Skip to main content

CoLab 2021 – a digital festival of creativity

Tue 23 February 2021

Celebrating a ‘unique and rewarding’ iteration of TL’s annual fortnight

Recognised around the world for its revolutionary approach, CoLab is Trinity Laban’s eccentric fortnight of experimentation that encourages collaboration and innovation.

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.

For the first time in its decade-long history, CoLab moved exclusively online in 2021. This gave students and staff the opportunity to work together to explore innovative processes and upskill digitally through nearly 100 different digital projects.

The annual festival of creativity began on Monday 8 February 2021 with a live launch night party on Zoom, presented by alum Lucy Drever and featuring performances from the TL community.

Week one was all about our first-year students from across music and dance. In groups, they gathered and shared inspiration with each other and also explored themselves, their bodies, their senses and sense of place, bringing personal experiences to the process as they collaborated from home. They put their thoughts and discussions into practice through improvisation.

Week two saw almost 60 digital projects get underway as students, alumni and external mentors collaborated from their homes to discover creativity through diverse lenses. Some groups experimented with new artforms such as poetry, visual art and mindfulness, and were inspired by recipes. Others explored different culturesengaged with participants from the local community, or reimagined traditional genres for today’s generation.

Students created everything from a Sci-Fi radio play to Coronavirus: The Musical. And the documentation process has been just as fruitful as the product.

The festival was rounded off with a Zoom House Party where guests could watch, listen and participate by exploring different rooms including a cocktail bar, disco, and open mic lounge.

In this unique iteration of CoLab, students benefitted from a range of digital and online development sessions, with bespoke support from our Audio-Visual staff and Digitally Enhanced Learning team.

Rather than traditional live performances, projects shared their work and documented their experiences through film and video, utilising social platforms including Instagram TV and YouTube.

On CoLab’s switch to digital for 2021 Head of CoLab Joe Townsend comments –

“In ten years’ time we will look back on this Covid CoLab and remember how working in isolation and online had limitations but was a step forward in creative education. By seeing those constraints as a challenge, we have found ways to work at the edge of our disciplines.

“I was particularly impressed at the resourcefulness and desire shown by the students and all the teachers and artists who support their work – it has led to some great memories and made everyone into a digital artist.”

Enjoy more creativity, innovation and experimentation in CoLab TV: A Reflection, a post-festival celebration event curated by Trinity Laban students on Friday 5 March 2021 at 19:30.