Second Meeting with the TRACTION ICAT

Susannah Fraser – Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona – 8th February 2021

Highlights from the meeting with the TRACTION ICAT

As the second year of project gets into its stride, members of the TRACTION consortium met online for the second time with the project’s international advisory board (ICAT) on January 15th 2021.

The ICAT comprises a rich assortment of academics, technologists and members of the performing arts community. Present in the meeting were a number of representatives from universities; such as Professor of Creative Technologies and Computer Science (Trinity College Dublin) Alijosa Smolic, Helen Simons (University of Southampton) and Marian Ursu, Director of the Department of Theatre, Film, TV and Interactive Media (University of York). Also in attendance were Hugo Seabra – Project Manager of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation’s Social Cohesion and Integration Program, and Tania Banotti – Director of Creative Ireland – a government funded programme promoting creative culture in Ireland. Representing organisations that are rooted in artistic collaboration and opera cocreation with communities were Matt Peacock (Streetwise Opera) and Richard Willacy (Birmingham Opera).

The meeting was held with a view to gaining vital perspectives on the progress of the project from outside the consortium. Hosted by Project Coordinator Mikel Zorrilla, the meeting was split into two parts. The first consisted of a series of presentations made by the project’s work package leaders, aimed at providing an overview of the work carried out in 2020. Leader of work package 2 Pablo Cesar (CWI) presented the TRACTION technology and toolset. François Matarasso gave an overview of progress in the community opera trials, and work package 4 leader Anna Matamala (UAB) gave an update on the progress of the evaluation methodology of the project. Further topics were covered, including the project’s ongoing adaptation to the barriers imposed by the global pandemic, which, in an ambitious community based, user-centric project such as this, is no simple task.

Later, the TRACTION innovation was discussed as ICAT members were asked to identify areas of the project that they found particularly interesting, with the goal of guiding the project focus according to an outsider perspective. There will be much to reflect on in light of the comments and discussion which proved to be very fruitful.

The Traction Consortium meeting with members of the ICAT