Bombastic makes dance and animation productions for young people aged four to eleven years old, alongside the creation of a range of digital games and interactive experiences.
They’re exploring the creation of a digital platform that creatively combines education and live art that can mean more frequent and impacting engagement for its schools audiences, and in turn, shape a new business model for the Company.
Artistic Director Sean Tuan John to gives us his take on the project :
Bombastic has been mixing live arts with animation and interactive digital experiences for ten years now. But performing and touring tech-based work means big overheads and real limitations on regularity of contact with our audiences. At the moment we can only take work out to schools once a year, which makes it a real challenge to build relationships with teachers and children. We want to be a much more regular presence across the school year, so to do this we need a far more agile and responsive model for working.
So, we’re looking at creating a web-based membership platform or service to help us do that. Schools can sign-up to receive live streamed, pre-recorded, and interactive digital content, designed and created around the curriculum, that can be projected onto classroom screens, and delivered via tablets.
Being a live arts company we want to make work that is creative and innovative, but we also need to support the curriculum in stronger ways than we’ve been able to until now. This option could really show the impact that interacting with live arts can have across all areas of education, not just arts subjects.
combining education and live art
Has this process shaped or changed your relationship with digital technology?
Having contact with the technical experts has been so valuable in opening my eyes to other things happening out there. But the most significant realisation has been that digital innovation doesn’t have to mean new. There’s tech out there that can be adapted by morphing or fusing different things together, and by being overly ambitious you can risk missing opportunities that are already there and available. Realising that we don’t have to reinvent what we do – just find quicker and more agile ways of engaging with our audiences – has felt like a real gear change for us.
What impact do you think this project could have on your organisation?
We’ve always had plans to develop the digital side of what we do, we’ve just been waiting for the opportunity to do it. Creating a new business model where schools pay annually for a programme of regular content could transform the company from a publicly funded arts company to one that’s able to self-sustain through membership and subscription. As well as this, by developing our different prototypes, we’ll be gathering evidence about which creative forms marry best with educational needs. So, we’re hoping to come out of the project with extensive case studies and reports to show the value of using live arts to underpin all areas of education.
Has the innovation process shaped or changed your understanding of the problem?
It’s certainly opened our eyes up to what we didn’t know. The insight we’ve managed to get about the ways teachers use and interact with digital technology has really shaped our thinking, and shown us where our knowledge gaps are. It’s opened up whole new routes for addressing the problem that I hadn’t considered before. The process of finding tech partners, has kept us flexible, open and responsive, which has also influenced the shape of the project. The freedom of the iterative nature of the innovation process has also had a big impact. As artists we spend a huge amount of time creating and honing work that focuses on final production values before an audience has had a chance to see it. Being able to see the young people testing and shaping the work we make as collaborators is a really exciting prospect for us.