Doris Duke Foundation's Performing Arts Technologies Lab

The Doris Duke Foundation today announced the Performing Arts Technologies Lab: a new effort to support the development of paradigm-shifting ideas in the performing arts.

The foundation invites artists, technicians, designers, producers, performing arts presenting organizations, universities, national service organizations, research centers and related artistic entities to participate in this initiative to promote artistic and technological innovation across the performing arts. Lab participants will benefit from a range of supports, including funding, access to a production advisor, knowledge and network-building opportunities.

The Performing Arts Technologies Lab is intended to pioneer a support system that will nurture and expand innovation in the performing arts. Through this initiative, the foundation will support the use of emerging technologies and production methods, enhancing access and encouraging novel, risk-taking artistic ideas.

The lab aims to identify projects leveraging technology for new approaches to conception, presentation and engagement in the performing arts. The effort champions the performing arts’ long history of integrating with technology and understands the term broadly to give artists and organizations latitude in creating boundary-pushing works that advance the field.

“Artists are inventors and innovators. But the current performing arts ecosystem is not well designed to help artists take creative risks with work that uses or is about emerging digital technologies," said Sam Gill, President and CEO of the Doris Duke Foundation. “The Performing Arts Technologies Lab is a first-of-its-kind effort to meet innovative artists where they are.”

Among the priority areas of interest for the grants are:

Paradigm-shifting ideas that push the performing arts out of typical presentation formats
Creative explorations that demonstrate how emerging technologies can overcome production limitations and benefit performers and audiences
Technically demanding projects that illuminate what the effective use of new technology, tools, and skills in the performing arts will require
Projects that illustrate what effective support for the use of technology in the performing arts will require, such as technical support and time to experiment integrating new technology
Applicants selected to join the lab will embark on a five-month exploratory period focusing on ideation of innovative projects that integrate digital technology. The foundation will provide resources to aid in feasibility and development, enable fabrication and material testing, and help participants identify collaborators to execute their projects. Subsequent funding will be considered to enable some lab projects to move from proof-of-concept to initial implementation.

In addition to funding, a critical part of the lab experience will be the provision of technical support and programming that helps grantees build and benefit from collaborative peer-to-peer support networks across the field.

Among the projects that are eligible for consideration are boundary-pushing categories like large-scale, technologically advanced artworks in the performing arts; new artistic or audience experiences; creative approaches to distribution, dissemination and audience engagement; new approaches to production including in recruitment, training and continued education of production staff; experiments in lighting, sound, rigging and creative theater design or its implementation; and projects that tackle the structure of artistic production including residencies or developmental programming.

Doris Duke Foundation Arts Program Director Ashley Ferro-Murray said, “As the foundation launches this new technology platform, we are excited to hear from the field and explore the ambitious and innovative ways that this support could advance the creative process for artists and creative experiences for audiences. The financial considerations surrounding the performing arts so rarely provide opportunities for experimentation. With these grants, we invite artists, arts workers and invested collaborators to test options they have been unable to access, invest the needed time to develop their ideas and begin to bring them to life.”

Applicants must submit concepts by May 6, 2024. (Please note the updated deadline.) Applications for the Performing Arts Technologies Lab can be accessed here. For questions not answered after reviewing the FAQs in the request for applications document, please email with “2024 Phase 1 Lab – [your last name]” as the subject line.

Application Deadline:2024-05-06
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