TCD’s Leading Edge Arts Technology Research Laboratory is Opened by Arts Minister

Posted on: 30 April 2009

New Arts Technology Research Laboratory to Produce New Generation of Arts Technologists

A cutting-edge arts and technology research facility was opened in Trinity College Dublin on April, 29th last,  by the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, Martin Cullen.  The Arts Technology Research Laboratory (ATRL) will bring together film, video, music, sound production, theatre, dance, live art and installation in a state-of-the art digital environment for the purpose of interdisciplinary  postgraduate research.  The facility which has been developed by Trinity’s School of Drama, Film and Music is situated in the Trinity Technology and Enterprise Campus on Pearse Street and has been funded through the support of the Higher Education Authority (HEA) Facilities Enhancement Scheme 2008.

In collaboration with Trinity’s Schools of Computer Science & Statistics and Engineering, the new Arts Technology Research Laboratory will bring scientists, engineers and artists into dialogue to offer the widest range of experimental opportunities and academic rigour in the practice and study of digital culture and the arts.  Researchers will be provided with the tools required to explore the worlds of arts and technology in a multi-disciplinary environment developing projects in new media and art production.

The ATRL will underpin a structured PhD programme in digital arts technologies to train artists, scholars, computer scientists and engineers in digital art production.  The new postgraduate programme, which is part of an ambitious digital arts and humanities programme, will open in September 2010 in association with the Trinity Long Room Hub, TCD’s arts and humanities research institute,  and in collaboration with other universities, including the Huston School of Film and Media, NUI-Galway, and the Sonic Arts Research Centre, Queen’s University Belfast.

TCD student conor kelly with minister martin cullen and provost dr john hegarty
TCD student Conor Kelly with Minister Martin Cullen and Provost Dr John  Hegarty at the launch of the new Arts Technology Research Laboratory.  

Speaking at the opening of the new  facility the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, Martin Cullen  said: “In building the new Arts Technology Research Laboratory, Trinity College has found a new way to draw and bring together the abilities of artists with the skills of their technical and engineering counterparts. It combines, at an advanced level, creative arts practice and technological expertise and for that I congratulate everyone involved”. The Minister also emphasised that the arts themselves were the; “bedrock of this development, in their many and varied forms – be they music, the visual arts, dance or the other performing arts.  They are the raw material that will energise and realise the full utilisation of this new facility.”

The facility comprises 650 square metres on two levels of the Trinity Technology and Enterprise Campus and includes a multi-purpose and multi-media auditorium/theatre for performance, recording, installations, lectures, symposia, a sound, ‘live’ recording studio; two post-production digital editing suites and a seminar room. There are also workstations for up to 30 postgraduate research/ PhD students working on leading edge audio and video workstations using  multiple software ‘platforms’.

Commenting on its significance, Head of the School of Drama Film and Music, Professor Kevin Rockett said: “Bringing together the ‘two cultures’, creative arts and science/technology, is one of the great challenges for Ireland’s modern smart economy. The goal is to stimulate a new generation of arts technologists,  of high academic standard  and entrepreneurial in spirit  who will be an essential element in the future of Irish artistic practice and the information economy as part of the next phase of this country’s economic development.”

Dr Matthew Causey, a leading authority on performance and technology has been appointed as Director of the Arts Technology Research Laboratory. Dr Causey added that: “ATRL is designed to enable a re-imagining of film and video, music and sound production, theatre, dance, and performance, live art and installation. The laboratory will innovate art practices in digital and technologised environments which are hybrid, part-live and part-virtual, networked and circulated digitally, immersive and interactive for the spectator.”

The Arts Technology Research Laboratory will also seek to create meaningful collaborations and community outreach programmes across third level institutions, local communities, arts organisations and industries in Ireland, as well as with international partners both in academia and university. As part of that process, links with the computer and online industries are being developed as a means of ensuring that those graduating from ATRL will be able to apply their innovative knowledge and expertise to the smart economy.

On the occasion of the launch of ATRL, Provost, Dr John Hegarty said: “The coming together of the arts and humanities and engineering and technology in this new facility is an exciting development.  The interplay will not just stimulate new thinking but will generate a whole new field of creative endeavour.  It is most appropriate for Trinity College to be at the forefront of such an initiative which will be another very important instrument in strengthening Ireland as a country of culture, technology and innovation. I also welcome Trinity’s collaboration with other universities in a structured PhD programme in the digital arts and humanities. “