspectives on animation

David Sproxton CBE, co-founder and Executive Chairman of Aardman Animations

David Sproxton CBE, co-founder and Executive Chairman of Aardman Animations

Press release issued: 17 October 2011

David Sproxton CBE, co-founder and Executive Chairman of Aardman Animations, will give the 2011 Richard Gregory Memorial Lecture, entitled Perspective on animation, on Monday 24 October at 6 pm in the Wills Memorial Building, Queen’s Road, Bristol.

The public lecture, entitled Perspective on animation, organised by the University of Bristol’s Public and Ceremonial Events Office and the Bristol Vision Institute, will take place on Monday 24 October at 6 pm in the Wills Memorial Building, Queen’s Road, Bristol.

Covering the past, present and future of Aardman Animations, and with the support of many ‘classic cuts’, David will discuss why animation can have such a powerful resonance with an audience.

Considering expression, with examples from ‘Morph’ and ‘Gromit’, the lecture will explore how people can read emotions from inanimate objects, and if people have a pre-formed language of expression, including body language, that is universal.

Moving into film and animation production, the lecture will conclude by asking whether the current fashion for 3D films is beneficial to the way an audience engages with fictional characters and stories.  Current and emerging research in this area will be presented to hypothesise on future developments.

Admission is free but advance booking is essential.  To book go to,


Further information

The University will make every effort to provide disabled access, where possible, to all of its events. Members of the public who require additional support for any of the lecture, e.g. wheelchair access or sign language interpretation, please email directly at the earliest opportunity.


David Sproxton is the co-founder and Executive Chairman of Aardman. Together with co-founder Peter Lord, he has overseen the development of the company from a two-man partnership to one of the pre-eminent animation houses in the industry. David has served as a producer, director or cinematographer on a number of animated projects at Aardman.

Sproxton and Lord met at Woking Grammar School for Boys, and in 1970 made their first animated film using David’s Bolex camera. It was a crude piece using cutouts and chalk drawings yet showed enough talent for a BBC Children’s Television producer to offer the pair a chance to make short animated films for his programme Vision On.

After graduating from Durham University, David decided to pursue filmmaking full-time. In 1972, Sproxton and Lord formed Aardman and in 1976, moved to their permanent home in Bristol, England. Their first professional creation was the character Morph, who went on to star in the BBC series The Amazing Adventures of Morph. During this period, the duo made two short animated films, Down and Out and Confessions of a Foyer Girl, to which they applied the groundbreaking technique of using recorded conversations of real people as the basis for the script. Later, five more films called Conversation Pieces, using the same “vox pop” technique, were commissioned by Channel 4. “Vox pop” was also utilized in Aardman’s Lip Synch series for Channel 4 which included Nick Park’s Oscar®- winning short Creature Comforts.

In addition to Nick, the studio is known for discovering and nurturing new filmmakers. These include Steve Box who won a BAFTA Award for his direction of Stage Fright and co-directed The Curse of the Wererabbit with Nick Park; the Oscar®-nominated and BAFTA-winning Peter Peake the director of HumDrum and many commercials. Also, Richard Goleszowski who directed the Rex the Runt series for BBC 2 and the Creature Comforts series for ITV; Darren Walsh (Angry Kid) and Stefan Marjoram (BBC3 Blobs and Presentators for Nickleodeon).

David co-produced Aardman’s first feature film Chicken Run (2000), the Wallace and Gromit feature The Curse of the Wererabbit (2005), and the CGI feature Flushed Away (2006), made in association with DreamWorks. David is currently involved in the development of further feature films in association with Sony Pictures. He is also involved in the many TV projects the studio is developing including Shaun the Sheep, Chop Socky Chooks, Angry Kid, Timmy and the latest Wallace and Gromit film, A Matter of Loaf and Death.

David Sproxton spent nine years on the board of the Bristol Old Vic Theatre Trust and three years on the Board of the UK Film Council. He is now chairman of Encounters Festivals (Bristol’s celebration of the Short film) and a board member of At-Bristol and the National Film Television School.

Please contact for further information.
Edit this page