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London conservatoire awarded £900k for Extended Reality (XR) research

The Guildhall School of Music & Drama has received a grant of over £900,000 from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to establish a research facility for Extended Reality (XR) Production Arts.

The grant will be used to procure two major pieces of audio-visual hardware and IT equipment, creating a dedicated studio for research into Extended Reality. This technology allows for the combination of virtual and physical worlds, creating digital clones of performers, objects and spaces that can be supplemented with additional digital elements and effects. 

The research will help to create conceptual environments for training performers and developing choreography with dance companies.

Guildhall School’s Vice-Principal & Director of Production Arts, Professor Andy Lavender, said the award would help position the school as a leader in Extended Reality performance. The addition of leading-edge infrastructure in Extended Reality production builds on the School’s award-winning capability in low-latency connectivity, live streaming and recent Guildhall Live Events projects exploring virtual reality.

The grant was awarded as part of the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)’s £103 million investment to expand and upgrade the UK’s research infrastructure. This award builds on Guildhall School’s outstanding research environment, as recognised in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework.

Photo: OrchestRAM, a recent Guildhall School event which used projection mapping to enhance immersion © Sophie Harbinson