The Assemblage Centre for Creative Arts at Flinders University is off to a flying start.
Leading creative artists are getting a helping hand from Flinders University’s new Assemblage Centre for Creative Arts – a dynamic research centre providing new possibility for innovative artistic enquiry and art creation in South Australia.
As well as Artist in Residence Kate Power, and the inaugural Hanlon Larsen Screen Fellowship recipient Emma Hough Hobbs, new incoming Creative and Performing Arts Honours students Duncan Vecchiarelli and Rhys Stewart have started Assemblage Adelaide Theatre and More (ATaM) Honours scholarships this year.
Assemblage, in the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at Flinders University, also aims to draw in wider arts industry practitioners and companies – in addition to other industries – so that it gains international recognition as an arts incubator and an epicentre of creative arts research and production.
For example, a key part of the centre’s collaboration with industry and artists is the new facility ‘The Void’ – the largest virtual reality and motion capture lab in South Australia.
The new lab at the University’s Bedford Park campus is a large-scale, fixed facility used by lecturers, researchers, students and industry partners to collaborate on a variety of motion capture performances and projects – for films, television and experimental games projects.
“By enabling directors to work with trained performers in this facility, there is the opportunity to capture computational data in 3D space in real time and load it straight into a game engine as content toward the final product,” says Dan Thorsland, director of The Void.
“It not only captures body movement, but also highly detailed facial capturing. It’s the innovative next step for performance.”
Assemblage also aims to position Flinders at the centre of national and international activity in digital cultural heritage – especially presenting the rich histories of Indigenous Nations, building on foundations laid at Flinders University by the Tjilbruke Indigenous Studies and Research Group and the high-profile creative work of Unbound Collective.
In August 2021, Wesley Enoch – the highly celebrated indigenous arts festival director, theatre director and cultural commentator – will deliver an Assemblage keynote speech at Flinders University addressing the arts and social justice.
“Wesley is also a member of the Assemblage External Advisory Panel and Assemblage looks forward to extending our relationship with one of Australia’s important indigenous cultural figures,” says director of the Centre Professor Garry Stewart, outgoing ADT artistic director and now Professor of Creative Arts at Flinders University.
“The new Centre is called Assemblage because it’s a facility for diverse thinkers and practitioners to come together into a unique space in order to create something that we could not possibly do alone,” Professor Stewart says.
“Assemblage is drawing together significant resources we already have across the University. It creates focus within the University and also externally to generate interest from the wider community of artists, industries, communities and supporters.”
Professor Stewart is renowned for pushing dance performance in extraordinary new directions as the acclaimed artistic director of Australian Dance Theatre (ADT), having forged radical collaborations with neuroscience, physics, digital and motion capture technologies, architecture and robotics.
He is now part of the Assemblage team encouraging this same spirit of innovation to fuel new creative arts research through bringing together Flinders University’s existing creative arts disciplines in fresh collaborations. The team includes:
- Dr Tully Barnett, Deputy Director of Assemblage, who does cutting-edge work in digitisation and the immersive reading experience.
- Professor Maryrose Casey – Research Section Head, Creative and Performing Arts
- Professor Penny Edmonds – Dean of Research, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
- Associate Professor William Peterson – Creative and Performing Arts
- Associate Professor Julia Erhart – Creative and Performing Arts
- Mr Dan Thorsland – Business Development Manager, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
- Dr Amy Matthews – Creative Writing Section Head
This team is engaging new connections with a range of academic fields to promote innovative trans-disciplinary research with such areas as engineering, robotics, artificial intelligence, motion capture, virtual reality and health sciences.