In December 2022, I received a phone call from Simon at BOM, asking me to prepare a talk about IJAD Dance Company’s digital playground, Open Online Theatre, our artist training opportunities, the hybrid festivals we’re creating and audience inclusion. My talk was to be included in the Open Worlds Immersive Arts Bootcamp.

When I hung up, I was keen to know more about BOM, and was thrilled to find our ethos very much aligned, from working at the intersection of ‘art, science and technology’, to our mutual intent to share knowledge, and build community, using art and tech to foster growth and social change. It was very exciting.

Fast forward to the week of 13th of February. Rather than present remotely, I decided to travel to BOM from London, to get to know the space, the participants, the speakers, and the organisation. I spent the day like a child in a digital candy store! From the moment I stepped into the building, I was warmly welcomed, and it was clear that everyone from team BOM knew who everyone was and was aware of their needs. They showed me around and explained the purpose of all their spaces including those for quiet time, I saw inclusion, diversity, and kindness.

During the day I witnessed talks and workshops that were of a high calibre yet very accessible.  I left BOM inspired and wanting to connect more to dream the hybrid immersive future with them and develop the community of audience and artists wanting to progress, develop and share . This was my mindset for my talk, in which I shared the history of IJAD and discussed Sensography – the art of creating work for multiple realities – while looking at ways we can weave audiences into our creations.  I shared methodologies of creating in the hybrid realms with audiences being in the work from inception.

Far from hybrid work simply being that which is witnessed simultaneously live and online, IJAD sees hybridity as an interweaving of a variety of innovative digital options within the creative process. We’re really excited about that, and about experimenting with artists to see what unknown possibilities are waiting in the wings!

Joumana Mourad

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