First student placements in Mad Head Games

The first group of 6 students from national academic partner institutions in Belgrade (P1) and Kragujevac (P3) completed their practical placements in gaming company Mad Head Games (P10) in September 6–20, 2021. Four students of new master study program Applied Research of Music (PRIMA) at the Faculty of Music in Belgrade (P1) and two students of master study program Music in Media, updated with new course Digital portfolio introduced in academic year 2020/21, had an opportunity to test and broaden their knowledge on gaming industry, particularly in the field of music and sound production for video games.

The main aim of the practical placement was to introduce students to as many aspects of video games production, in order to better understand this growing industry and explore the possibilities it offers to music professionals. During their practical placements, the music students learned about the specific characteristics of video games as an interactive media, the technical aspects of its production, including the organizational structure of development studies and production technology. In addition, the students were introduced to aesthetic principles of games dramaturgy, particularly on Mad Head Games projects.

A special attention was, of course, been given to sound design and production, which included not only music but also sound effects and dialogues.

At the end of placement period, the students were given tasks of creating concepts for game music direction, based on a game segment. This task was met with great enthusiasm among students, who engaged their creativity, knowledge and skills to match the chosen music to visual narrative game aesthetic, to edit it so that music and sound follow the dynamics and events in the game. Some of their works are available on project’s YouTube channel.

In accordance with ongoing measures to control the spread of disease COVID-19 in Serbia, the student practice was carried out completely online.

The partners and collaborators from Mad Head Games are eager to welcome the second group of students from P1-P2 on practical placements in November 2021.

Student placements in Mad Head Games: Agenda

MHG Studentska praksa screenshot 15092021

DEMUSIS project eligibility period extended for 12 months

The European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) approved the request for the extension of the DEMUSIS project eligibility period by twelve months, until 14 January 2023. The extension of the project eligibility period will allow smooth implementation of project activities, modified or postponed in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19 pandemic outbreak in Serbia and EU.
The decision to submit the request for the extension of project eligibility period was made unanimously by the Project Management Board on the annual meeting in December 2021.

The most important reasons for the project eligibility extension include the following:

