The Creative Arts, Technologies and Culture Initiative
- Expanding the mission of the university (core)
- To embrace the creative practitioner (middle band)
- In partnership with the creative industry and cultural sector (outer band)
- Creating a dynamic network of interconnectivity at the heart of the city
- In education, research, creative practice and entrepreneurship
About the Initiative
This initiative is a long term strategy for developing a Creative Arts, Technologies and Culture Network at the heart of Dublin city catalysed by Trinity College.
It is building upon the strengths of the university’s core disciplines in the Arts and Sciences, the unique cluster of cultural and performing arts institutions concentrated nearby, and the range of existing and emerging creative industries.
The Initiative is underpinned by a number of key features demonstrated in the diagram above:
- The concept of the Porous University – The University as a catalyst for change and creativity at the heart of the capital city, sparking new connections, partnerships, practices, and exchange of ideas and expertise, particularly in the domain of the creative arts and culture, helping to realise Dublin as an international city of creativity and creative industries.
- The Practitioner – Broadening the traditional academic remit of the university to encompass the practitioner - those who create and will be the practitioners in existing and new artistic forms and creative and cultural enterprises, such as the writer, actor, director, composer, digital artist, animator, literary agent, curator, conservator, etc
- New models of Partnership – Optimising the existing professional and practice based links required to develop a thriving practitioner space across the Creative Arts, Technologies and Culture by forging a seamless network of education, scholarship, exhibition and practitionership in complete partnership with the cluster of surrounding cultural and performing arts institutions and creative industries, leveraging mutual strengths, expertise and existing links, to advance initiatives of international consequence;
- New types of Graduates – Vastly broadening the experience and skillsets of students to produce new types of interdisciplinary graduates with competencies drawn from programmes connecting the Arts and Sciences and grounded in the cultural and creative sectors with innovative capabilities based on a fusion of creative and practitioner skills required to advance Ireland’s knowledge economy;
- New Connectivity – Instigating a major shift change in the traditional approach to the Arts and Humanities, the Engineering Sciences, and new media and technologies, and their relationship with the creative arts and culture, providing a platform that will form a springboard for new ideas, for new forms of connectivity within the disciplines and across the Arts and Sciences, and between the university and the city.
What is the porous University?
The diagram depicts how this concept is applicable to Trinity College Dublin in relation to the Creative Arts, Technologies and Culture:
- It is underpinned by a core of well established academic strengths across the spectrum of the Arts and Sciences
- A number of disciplines are singled out for the first phase of the initiative because of their strong connections with creative practice and represent six flagship areas. For instance, Drama is associated with acting and the theatre practitioner and a new Academy of Dramatic Art, the Lir, is due to open in 2011. Other disciplines are encompassed in groups such as Cultural Heritage or Creative Technologies.
- The band encircling the centre is the porous interface between the core disciplines and the cultural institutions and creative industries, and represents the creator/practitioner domain. It is the area of greatest opportunity for development in terms of creator/practitioner programmes in education and research.
- The creative and cultural industries are represented in the outer domain.
- Interconnectivity is the most important ingredient of this concept: across the bands in the form of extended networks and within the bands in terms of connections across disciplines and sectors.
- These practitioner activities form an evolving web and flow of interlinked creativity and collaboration between the core disciplines at the centre and the creative industries and cultural sector, contributing to a kaleidoscope of new ideas, connections and practices
Context for the Initiative
It is providing an exciting new platform to draw upon:
- The spectrum of established academic strengths in the university;
- A number of dedicated practitioner creative arts programmes in Trinity which are highly respected by the academic community and the profession. For instance, the Oscar Wilde Centre for Irish Writing has developed an international reputation for the quality of its graduate creative writing programme, introduced in 1997, the first in an Irish university. The completion of a new state of the art Academy for the Dramatic Arts in 2011, in association with RADA and the Cathal Ryan Trust, will build upon Trinity’s well established programmes in drama and theatre studies and will be focussed on the professional theatre practitioner - the actor, director etc;
- Student interest in opportunities for creative expression as evidenced in the number of organically generated societies such as the DU Visual Arts Society, the DU Players, and the Choral Society;
- Growing awareness that for many of the university’s academic staff there is little distinction between practice and appreciation, with many established as writers, poets, literary translators, directors, composers, artists and performers in their own right;
- Growing appreciation of the importance of greater collaboration with the unique cluster of neighbouring cultural institutions within walking distance of the university, such as the National Museum, National Gallery and National Library, the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, the National Archives, and Dublin City Library and Archive.
Also located within close proximity of this cultural cluster are some of the country’s leading performing arts institutions such as the Gaiety theatre, Olympia, Abbey and the Gate, and the National Concert Hall, with the Temple Bar cultural district and the emerging Grand Canal cultural quarter nearby. Specialist educational institutions in the vicinity include the National College of Art and Design, the Royal Irish Academy of Music and the National College of Ireland, as well as the significant third level capability of UCD, DIT and DCU.
This concentration of cultural and educational creativity at the centre of a capital city is quite unique in the world. In addition, industries such as Google, IBM, Microsoft, and Intel, and innovative quarters like the Digital Hub are within easy reach. A recent study by Dr Johanna Archbold and Prof John O Hagan reveals that while Trinity and the cultural institutions have been engaging with each other for generations there are exciting opportunities for much greater collaboration and partnership in education, scholarship and exhibitions;
- Greater appreciation of the benefits of more focused collaboration with Dublin City Council to leverage mutual strengths and create new networks between academia, cultural institutions, other educational institutions, and the creative industries. Dublin City Council’s new development plan for 2011 to 2017, is based as much on harnessing the city’s unique cultural, creative and educational strengths as on retail shops, apartment blocks, and conventional business.
- Greater realisation of the exciting opportunities that arise when the Arts and the Sciences come together in different ways. For instance, the Long Room Hub has prioritised the development of the digital arts and humanities in its mission. Having recently received a Special Commendation for innovation in the museum sector at the European Museum of the Year Awards in Finland, the Science Gallery is one of the first three art-science Labs in the world, along with the Wellcome Collection in London and Le Laboratoire in Paris. It has received over 700,000 visitors since opening in 2008 and created over 12 exhibitions on subjects ranging from the future of fashion to music and the body. The Engineering Sciences have several interdisciplinary research groups focussed on the creative industries which involve extensive engagement with the Arts, especially Drama, Film and Music. The Department of Music and the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering have been at the vanguard of music technology in Ireland and their graduates are now among the leading practitioners—both artistic and technical—in Ireland and abroad
- A number of related pioneering initiatives in Trinity that are setting the pace for change:
- The launch of the Science Gallery in 2008, leading the way in bringing the citizen and the scientist together through the medium of Art;
- The launch of the Arts Technology Research Laboratory in 2009, founded as a collaborative partnership between the Schools of Drama, Film and Music, Computer Science and Engineering, to bring together film, video, music, sound production, theatre, dance, live art and installation in a state-of-the art digital environment;
- The announcement in 2009 of the plans to establish an Academy of the Dramatic Arts in 2011, in association with RADA;
- The publication of the Creativity, City and University (PDF) research report in 2010 by Dr Johanna Arcbbold. Jointly commissioned by Trinity and six major cultural institutions in 2008, it highlights the historical and current ties, the cultural and economic potential for enhanced collaboration, and the role such collaboration could play in reenergising the economic development of Dublin city and the country;
- The recent launch of a new state of the art building for the Trinity Long Room Hub Institute for advanced research in the Arts and Humanities
- The development of a leadership role nationally in advancing the Digital Arts and Humanities, with the Trinity Long Room Hub, the Arts Technology Research Laboratory, and the College Library, acting as channels for this activity.
The goals of this initiative are to:
- Foster a dynamic new collaborative and extended network of learning, scholarship, and practitionership between Trinity and the neighbouring cultural institutions and creative industries in the first instance, and across the world and Ireland’s diaspora in turn;
- Reconnect relevant disciplines and digital technologies in the Sciences with the creative Arts and Culture for new forms of learning, scholarship, practice and enterprise that will produce graduates with deep knowledge and innovative practitioner skills and are engineers/scientists skilled in the Arts, or artists and humanists skilled in Technology;
- Broaden the traditional academic remit of the University in partnership with all elements of the network to create a more holistic paradigm of education and research that will encompass those who create, and will be the practitioners in, existing and new artistic forms and creative and cultural enterprises;
- Build on existing strengths in a complementary way without unnecessary duplication or undue distortion of the individual missions of the participating institutions and enterprises;
- Develop the centre of Dublin as one node of a network of nodes encompassing all activities across Ireland and operating potentially under a national branding umbrella such as the planned Cultural Odyssey that will link into the Irish diaspora and similar initiatives across the world.