Uni awarded new research funding

Ncuti Gatwa as Adi and Nandi Bhebhe as Harry in 946. Photo credit Steve Tanner

Falmouth University has been awarded £850k funding for an innovative new research project that will use cutting-edge technologies to capture and archive performance practice, exploring new ways to widen access to performances and provide new income streams to support the creative industries in Cornwall.

GWITHA, from the Cornish word to guard, or to keep, will establish an open centre for immersive approaches to archival practice in the performance space, capturing and preserving performances that have previously been difficult or impossible to document because of their transient nature.

The project will be particularly relevant in Cornwall, which is renowned for site-specific landscape theatre that is part of its cultural heritage but challenging to document and record.

Work will begin with artists and performance companies, using cutting-edge technologies to capture vision and sound in three dimensions, so that it can be later accessed through a range of augmented reality, virtual reality and mixed reality.

The project will also draw on the archives housed at Falmouth University to build a digital infrastructure to capture the collections of material objects, textual artefacts, and the documentation of performance practice, to improve access and develop strategies for new income streams from these new digital assets in support of Creative Industries in Cornwall.

This £850k investment is through the Creative Research Capability (CResCa) fund from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). It is intended to provide increased investment to support the development of world-class research and development capabilities, improve the visibility and resilience of practice-led research sectors within the arts and humanities, and support the UK’s creative and cultural economy through further funding for the sector’s critical infrastructure.

Falmouth University Vice Chancellor, Emma Hunt, said: “We are thrilled to have been successful in our bid to the CResCa fund.

“We are committed to being the leading university for the nexus of creativity and technology and I can’t think of a project that would encapsulate this better. Furthermore, we want to use our knowledge and expertise to generate positive opportunities, particularly in Cornwall.

“I am very excited to see how this project will develop the potential for capture of performance practice and to support the development of new strategies to improve audience access to culture and creativity.”