An initiative of the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Toronto, the BMO Lab is a transdisciplinary hub providing a home for collaborative creative research across the Arts and Sciences. Grounded in the Arts, it is driven by a special but non-exclusive focus on emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence.
The Lab recognizes theatre as a vital locus of integration among the arts and a point of entry to a foundational inquiry of human experience in the rapidly changing world resulting from these technologies. With this as its gravitational centre, all the activities in the Lab are firmly placed in human, social, and cultural space, committed to engagement with the broader public, and addressing the growing complexities of the lived world.
We are motivated by the belief that preparing for and responding to rapid and unpredictable changes requires a collaborative effort in artistic creation, scientific research, and pedagogy unconstrained by disciplinary boundaries. This kind of collaboration rests on the development of relationships of respect across traditional divides and hybrid methodologies that question orthodox approaches.
Concretely, we aim to:
- Support the researching, creation and production of new works that use the unique potentials of emerging technologies and AI, especially to pose questions about the impact and optimal role of these technologies within human society
- Host residencies and faculty fellowships that will bring together internationally acclaimed artists and researchers from various disciplines to address emerging questions about the creative use of AI and other technologies
- Develop and / or customize tools to support and challenge performance practise, drawing directly on the experience and needs of theatre and arts practitioners
- Provide explorable embodied experiences that illuminate the theoretical possibilities and implications of AI and emerging technologies in ways that can be shared across disciplinary bounds and with the general public
- Provide an attractor to like-minded students so that the Centre for Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies can cultivate an ongoing cohort of graduate and undergraduate students engaged in these kinds of explorations
- Give students from across the University new opportunities for interdisciplinary, experiential learning and problem solving, along with the knowledge, skills and resilience they will need to adapt in careers defined by technologies such as machine learning.
Activities of the BMO Lab include:
- High-profile exhibitions and performances of the work of international visiting artists
- Engaging the broader community through interactive seminars, symposia and public talks
- Public exhibitions and performances of student work
- Collaborative workshops for artists and students from across the arts, humanities, sciences and engineering
- Interdisciplinary engagement with AI-related programs for graduate students across the University
- Research-based interdisciplinary undergraduate courses