DLI Research Fellow
Biography: Michael Byrne is a Research Fellow at Cornell University's technology campus in New York City, exploring the intersection of augmented reality, marginalized history, architectural surfaces and dance. His current research examines how emergent technologies can redress societal themes of invisibility in civic spaces, using gestural AR/VR to vivify the narratives of unrepresented communities. Motivated by the omission of Eleanor Roosevelt from Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island, his Computational Histories Program unites leading museums and dance companies in New York and Washington D.C. to develop digital platforms that function as historical, ethical, and pedagogical correctives for inequality.
Michael is also investigating contextual disruptions within narrative ballet, focusing on the ends, purposes, and values of (re)performance. His central case studies map the disruptive information flows of Robert Helpmann’s dance-dramas, relying on the corporeal histories of surviving cast members, aged now between 90-102. His ethnographic research was published within Robert Helpmann: The Many Faces of a Theatrical Dynamo, edited by Richard A. Cave, and Anna Meadmore.
Cornell Affiliations: Proud member of the Digital Life Initiative (DLI), as well as the XR Collaboratory (XRC) within Cornell University's Department of Computer and Information Science.
External Affiliations: Appointed to the Board of Directors for the Eleanor Roosevelt Val-Kill Partnership, an organization dedicated to illuminating Eleanor's expansive legacy at her home in Hyde Park and beyond
Education: Vega School of Design and Branding, Royal Academy of Music (RAM), King's College London, Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), and the University of Cambridge.
Performance: For over a decade, Michael acted within the narrative repertoire of The Royal Ballet: Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake, Giselle, La Bayadere, Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote (USA Tour), The Firebird, The Winter's Tale (Australian Tour), Manon, Ondine, Mayerling, Prince of the Pagodas, Strapless, Sylvia, and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Other credits include performing at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in King Lear, As You Like It, Anne Boleyn, and The Merry Wives of Windsor (UK Tour); travelling to Tokyo and Yokohama in The Royal Opera's production of La Traviata; joining the Bolshoi and Mariinsky Ballet companies during their respective Covent Garden seasons; and singing as a backing vocalist for Elton John at Wembley Stadium with his RAM cohort.
Art Direction & Design: As a trained art director, Michael worked for Network BBDO (South Africa), and Citigroup Investment Bank and Kramer (United Kingdom). He is also responsible for the Digital Life Initiative’s design and branding materials.
Computational Histories Program: