The Value Chamber: Performance and digital iterations across art, design and education

Lawrence Harvey, Gregory More, David Forrest, Margaret Trail, Louise Godwin, Sam McGilp (RMIT University)
2017 Conference

Through an integrated series of research and development activities this paper reports on a project that explored new ways of capturing value for small-to-medium arts organisations. The paper arises from the ARC funded Linkage Project ‘Agile Opera: Chamber Opera in a New Era’ undertaken by RMIT University in partnership with Chamber Made Opera, the Australia Council for the Arts and Federation Square Management.


The Agile Opera Project brings together university researchers and arts based practitioners to investigate new ways to capture value through a series of micro-labs (industry workshops), digital iterations of works, performance-exhibitions, and the development of a digital platform designed for small-to-medium arts SMA organisations.


Chamber Made Opera is connected to the traditions of performance which value the situated experience, in which artworks share the same space (chamber) as an audience, and inherits the sustained experimentalism of its art form. This paper reports how digital platforms can be used—aligned to the intrinsic values of a small-to-medium arts company—to translate live spatial performances into digital and spatial re-creations that we call Digiworks as they enable value to emerge through garnering new audiences, in new venues, through an enhanced portability of performance.


Through the interconnected layers of this research project, we seek to answer the question proposed for this conference: How do we continue to promote value in an increasingly conservative and short term economic context? In an environment in which arts organisation must move quickly and with agility, alliances formed within research and educational centres offer valuable opportunities to undertake deeper and valued work at a different tempo.

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About the author

Lawrence Harvey is Director of the Spatial Information Architecture Laboratory (SIAL), and associate professor in the School of Architecture and Design, RMIT University. Harvey is a composer and sound designer and also directs SIAL Sound Studios, a centre for auditory spatial research, teaching and events, located in the School of Architecture and Design at RMIT University, Melbourne.

Gregory More is a Senior Lecturer in SIAL and coordinates the Designing Information Environments studios in the SIAL MDIT program, where students work with information, space and technology. He founded OOM Creative and is an expert in digital design. His design work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art New York (MoMA), the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), selected for OneDotZero and Resfest International Film Festivals, as well as featured in a range of international biennales and publications.

David Forrest is Professor in the Schools of Art and Education at RMIT University. A large amount of David’s work has been focused on the development and implementation of policy in music and arts education, at the state, national and international levels. He has pursued ongoing research on the Russian composer and educator Dmitri Kabalevsky (1904–87).

Sam McGilp is a filmmaker and PhD researcher working on the Agile Opera Research project and is a current recipient of the Vice Chancellor’s PhD Scholarship. His documentary films have been screened nationally and internationally, and he has documented theatre and performance works for the Melbourne Festival, Korean Performing Arts Market, Dance Massive and Next Wave Festival. His creative practice research seeks to understand what essential transformations occur to a performance work when it is adapted to digital form.