Trial Adventures in Interdisciplinarity
In preparation for a brand new interdisciplinary arts MA (which started both full-time and part-time in autumn 2007), the Centre for Excellence in the Creative and Performing Arts (NI) trailed a module – Adventures in Interdisciplinarity - between November 2006 and March 2007.
This trial project included four intensive task-focused practice-based weekend Adventures and several one-off evening business skills workshops spread across a five-month period where a group of potential MA students aged between 21 and 52 and from a wide range of arts backgrounds collaborated with professional practitioners of local, national and international standing to explore making work in an interdisciplinary context.
The 18-strong group met with the artist on a Friday lunchtime and by the end of Saturday they had created a performance, an installation or a presentational pitch.
Leading the Adventures were Kate Rowland from the BBC Writersroom, visual artist Paul Murnaghan, the Sonic Arts Research Centre at Queen’s and founders of Welfare State International, John Fox and Sue Gill.
The BBC writersroom identifies and champions new writing talent and diversity across BBC Drama, Entertainment and Children's programmes. They invest in new writing projects nationwide and build creative partnerships, including work with theatres, writers’ organisations and film agencies across the country.
Kate led the group through a programme ideas development process and, by the end of the second day they were pitching ideas showing roughs on digital video and DAT recordings.
The Sonic Arts Research Centre is a newly established facility within Queen's University Belfast. Uniting internationally recognized experts in the fields of music, electronic engineering and computer science, this unique interdisciplinary centre features a 20-person research team and a state-of-the-art sonic laboratory. This auditorium is a highly innovative structure allowing sound to be moved throughout the space, and is the only fully 3D studio of its kind for sonic art performance and experimentation.
After a whistle-stop tour of some sound software, the students created a soundtrack for the first minute of Delicatessen and, the next day, developed performance pieces using computer technology and the human voice.
The third adventure was led by conceptual artist Paul Murnaghan.
Paul’s practice reveals a fascination with the psychology of individual and collective memory, in particular the artifice of reminiscence and the social and cultural conditions that contribute to specific belief systems. He has exhibited extensively nationally and internationally and was Artistic Director / Curator of 5th Gallery at Guinness Storehouse, Dublin, for its existence (2000-03).
Working in the former Northern Bank building in the centre of Belfast, Paul was the catalyst for the creation of a unique site-specific installation around notions of personal memory.
The final adventure was led by John Fox and Sue Gill who set up and ran Welfare State International (which was regarded as Britain’s ‘foremost alternative performance and installation collective’ – The Guardian ) for 40 years before they began again in a new incarnation as Dead Good Guides, inventing prototypes of participatory art, carnival theatre, site-specific events, sculptural installations, lantern festivals and ceremonies for new rites of passage.
They worked with the students to create around notions of time creating a performance piece fusing primitive and complex technologies.