Content and methodology

This project is aimed towards establishing training courses which would be an amalgamation of knowledge from the field of arts and technology, in a way that will enable the respective participants to acquire competencies which would be highly applicable in professional life, by insuring the in-depth approach to the subject of studies. This project should also create means of networking, and foster future cooperation among HEI and potential future employers, namely theatres and other institutions that deal in public event productions.

Partners from the European Union will have an advisory role in the project, while universities and theatres form Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina will be developing new training courses and improving curricula. The assembled team of experts should produce new methodology and new teaching materials for the courses.

In Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina people working as theatre technicians are inadequately trained, as a 3 year study „The technological state and potentials of architectural objects meant for public events in the Republic of Serbia” (2008-2010) has clearly shown. Those results were to be expected, since there are no training courses for theatre technicians in Serbia, nor in Bosnia and Herzegovina. No similar study has been done in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but there is no reason to believe that the situation would be different there. That situation has a negative effect on the creative standards of theatre productions but, more importantly it has a negative effect on the health and safety issues, affecting both theatre employees and audiences.

In recent years, some university level studies have been established, but it is unrealistic to expect from all currently working theatre technicians to undergo full four or five years of study, nor do they need to, since they have a certain level of knowledge gained from experience.

In accordance with the strategy for lifelong learning and for connecting universities with the labour market, the aim is to make training courses which would allow working theatre technicians and stage managers to gain necessary expertise and to improve on their knowledge. Those courses shall also be attended by students studying architecture, scene design, light and sound design, set and costume design, giving them more hands on experience and practical knowledge providing them with a higher level of employability because of the more applicable knowledge that they will get.

During the project, prerequisite criteria will be formulated for the future courses participants, and the research team will consider the skills that the candidate for participation in the courses needs to have in order to be enrolled, so that unemployed people with sufficient prerequisite skills who want to be retrained can attend. People trained as theatre technicians have a wide range of possibilities for employment – they can work in theatres, in all sorts of public venues; they are needed for constructing exhibition stands at trade fairs and in numerous situations where something is presented physically in front of an audience.

The decision for creating this kind of project was formed at the meeting of the Education Comission of OISTAT (Organisation Internationale des Scénographes, Techniciens et Architectes de Théâtre) which was held 3-6th of November in Novi Sad, organised by S.Cen (Serbian Centre for Scene design, architecture and technology) under the theme: “Education in the field of theatre technology and management – programs and new trends”. S.Cen is a research centre founded by the Faculty of technical sciences, University of Novi Sad, and it is the driving force behind all the research on the above mentioned subjects. Representatives from all the schools in the consortium of this project have been present at these meetings, and we have reached the conclusion that it would be very useful, even necessary to have courses for theatre technicians and stage managers. People who pass those courses seem to be highly employable in EU states (new courses for theatre technicians un the UK have reached outstanding graduate employment rates according to HESA), so there is reason to believe  that they would be employable in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina as well, considering that people trained in working with theatre technology are in demand not only in theatres, but in all sorts of public venues where something has to be presented to the audience, be it a theatre show, a sporting event or a presentation of any kind.

The very participance of theatre institutions in this sort of project shows that they are interested in improving their practices, and they are interested in employing trained theatre technicians.

One of the outcomes of this project will be a published thorough research with the proposal for a system of obligatory licensing of theatre technicians and stage managers, which will be sent to respective ministries in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

At the beginning of the project, the consortium members will prepare an analysis of current education and competency levels of theatre technicians and theatre managers in partner countries, and a list of required competences and learning outcomes expected out of a trained theatre technician. Combining information from those activities with the information on the employment strategies in the field will provide the necessary basis for defining training courses curricula. Also the legislative difference concerning theatre technicians licensing will be defined, and discussed among the working members of the consortium.

The prerequisite criteria will be defined for the future courses attendees. It needs to be precisely defined how much experience does a potential participant have to have, and which educational level in order to be enrolled in the courses, which will allow unemployed people who have sufficient previous skills to be enrolled and hopefully find a job after the courses.

During the course of the project, both trainers and trainees will be educated, using EU partners’ experiences in the process. The necessary additions to pre-existing equipment and books will be made, making the courses more effective in training participants in working with new technologies.

As previous research has shown, working theatre technicians do not only have inadequate training, but they also have a sort of reluctance in using new technologies, which are inevitably coming. That also creates a gap in understanding between the young and the older theatre technicians where the young understand the new technologies, but do not have the experience, and the older have the experience, but are uncomfortable around new technologies.

This sort of training courses should allow theatre technicians to better understand each other. That also goes for the communication with foreign theatre technicians, which is very important because of visiting theatre shows from abroad, and for the theatre companies touring. Courses will be carried out for 3 times during the project duration time, and the feedback after the courses will be helpful in reviewing the courses curricula shaping them as precisely as possible to the labour market needs and participants prior knowledge and expectations. Participant questionnaires and labour market reactions reports will be analysed as valuable information for the quality control. The courses will be carried out at the universities and in theatres involved in the project, combining theoretic lectures and practical exercises using theatre technology and space.

The budget for the project is structured primarily to facilitate efficient work on the new courses and to bring benefit to participants attending the courses. Travel expenses of the research staff have been reduced as much as possible in order to leave room in the budget for student mobility. A large portion of communication between partners will be done through webinars and skype conferences. The visit to UK is timed to coincide with the WSD (World Stage Design) event, where students will have great possibilities for creating contacts, attending workshops, and listening to lectures made by lecturers from all over the world. Also, they will be closely involved into technical supporting of such a large event, which will be an invaluable experience on its own. The second trip will be to Erasmushogeschool Brussel in Brussels, Belgium which will provide invaluable experience to the students, since that school also has, besides training courses, a testing centre for theatre technicians in the field (certification based on competences earned in the field). Purchase of some audio-video equipment for needed for the theatre technicians education has been planned, and the definite list of the equipment has been created after the consultations with teachers and technical staff at the universities in order to make a good contribution to existing equipment that the universities already have.  The funds needed for the course programme printing are provided for each University. Special funds in the budget are planned to promote the new program, advertising in the media and the organization of lectures for students and experts from different related fields, as well as for dissemination of information at international level.

All Universities in the consortium will give a contribution to the budget in the calculated staff costs for preparation of materials for new programs, lectures and workshops, as well as participation in the permanent monitoring and management. Implementation of training courses will bring improvement of creative, technical and safety standards of work in theatrical and public venues in partner countries, in accordance with good practices in EU countries. The project will bring enhancement of networking among HEI and labour market in the field of theatre and public event production.