  • Accreditation, preparation and realization of LLL courses (WP5) after previous decision from October 2020 by National Institute for the Promotion of Education to postpone the national accreditation of LLL courses for one year, to October 2021. Having in mind that the accreditation process at the National Institute for the Promotion of Education lasts one year, the postponement of LLL accreditation means that implementation of LLL courses (WP 5.3) could start in October 2022 at the earliest. The preparation of LLL courses is underway.
    The accreditation of LLL (life-long learning) courses in the areas of music entrepreneurship, music in digital environment and social engagement of musicians by the National Institute for the Promotion of Education is one of key project milestones, pertaining to the project’s specific objective B: continuing professional development for music professionals, aiming at improvement and enhancement of their digital and entrepreneurial skills. The realization of LLL courses would therefore have a huge impact on project results, as it covers to the greatest extent one of the three main project objectives. At least 10 LLL courses in areas of music entrepreneurship and music in digital environment were planned, to be developed within WPs 1, 3 and 4, and adapted for LLL usage.
  • Live dissemination events, the culminating one being Public debate in Novi Sad EU Capital of Culture in the fall 2022, after the decision of the European Parliament and the Council to move the title year of Novi Sad (Serbia) as EU Capital of Culture from 2021 to 2022. The Public debate in the framework of EU Capital of Culture program will include public presentation of student projects and participation of all national academic, non-academic partner institutions and stakeholders, significantly contributing in that way, to the project impact and visibility, along with promotion of more engaged and culturally responsible musicians committed to the civil society.
    Moreover, according to the Project Dissemination and Exploitation Plan, in the last phase of the project dissemination, the focus lies at live dissemination events, with relevant stakeholders. Live dissemination events aiming at enhancement of dialogue between academic and civil sector, with communication of project outcomes to the representatives from academia, culture, media, governmental and non-governmental organizations and general public, would ensure better visibility of project outcomes, along with further exploitation of project ideas and results. In 2020 and first half of 2021, almost all dissemination activities were realized completely or mostly online, given the significant limitations in audience presence due to COVID19 imposed restrictions on social gathering and live events.
  • Live practical student placements in non-academic partner institutions (WP 4.5), in media (P7) and IT/gaming industry (P10), in academic year 2021/22. Previously in 2020 and first half of 2021, they were cancelled due to complete or partial lockdown in Serbia, with severe restrictions of the number of people allowed at the premises, along with changes of type of activities and work conditions in the state of pandemic. Owing to the specific nature of work at P10 – Mad Head Games offered online student placements, which will take place in September 2021 for the first group of students of new and modernized study programs at P1-P3. However, in the partnership meetings with the national broadcasting service Radio-Television of Serbia (P7) it was concluded that better results could be achieved with student placements live and dispersed over one year, namely, both in the fall and spring semester of academic year 2021/22.
  • Live teaching visits from EU academic partners (P4-P6) to national ones (P1-P3) within the WP4.3, offering intensive teaching within the modernized and new study programs. The unanimous conclusion of the Project Management Board is that, having in mind specific requirements and importance of individual contact between teacher and student in music education, live teaching visits would have a substantially higher impact on project results and sustainability. Furthermore, live visits of EU teaching staff to Serbian academic partner institutions will include a particular follow-up to teacher training (WP 3.1), realized in academic year 2020/21 in an online format due to the coronavirus outbreak, at Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre (P6), New Bulgarian University (P5) and Royal Conservatoire The Hague (P4). The members of the project consortium are of the opinion that live teaching, training and learning, namely live contact between Serbian and EU teachers and students, would yield better results in opposition to online ones, having stronger relevance for national HMEIs teaching staff and students as the main project target groups.
  • In the bilateral meetings between EU academic partner institution and project coordinator in Spring 2021, it was agreed to realize two teaching visits to Serbia by teachers of each EU academic partner institutions (P4-P6) to each of Serbian HMEIs (P1-P3) in academic years 2021/22 and fall semester of 2022/23.
    In addition, following the first entrepreneurial bootcamp for music students in Serbia Music – Here and Now, successfully realized in hybrid form on 10-24 May 2021 by P1-P4, it was concluded by partner institutions involved that even greater visibility and impact both in activities 4.3 (implementation of modernized and new study programs), as an innovative approach to teaching and learning in the field of music entrepreneurship and social engagement of academic musicians, and 7.5 (student project presented publicly), would be produced by live entrepreneurial bootcamp for music students in Novi Sad in the fall of 2022, as part of the activities within WP7 and program Novi Sad as EU Capital of Culture.
  • All partners have agreed that having one more Project Management Board (PMB) live meeting in Serbia during the project lifetime would provide better networking, stronger analysis of project implementation in COVID-19 and post-Covid environment, active exchange of insights on lessons learnt and higher quality discussion on the sustainability of the project and its outcomes in the (post-)Covid times. It was established therefore, that 3rd annual PMB meeting will be held in Kragujevac, hosted by the University of Kragujevac (P3) in December 2021 and the final one in November 2022 in Belgrade, hosted by the project coordinator University of Arts in Belgrade (P1).

DEMUSIS Project Technical Implementation Report assessed positively and approved

The Technical Implementation Report on the DEMUSIS project progress, submitted on 31 August 2020, was assessed positively and approved by the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency of the European Commission on 4 February 2021. The assessment looks at the partnership's performance as regards the efficient implementation of the project.

In Comments and Recommendations on the Project Implementation Report it is stated that the project's objectives remain “pertinent to needs, problems and issues of higher education in Serbia as well as the intended target groups and beneficiaries.” It is also recognized that most of the project activities are implemented in line with the workplan, while the adjustments made in the various activities are “an indicator of a high sense of adaptability with the aim of maximizing the impact of the project.” Furthermore, it is noted that the majority of the expected results at the project midterm has been delivered, with even a number of activities and results exceeding the initial expectations, among which are: the introduction of 3 new master programs, instead of 1 originally planned; questionnaires for students and professors at all national academic institutions, in order to gather data about participants' attitudes toward digital technologies, music entrepreneurship and cultural awareness of musicians in curricula; and the organization of an entrepreneurial boot camp for students and teachers in Serbia.

