Creative entrepreneurs sought to 'duet' with performing arts organisations

Four of Scotland’s most high-profile music and performing arts organisations are looking to collaborate with creative entrepreneurs – with funding available to those that can come up with ways to overcome certain challenges.

A pop-up event hosted by Scottish Opera, which wants to develop an interactive evaluation tool to support its Primary Schools Tour. Picture: John Devlin.
A pop-up event hosted by Scottish Opera, which wants to develop an interactive evaluation tool to support its Primary Schools Tour. Picture: John Devlin.

Scottish Opera, Scottish Ensemble, Drake Music Scotland and Pianodrome have been selected to take part in Challenge Projects as part of Creative Informatics, a £7.6 million programme led by the University of Edinburgh that is supporting individuals and organisations in the creative industries to “do inspiring things with data”.

Funding of up to £20,000 is available to relevant candidates working in and around Edinburgh that can provide innovative, data-driven solutions to any of the challenges posed. Applications are now open and will close on April 16, while successful applicants will retain part or all of the intellectual property for any solutions developed.

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Scottish Opera, which says it is Scotland’s largest performing arts organisation, would like to develop an interactive evaluation tool to support its Primary Schools Tour, while Scottish Ensemble’s hope is to create an interactive installation version of Anno, its audio-visual collaboration with composer and producer Anna Meredith.

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Pianodrome’s challenge is to connect two pianos in separate geographical locations in real time, allowing both players to engage in a “unique musical dialogue” with someone they may have never met, and Drake Music Scotland would like to develop the world’s “first and most comprehensive inclusive music hub”.

Professor Chris Speed, director of Creative Informatics, applauded the tie-up with the four top music and performing arts organisations to help them find solutions to an “exciting variety” of challenges. “Challenge Projects provides unique opportunities for creative and cultural organisations to bring forward challenges relating to their work that involve any kind of data.

“For Pianodrome, data is musical notes played on a piano, while for Scottish Ensemble, data comes in the form of audio recordings and animations produced through their collaboration with Anna Meredith. Scottish Opera would like to make data capture more engaging and accessible for the pupils and teachers that participate in their Primary Schools Tour, while Drake Music Scotland would like to develop a unique, crowdsourced database of accessible music resources for their award-winning Figurenotes programme.

“During these exceptionally challenging times for the creative industries, it is more important than ever that we find new ways to innovate and provide opportunities for creativity to flourish. I look forward to seeing these projects develop over the coming months and hope that the solutions developed will help our challenge-holders – and the wider creative industries – to thrive in the future.”

Creative Informatics is a partnership between the University of Edinburgh, Napier University, CodeBase and Creative Edinburgh, supporting local creative talent in the city and South-east Scotland to develop new products, services and businesses using data and data-driven technologies. To date the programme has invested £1.6m in the region’s creative industries.

Additionally, Creative Informatics is also supported by the Scottish Funding Council, and is one of nine programmes across the UK that make up the Creative Industries Clusters Programme, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council as part of the UK Government’s Industrial strategy.

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