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“Animation offers a medium of story telling and visual entertainment which can bring pleasure and information to people of all ages everywhere in the world.”
– Walt Disney

Animation is becoming a popular and powerful medium to raise awareness to social issues in all ages, to be used as a teaching tool to motivate students, to explain things in a more simple and engaging way, and as a promotional medium to reach out to younger generations. I picked up various examples from France, UK, Denmark, Canada, USA and Japan to illustrate how animation is used for different educational purposes.

1. Raising awareness and educating the public


In 2010, UNIT9 teamed up with DDB, Koji Morimoto and Studio 4°C to work together on the brief, “Change the hearts and minds of teens in France about smoking”, which was commissioned by the French Ministry of Health. They created an interactive animation, which allows the viewer to be a part of an animated short film, using webcam motion tracking technology. It can also be viewed in the form of a web comic. They tried all kinds of things to reach out to the targeted audience.

Website: http://www.attraction-lemanga.fr/site/index.php

Footage of making Attractionhttp://www.unit9.com/project/attraction

Attractionvideo digest 

Attractioncharacter design 


1-2.Bristol Ageing Better Animation

Aardman and the Bristol Ageing Better (BAB) in the UK have partnered to create a short film illustrating the local elderly’s experience of social isolation in the city, and what they can do to be less lonely.

Bristol Ageing Better Animation

1-3.Alexis’s Wish

Make-A-Wish® Alaska and Washington and World Famous in the USA released Alexis’s Wish. The project started with the wish of six-year-old Alexis, who battled acute lymphoblastic leukemia. It brings awareness to paediatric cancer. The 3 minute film of Alexis’s Wish centres Princess Alexis as herself battling the dragon “Kemia” with the help of her family and friends.

Footages of Alexis’s Wish: http://akwa.wish.org/wishes/wish-stories/wish-to-have/alexis-cartooncharacter/alexis-worldfamous

Alexis’s Wish

Making of Alexis’s Wish

1-4.Team Generous

In 2010, Team Generous was founded by Norlum, an animation production company in Denmark. It aims to bring creative talents together to create a better world. It welcomed a Canadian partner, Twenty One Inc. in 2014 and created Habitat for Humanity Canada.

Team Generous Canada 2014 for
Habitat for Humanity : ‘Foundations’

Team Generous 2012 for
World Wildlife Fund (Denmark)

Team Generous 2010 for
Save the Children (Denmark)

Team Generous 2011 for
Medics Without Borders (Denmark)

1-5.Waiting For You To Notice

Ataboy Studios in the USA created a 2-minute animated film Waiting For You To Notice for Shared Hope, a non-profit organization for anti-sex trafficking. It walks the viewer through the terrifying world of sex-trafficking and asks if they would notice the warning signs if they were to see them. The film leaves the viewer a hope with what Shared Hope does to fight all this.

Footages of Waiting For You To Noticehttp://ataboystudios.com/portfolio/shared-hope/

Waiting For You To Notice

1-6.Wear The Rose – Make Them Giants England Rugby Animation

This is a little bit of a different example from the rest but O2 created an animation to support Rugby England team. According to Nina Bibby, Marketing and Consumer Director at O2, it was created as an animation to appeal to everyone, from children to parents and grandparents. Over twelve months in the making, the 2D animation was created by 30 animators, headed up by lead animator Dominic Carola.

Wear The Rose

2. Animation and science


SPring-8 Angstrom Compact Free Electron Laser (SACLA) and its facility were built and went into full-scale operation in 2011 by Riken, a natural science research institute in Japan. SACLA enables the observation of living organisms and materials at the atomic level. They created a series of animated short films to promote SACLA’s research capabilities to the public.

Wasureboshi on the conception

Picotopia on the cellar biology

Mirai Koshi: Harima SACLA

2-2.Royal observatory

The Royal Observatory is part of the Royal Museums Greenwich and home of the Greenwich Mean Time and the Prime Meridian line in the UK. They produce and publish a series of animated short films explaining about the universe and their space missions.

The Rosetta mission

Are there aliens?

3. Animation as a teaching tool

3-1.The Dam Keeper Educational Project

Tonko House in the USA works with the San Francisco Film Society on a pilot program that brings The Dam Keeper short film to the classroom. In this character development workshop, students engage in discussions on leadership, friendship, and common social issues such as bullying. Students show interest to the film not only as a piece of entertainment, but also as a story they deeply emotionally identify with.

Website: http://www.tonkohouse.com/projects/education/

3-2.Cracking ideas

The UK Intellectual Property Office created the single hub for IP education materials. It made it easy for teachers and parents share content on learning and studying IP issues. Contents include lesson plans based around Wallace & Gromit by Aardman Animations.

Website: http://crackingideas.com/

3-3.Peg + Cat

Peg + Cat is an animated series for children ages 3-5 years old to learn foundational math concepts and skills in the USA. The Fred Rogers Company secured funding from National Science Foundation for the creation of further series of Peg + Cat in September 2015.

Peg +Cat

3-4.Koguma Navi Project

Kogumakai (a provider for early education for kids) and P.A. Works (the animation studio known for Shirobako!) partnered to start the Koguma project in Japan. The project aims to develop educational applications to motivate and help children to develop their intellectual skill through animation. They believe that animation is a great way to communicate and they would like to apply the power of animation to education.

Koguma navi project (in Japanese): http://www.kogumanabi.jp/

4. Animated commercials for educational institutions in Japan

Animated commercials seem to be gaining popularity among educational institutions to promote their schools and products in Japan. Animation is recognized as an attractive medium to reach out to younger audience.


Crossroad is an animated commercial directed by Makoto Shinkai, known for directing The Garden of Words and 5 Centimeters Per Second. It aims to motivate students preparing for university entrance exams.

Animated commercials for Z-Kai

4-2.Kyoto Gakuen University

Kyoto Gakuen University commissioned Transistor Studio in Japan to create an animated short film series in 3D CGI but visually resembles 2D. The animated short series, directed by Kohta Morie, centers a girl who becomes interested in environmental issues and pursues her study in that specialty.

Kyoto Gakuen University commercial Part 1

Kyoto Gakuen University commercial Part 2

Making for Kyoto Gakuen University commercial


1: UNIT9 FILMS.(2015)UNIT9 Attraction[Online] Available from:<http://www.unit9.com/project/attraction>. [17 November 2015].

2: Bristol Aging Better.(2015)[Online] Available from:<http://www.bristolageingbetter.org.uk/>. [17 November 2015].

3: Make-A-Wish Foundation of Alaska & Washington.(2015)ALEXIS WISHES TO SHARE HER JOURNEY[Online] Available from:<http://akwa.wish.org/wishes/wish-stories/wish-to-have/alexis-cartooncharacter>. [17 November 2015].

4: Team generous.(2015)UNIT9 Attraction[Online] Available from:<http://teamgenerous.com/>. [17 November 2015].

5: Riken.(2015)SACLA[Online] Available from:<http://xfel.riken.jp/pr/sacla/?cat=3>. [17 November 2015].

6: O2.(2015)Giants come to life in first ever O2 animation[Online] Available from:<http://news.o2.co.uk/?press-release=giants-come-to-life-in-first-ever-o2-animation>. [17 November 2015].

7: The National Science Foundation.(2015)Award Abstract #1516446[Online] Available from:<http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=1516446>. [17 November 2015].

8: The Fred Rogers Company.(2015)Peg + Cat[Online] Available from:<http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=1516446>. [17 November 2015].

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