Regarding the quality of the project team and its cooperation, it is highlighted that DEMUSIS project “rests upon a pertinent partnership that enables a proper transfer of knowledge from EU partners to Western Balkans HEIs”. The distribution of tasks and responsibilities are recognized as strengthening the quality of the project team and the project. The management structure devised and the working methodologies chosen are marked as well-structured and appropriate.

The resilience of the project partnership in adapting to new situations and external constraints is particularly praised. It is concluded that the partnership’s timely reactions to the challenges and coming up with feasible solution, along with commitment and dedication, play crucial role in the success of DEMUSIS project.

Entrepreneurial bootcamp for music students Music – Here and Now to be held in May

Students and teachers from 3 national academic partner institutions – The Faculty of Music, University of Arts in Belgrade (P1), Academy of Arts, University of Novi Sad (P2) and the Faculty of Philology and Arts, University of Kragujevac (P3), will gather with teachers from the Royal Conservatoire The Hague (P4), to explore new playgrounds for their music projects for the first time in Serbia, within a blended music entrepreneurial bootcamp starting from May 10th.

The entrepreneurial bootcamp for music students Music – Here and Now was prepared in the online teacher training held from 19th to 23rd of April 2021.
Calls for students for participation in the bootcamp Music – Here and Now will be opened in the following days at each individual national academic institution, with students of all new and modernized bachelor and master study programs invited to apply.
All students will get together online with Serbian and Dutch teachers for the first two days of the bootcamp and the final feedback and evaluation sessions. In between, students will visit and choose the playground for their projects, develop and prepare them in a live environment. Rehearsals and show time will also be played live, while the project outcomes as documented in video clips made by students will be shared among all institutions participating in the bootcamp.

The entrepreneurial bootcamp for music students is an intensive period of artistic development and professional integration. In it, students will learn to apply their creativity and artistic practice in a new environment, to develop their collaborative and communicative skills and rethink their role and position as musicians in society. By thinking out, implementing and publicly presenting their projects in social contexts outside the walls of their educational institutions, students will explore different aspects of their artistic identity, making the music, and themselves as musicians, more visible and engaged in society. Through meeting new audiences and new people, learning their stories and being inspired by them in their own projects, the students will be able to make the difference and create new values. Also, for the first time during their studies, music students will learn to think in categories of products, short-term and long-term goals, and discover the whole gamut of different kinds of values to be made.

This kind of innovative pedagogical approach to learning and exploring the role and position of music and musicians in our contemporary society is implemented with the bootcamp Music – Here and Now, for the first time into the curriculum in higher music education in Serbia.

The entrepreneurial bootcamp for music students in Serbia is part of the project activity 4.3 – Implementation of new and modernized study programs and teaching visits from EU partner institutions, as well as the activity 7.5 with show time in chosen playgrounds also being the public presentation of student projects.

Entrepreneurial bootcamp for music students in Serbia "Music - Here and Now" – Draft agenda

Master academic studies at P2 and P3 updated

The Academy of Arts, University of Novi Sad (P2) and the Faculty of Philology and Arts, University of Kragujevac (P3) had updated master academic studies with new elective courses introducing digital and entrepreneurial skills and knowledge, developed and adopted within the framework of DEMUSIS project.

The master academic study program in Music Performance at the Faculty of Philology and Arts in Kragujevac therefore now includes a new elective Psychology of Communication (one semester, 4 ECTS), which study outcomes include the ability to understand the importance of communication to reaching aims and objectives of an organization, as well as functioning of an individual in a business environment, mastering the basic skills of understanding and control of various factors in interpersonal communication, along with competence for further individual reading and expanding the knowledge in the field of communicology.

In addition, the master study programs Music and Media, Music Pedagogy, Musicology and Ethnomusicology at the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad have been upgraded with elective course Methods of music education in digital environment – MEDIG (one semester, 6 ECTS), belonging to the field of methodical and didactic courses and introducing a wide variety of digital tools and approaches valuable and effective in music education of 21st century.

The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsi­ble for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.