TL Innovation Award is an exciting opportunity for final-year undergraduates to pitch an idea for an original project.
We support successful candidates to turn their idea into a reality by providing funding, mentoring from Trinity Laban alumni, and expert guidance from industry professionals.
Launched in 2019 and open to all final-year undergraduate students at the Conservatoire, the competition provides a unique opportunity for emerging artists to access professional development support as they establish themselves within one of the fastest growing sectors of the UK economy. Made possible by The Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF), each winning project receives an award of £1,700 to use on development, and will benefit from a specially tailored mentorship programme.
Catch up with the 2019 recipients...
Toby Carswell and Rhys Davies
Composer Toby and percussionist Rhys established The Public Bungalow, a vibrant ensemble of young professional artists whose sophisticated arrangements re-imagine pop music with a fusion twist. With an extensive roster of artists, the project gives many musicians the opportunity to record, perform and work on their craft.
Since receiving the Award the duo have recorded and released their third season of music videos. Despite facing multiple challenges in terms of organising live performances due to Covid-19, the band has seen a fantastic increase in viewership and online following. They are creating lots more digital content and will be rescheduling their postponed gig.
“Input from Max De Lucia [Founding Partner of DLMDD] had been invaluable to us as he was able to provide a different perspective on our ideas. We focused on finding ways to make this into a sustainable project that can keep itself financially afloat. The Innovation Award has opened our eyes to the opportunities out there."
Sahra Gure studied a BMus degree in Jazz (Voice). The Award allowed her to write, produce and self-release her debut EP Love Me With Me, recorded live at Soup Studios in London. She has since released three accompanying music videos for tracks ‘Better Dream’, ‘Leave Me’ and ‘Unreasonable in Love’. The album, which takes the listener through the seven stages of grief, has been recognised widely by CLASH Magazine, Bandcamp, Gilles Peterson, BBC and has had interest from Universal Publishing. Sahra was mentioned by Cimeon Ellerton, Chief Operating Officer at The Audience Agency.
Sahra’s future plans include working on her next EP, more live performances, and setting up collaborations with other artists.
"There is a wonderful power in ownership especially when it comes to music and art. Self-releasing isn’t easy but the payoff is so worth it. No person or label is going to take the risks that you will for yourself."
During his studies at Trinity Laban violinist Matthew participated in Learning and Participation projects including school placements and the Inspired Not Tired programme, as well as taking part in a diverse range of music leader training including Spitalfields Skills Lab. Inspired by his experience, his project aimed to introduce youth orchestra musicians to the power of music in community settings such as primary schools, care homes and hospitals.
Over the course of 2019 Matthew worked with mentor Jenn Raven (Deputy Director Sound Connection) to create a project proposal and a set of goals using the theory of change model. Matthew also made very positive connections with local community music organisations. While his project has been temporarily paused due to the pandemic, Matthew is excited to get back to work with the Orchestras as soon as is possible.
"Trinity Laban recognised my idea as meaningful and worth pursuing and when the situation allows I look forward to starting this work again"
Mass Hysteria, founded in 2017, is an all-female collective of 12 dance artist that encourages female artistic expression and empowerment through performances and the creation of movement works, community engagement efforts and external events.
As part of their self-curated series MASSHYSTERIAPRESENTS, they presented work at Tate Exchange in February 2020 in collaboration with Trinity Laban CoLab where they collaborated with a range of artists such as fashion designers, musicians and film makers while presenting their work to a new audience. They also presented work at Resolution 2020.
Ambitions to create work for a digital environment were accelerated due to the pandemic lockdown when Mass Hysteria were commissioned to create a piece for Trinity Laban’s ‘Self Isolation Creation’ series. ‘in this.net’ was premiered on TL YouTube and was filmed via Zoom.
Future plans for the collective include a commissioned piece by choreographer Hagit Yakira.
“Our mentor Gitta Wigro [co-director of Independent dance] has been an invaluable resource who has supported and believed in the collective.”
James Layton studied a BMus degree in Composition. His project, ‘Into the Ocean’, is an integrated concert and recording series highlighting the work of emerging composers which launched with a live-streamed concert on 26 June.
James has commissioned composition alumni and staff (John Lely, James Layton, Georgina Bowden, Theo Finkel, Mike Worboys and Heather Stephenson) to write brand new works for violist Stephen Upshaw, former TL Carne Trust Junior Fellow and member of the Riot Ensemble and Solem Quartet. The works will feature on an album, released later this year, which is produced by Riot Ensemble’s Arron Holloway Nahum.
“The Innovation Award has acted as a catalyst to develop an idea that I have carried throughout my time at Trinity Laban. It has given me the means to develop and to become more daring with these ideas and the mentorship has given me insight into the careers of creatives who ten years ago were in my position.”
Flautist and conductor Megan Storer recently completed her Master’s degree at Trinity Laban. She established Cinematic Syncopations Orchestra as a platform for graduate players in London and to introduce a young audience to orchestral music through the performance of film scores. Following their inaugural concert, Megan is developing plans for the next two years including further concerts and a 'side by side' series in local schools. Cinematic Syncopations Orchestra is dedicated to her late brother.
“I have learnt a lot from my mentor Richard Meads [Orchestra and Music Department Director at English National Opera], not only about managing and arranging events for my orchestra, but around the mentality of it all.”
Meet the mentors...
The mentors for 2019 were:
- Cimeon Ellerton – Chief Operating Officer at mission-led charity The Audience Agency
- Edward Henderson – Composer and part of composition collective Bastard Assignments
- Max de Lucia – Founding Partner and Client Director at sonic branding agency DLMDD
- Richard Meads – Orchestra and Music Department Director at English National Opera
- Jennifer Raven – Co-founder of FairBeats and Deputy Director at Sound Connections
- Gitta Wigro – Co-director of Independent Dance