2021, Traction (2020 – 2022)

The first meeting of the TRACTION partners, San Sebastián, 4 February 2020

TRACTION is a partnership between three opera companies, five technology, research institutes – and me. Together, over the next three years, we will explore new ways of making opera with communities, using innovative technology to connect artists and audiences. Three pilot projects are already in development:

  • Opera Prima, for which the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona is working with the neighbouring community of Raval;
  • Opera na Prisāo, a project of Sociedade Artistica Musical Dos Pousos (SAMP) in the Youth Prison of in Leiria (Portugal); and
  • A still unnamed project with rural communities in Ireland from Irish National Opera (INO).

The project is led by Vicomtech (Spain), and the other partners are Dublin City University (DCU) Netherlands Foundation of Scientific Research Institutes (NWO-I), the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) and Virtual Reality Ireland (VRI). TRACTION is funded by the EU Horizon 2020 programme and will run from 2020 to 2022.

My work has been given the large title of ‘Creative, Artistic and Social Manager’, and it’s principally concerned with helping the artistic partners make the most of their projects and collaboration. It’s a steep learning curve: my knowledge of technology, opera and European projects is equally rudimentary. But I do know about community art, and Traction’s ambitions can only be achieved if the creative work with communities is successful. My taks will be to help make that happen.

Because it is about learning, I’ll be documenting my part in Traction on this website over the next three years. I don’t think of this as a ‘Regular Marvel’ – its scale and complexity preclude that – but it will be the most important creative work I’ll be doing, so this is the best place to tell it’s unfolding story. If you’d like to hear what happens, do sign up for updates. It’s going to be an interesting story.