CoLab 2021 is completely online and digital, so don’t expect the usual interactions, processes and performances.
However, human endeavour is infinitely more adaptable, ingenious and creative than the limitations of the tools we have to make our art.
I really believe that it is down to everyone in our community to make CoLab a unique rich learning experience as we support each other in making a new kind of creative experience.
Whether your project is the juxtaposition of art forms or an immersion in the skills of others, it is a challenge that we should all relish and even take delight in. And, as we emerge from solitude we will look back on this crazy and sometimes frustrating time and be able to say that we were there.”
Over the course of the fortnight we spoke to three of our CoLab mentors about their experience of the digital festival.
Singer, songwriter and facilitator Lilli Unwin reminded us that “creativity wasn’t cancelled” and shared her mentoring tips. Her groups focused on exploring breath and turned to daily walks for inspiration.
Rome-based live-event producer, pianist and composer Dave Morecroft has been involved with CoLab for the last four years running Brexchange. For 2021 he focused on body percussion as a way to create sound without instruments, inspired by artists like Pentatonix. He told us what collaboration means to him.
Theatre-maker, writer, poet and performer Claudia Creed mentored ‘Breaking The Binary’, a project exploring the roles and expectations of gender. We caught up with her to find out more about her work, and what she hopes students will gain from the project. Watch the interview.
Over the two weeks the Brand and Communications team was supported by a team of students from across the TL community. They were the eyes and ears for all things CoLab and kept everybody up to date throughout the festival. Find out what how they found the experience and what their CoLab highlight was.
Second-year MT student Callum Bruce – “It’s great working alongside and being mentored by experienced professionals. It’s satisfying looking back each day and seeing our work on TL social media.”
Third-year pianist Ellen Taylor – “I am enjoying seeing the blossoming creativity of the first-year students in such trying times. They are adapting so well and have so many great ideas for their final videos!”
Masters composition student Emily de Gruchy – “I’ve done the occasional social media post for promoting concerts, but I never really delved in deep enough to know why marketing is effective. That’s why I chose the co-pilots scheme – to understand the necessities of digital communication, and to patch up the gaps in my knowledge that I wish I’d known earlier! I’ve really enjoyed interviewing all different kinds of people during CoLab – I really like getting to know why they’re passionate about the things that they do.”
In week one of CoLab we saw inspiration, reflection, exploration, discussion and collaboration.
Day one of CoLab was a day of Inspiration – In each group, collaborators reflected on their worlds of art and culture. They gathered and shared their favourite pieces with each other to create. In each group, collaborators reflected on their worlds of art and culture. They gathered favourite pieces of work, music, writing. Through their musings they began creating.
Another CoLab group asked themselves this question: What did we go through last year? They took a piece of text as inspiration – something that has been significant and resonant over the past year and lockdown. “I instantly wondered if a Banana Bread recipe would be suitable. Certainly, for me baking Is never my strong point, but I really enjoyed making banana bread, and eating it!” (Rebecca Chandler, BMus1 Vocal Studies) This song is the result.
During day two, students have been exploring themselves, their bodies, their senses & their sense of place. Whilst collaborators reach out from their individual homes, they bring personal experience to the process.
“Inspired by musical works such as Stephen Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George, Brad Mehldau’s Love Sublime and Mica Levi’s Love,” is how BA1 Contemporary Dance student Zoe Stevens began her creative process that day. “I created visual responses using coloured inks. I hope they will further influence directional or dynamic choices within future choreographic explorations.” Zoe’s group explored the process of ‘sampling’ or ‘lifting’ from previous works, experimenting with taking layers and manipulating them to create something new.
During days 4 and 5 of CoLab, the collaborators have reflected on some amazing days and we are looking at process.
“As long as you’re alive, you’re breathing… It’s okay to just breath… It’s so, so important and I think we do take is for granted sometimes.” Group 15 have focused on their breath. From meditative visuals showing the effects of breath to a soundscape made completely through what their lungs could muster.
We also asked our students what they enjoyed most about week 1 of CoLab Digital 2021.
Week 2 starts and all the collaborators have met up to talk about their projects. This week is all about exploring various art forms, process and collaboration.
On day one, one of the groups explored words and the art of poetry. “A work-in-progress, visual poem created digitally by the collective, drawing its words and sentences from free-writing and other poet’s works.” – Jessie Jing Is Ng.
Another group explored the predessor to modern-day: ‘mindfulness’. Student Matthieu Esnult says “[it] is a fantastic tool for musicians & dancers who want to have a pain-free body and a healthy mind… it can be done by anyone who would like to explore the mind body relationship”.
Group 66 explored Yorùbá music alongside Ọlá Akindipe and Aanu Sodipe. When asked about the challenges of performing and collaborating online this year for CoLab, Amy was not deterred by the technological barriers: “I think the energy is all still there. Trying to get energy across on a screen is really hard work, but you can see that Ọlá and Aanu are really enthusiastic about their project and that brings it to life. That’s still there – it doesn’t matter that I’m sat behind a screen.”
On day three, each group is deep into their process, making notes, mindmaps and visual plans.
On day 4 group 54 steps into an out of this world experience. They created a Sci-Fi Radio Play for which they were split into three groups Spaceships, Aliens and Planets and were workshopping ideas and building up different sounds created only by their voices and bodies.
In group ‘Kalaidescope’, Tamara is exploring other artforms as part of her creative, collaborative process. She worked on a Haiku and sketched an image to accompany it:
Silent stretches of
time. Propped up against a wall,
filed away in bed.
– Tamara, dance student
On day 5, the last day of CoLab, the collaborators are finalizing their projects. Group 40: Projection Vacancy have been experimenting with the intensity of stillness. This clip of Leah Wallace sums up the cloning they’ve been playing with this week in relation to life being “on hold”.
CoLab’s festival atmosphere results in an abundance of performance events across Trinity Laban and beyond. Students in previous years have taken CoLab to the National Maritime Museum, the Royal Opera House and even to Aarhus Royal Academy of Music in Denmark.
Now known around the world for its revolutionary approach, CoLab is becoming more and more international.
In 2019, we welcomed visitors from Australia as well as students from Taiwan’s National University of Arts and the University of Southern California. Being able to mix with even more people from diverse backgrounds is part of what makes CoLab such an incredible experience.
I developed ways of working which I may otherwise not have thought of. For me, CoLab was the best part of my Trinity Laban experience.
Guided by expert mentors, students build artistic relationships with performers and other artists across genres, disciplines and cultures, to create projects based on all kinds of music and dance: from Motown to Mozart; from ballet to Bollywood.
To provide the best experiences, we use technologies like cookies to store and/or access device information. Consenting to these technologies will allow us to process data such as browsing behavior or unique IDs on this site.
The technical storage or access is strictly necessary for the legitimate purpose of enabling the use of a specific service explicitly requested by the subscriber or user, or for the sole purpose of carrying out the transmission of a communication over an electronic communications network.
The technical storage or access is necessary for the legitimate purpose of storing preferences that are not requested by the subscriber or user.
The technical storage or access that is used exclusively for statistical purposes.The technical storage or access that is used exclusively for anonymous statistical purposes. Without a subpoena, voluntary compliance on the part of your Internet Service Provider, or additional records from a third party, information stored or retrieved for this purpose alone cannot usually be used to identify you.
The technical storage or access is required to create user profiles to send advertising, or to track the user on a website or across several websites for similar marketing purposes.