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NPAPWS – where rowing machine met Shakespeare and Gig City

80 participants from 28 countries and 3 continents – the 2017 edition of the Network Performing Arts Production Workshops (NPAPWS) was the best attended event in the series so far. Since 2009, workshops have been held in Europe and the United States annually as a collaborative project of GÉANT and Internet2 together with NRENs and cultural institutions around the world. This year, academics, technicians and artists met at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen to share knowledge and experience in using research networking in supporting real-time musical, dance and artistic performances.

The 3 day workshop’s program was mainly focused on education – teaching and learning via the academic networks and using various technologies available, including those developed by the members of the R&E community such as LoLa (Low Latency video-streaming system), Utragrid (high-quality/low latency video and audio transmissions software) and others. Technical updates, research presentations, discussions and live demonstrations were complimented by 2 multi-site evening performances – ‘Similarities’ (Prague – Miami – Copenhagen) and ‘Longing for the Impossible’ (Copenhagen – London – Barcelona).

The last day of the workshop was dedicated to creative use of technology, such as the Coriolanus Online project, enabling students in the UK and Finland to rehearse part of Shakespeare’s play together via the network without leaving their home institutions. Another impressive example came from the researchers of Anglia Ruskin University, who set up a live demonstration to show how one’s rowing technique can be improved by creating music from their movements, which then can be evaluated by a sports therapist located thousands of kilometers away based on the musical notes produced.

At the end of the workshop, Mary Barnett from USA shared her experience in adopting LoLa in a public library in Chattanooga, one of the first Gig Cities in the world, showing how those technologies grew out of being something only used by musicians at conservatories and asking what is next? What other spaces and venues can the solutions available for collaboration over advanced networks be adopted in?

This year’s workshop was kindly sponsored by DeiC and Sennheiser. The next NPAPWS event will take place in Miami, USA in 2018. Meanwhile, find information about similar projects, other events and check continuously updated learning materials on the NPAPWS community website.

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