The beginning of September saw me attend the forth (technically my second) of the partner meetings for the LAAR project. This meeting was hosted by the wise Chris Van Goethem, our projects connection to the weird and wonderful world of theatre. The projects use case is training stage-hands using augmented reality combined with learning analytics. Chris teaches and advices the team, comprised mainly of proud computer geeks, about this ancient craft. The event was hosted in beautiful and busy KAAI Theatre, Brussels. I’d never been to Brussels, how exciting!
Prior to the trip, tensions for me were high. This was our last meeting before the big deadline: a conference in Frankfurt the first week of April. It would be great to see everyone again, I just hoped everything would be coming together. I returned to the UK after the two day meeting relieved, a bounce in my step. It was great to see everyone’s progress and (most importantly for me) we have a plan for Frankfurt, a good one. In hindsight, I didn’t need to worry. The teams managers had already looked far into the future and been planning the conference for months.
On the last day we were given a tour of the theatre. This was probably my favourite part of the trip and I found it surprisingly helpful and relevant to the research I have been doing. The theatre has a rich history, explained to us by our lovely tour guide (who’s name I’ve forgotten, sorry). I would try and explain the history, but I would not give justice so maybe just visit? We were shown around the backstage and even allowed to climb to the top of the stage, a scary experience for me – I seem to be developing a fear of heights with age which I believe is totally unfair (a year ago I would sit, intoxicated, on the edge of cliffs, my feet dangling over the drop). The main realisation I had from the tour was in regards to safety. Working in the theatre industry can be dangerous! On-stage there are weights suspended high above people’s heads, ropes with tension, it’s busy, there’s always new people coming and going as shows change… Chris had mentioned the discipline required by the professionals who work this industry but this really made me understand why. I hope this is reflect now in the final iteration of research for this project.