Recent Submissions

  • The practice of solidarity through the arts: inter-relations and shared moments of creation in Share My Table

    Evans, Catrin; (Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, 2019-07-14)
    In 2017 the Scottish Refugee Council and Tramway embarked on a collaborative participatory arts project seeking to explore the upsurge in media coverage around issues of migration. Share My Table took a multi-artform approach, with performance and visual art providing the foundation for the exploration. This article, written from the position of artist researcher, shifts the lens away from the artistic or performance outputs of this participatory project, and instead reflects and theorises the working practices which emerged throughout the Share My Table project. By drawing on bell hooks’s work on practices of freedom (1994), and James Thompson’s call for a re-focusing towards affect, beauty and care (2011, 2015), the author argues for participatory practice’s radical potential. Ultimately, the how of participatory work, the careful and ethical attention on the doing can activate solidarity in relation to the asylum regime.
  • Dance, diaspora and the role of the archives: a dialogic reflection upon the Black Dance Arcives Project (UK)

    Carr, Jane; Baddoo, Deborah; University of Bedfordshire; State of Emergency Productions (Edinburgh University Press Ltd, 2020-05-01)
    The Black Dance Archives project collected materials that record the activities of black British artists who created and performed dance predominantly in the later years of the twentieth century. Through the form of a dialogue we bring the perspective of the dance producer who led the project together with a more academic interest in the potential of the materials collected to contribute to dance research. Our shared reflections reveal how a focus on archiving the work of dance artists of diasporic heritage emphasizes that dance, as a form of intangible cultural heritage, is particularly vulnerable to becoming lost to future generations. This leads to reflections upon the role of dance archives within the context of post-colonial Britain that brings to the fore some of the complexities of the archival process and the significance of how this project resulted in materials being dispersed across different institutions.
  • Book review: Joanna Dee Das, Katherine Dunham: Dance and the African Diaspora

    Carr, Jane (Edinburgh University Press, 2019-05-31)
    Review of Katherine Dunham Dance and the African Diaspora Joanna Dee Das, Oxford University Press, 2017 9780190264871
  • Dancing brains: dance as a key motivator for success in mathematics

    Pugh, Kathryn; University of Bedfordshire (2018-08-01)
    A growing body of research supports the notion that dance enhances cognitive function as well as providing an enjoyable means of learning, as evidenced by recent news items and experiments such as that of Professor Michael Duncan of Coventry University as shown in the recent BBC documentary ‘The Truth About Getting Fit’ (BBC 50:43-57:00) where dance was declared “unusually beneficial” (Michael Mosley, 50:47) for the brain. Lynnette Overby, Beth Post and Diane Newman espouse the “bodies-on” nature of interdisciplinary dance stating that dance is: Uniquely suited to support conceptual learning because the dance vocabulary is expressed in terms of the body, space, time, and force – concepts also fundamental to understanding the universe (2005, Preface xi). Other scholars such as Anne Watson, Anne Green-Gilbert (BrainDance) and Eric Jensen, and on-going programmes such as Learning Through the Arts and Project Zero support the notion that dance is beneficial for the mind and useful as a means of interdisciplinary learning. In addition, neuroscience research shows that 85% of learners are predominantly kinesthetic learners (Jensen, 2010) and the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities agrees that there are: Documented significant links between arts integration models and academic and social outcomes for students, efficacy for teachers, and school-wide improvements in culture and climate (PCAH 2011 in Wheeler and Bogard 2013, p.4). In my action research project carried out in Primary Schools in Canada, using a quasi-experimental approach and pre-/post data, it was clear that the increase in motivation to learn, along with increase in attainment was evident with students also enjoying both subjects more than they anticipated or experienced prior. In this paper, therefore, I will explore the notion of an equal interdisciplinary partnership of dance and mathematics that increases motivation and enhances learning in both subjects.
  • The possibilities of different geographies

    Carr, Jane; Sharp, Bruce (2019-09-20)
    Revision of work presented as part of Dorothy 139
  • Values, attributes and practices of dance artists in inclusive dance talent development contexts

    Urmston, Elsa; Aujla, Imogen (Taylor & Francis, 2019-09-17)
    There is a paucity of research focused on understanding the qualities which underpin dance artists’ practice in working with talented young dancers with disabilities. This study investigated what informs how dance artists work in inclusive dance talent development contexts. Four dance class observations were conducted to provide evidence of dance artists’ qualities in practice. Six dance artists participated in semi-structured interviews. Thematic data analysis revealed four categories: the dance persona; values; attributes; and practices of dance artists. The dance persona was typified by characteristics such as being human, humility, altruism, and confidence. Artists’ values and attributes included celebrating difference, aspiring towards equality and relationality. Their practices were exemplified by varied differentiation strategies and an emphasis on reflection. These findings provide new insight into what drives artists working with dancers with and without disabilities, and aids better understanding of best practice in this context.
  • ‘It’s my dream come true’: experiences and outcomes of an inclusive dance talent development programme

    Aujla, Imogen (Wiley, 2019-12-10)
    There are few opportunities for young disabled dancers to develop their talents, and even fewer studies investigating their experiences of such opportunities. The aim of this study was to explore the perspectives and outcomes of an inclusive talent development programme, and how these were facilitated. Semi‐structured interviews and focus groups with one teacher, four young dancers and four parents revealed that participation in the programme yielded multiple benefits for the young people involved. These included high levels of enjoyment, improved technical and creative ability, greater independence and confidence, and opportunities for socialising with like‐minded peers. A range of factors facilitated these benefits, such as the inclusive and caring ethos of the programme, its comprehensive development and teacher training, particular teaching strategies, and relationships between staff, students and parents. The study attests to the value of programmes designed for young disabled dancers who wish to develop their talents.
  • Passion, pathways and potential in dance: research report

    Redding, Emma; Nordin-Bates, Sanna; Aujla, Imogen; Trinity Laban (Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, 2011-01-01)
    Through a groundbreaking collaboration between Trinity Laban dance science researchers and the Centres for Advanced Training (CATs) across England, almost 800 young dancers took part in an interdisciplinary, longitudinal research project into dance talent development. Funded for a 3-year period by the Leverhulme Trust and the Department for Education, the research comprised investigations into the psychology, physiology, anthropometry, injury, adherence, and creativity of this talented cohort of young dancers. Our combination of quantitative and qualitative findings demonstrate that CAT dancers exhibited steadily increasing levels of physical fitness, high and stable levels of psychological well-being, low to moderate levels of injury and dropout, and positive creativity experiences. The CATs thus appeared to be nurturing young talent in an effective and healthy way. Findings are summarised under seven main headings.
  • Accessing pathways to training for young disabled dancers

    Aujla, Imogen; University of Bedfordshire (University of Bedfordshire/Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing, 2019-03-19)
    The aim of this project was to investigate means of translating Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD) syllabi for young disabled dancers. There are numerous barriers to dance for disabled people but one which has received increasing attention in recent years is the lack of systematic training available. Many non-disabled young people join private dance studios which provide an established progression route using staged syllabi and assessments in a range of dance genres. The ISTD recognised that this progression route should be more accessible for disabled young people, and that it could play a key role in opening pathways to dance. The organisation recruited a number of teachers and specialists, and commissioned a researcher from the University of Bedfordshire, to explore how this could be done.
  • Subjective wellbeing among young dancers with disabilities

    Aujla, Imogen; Needham-Beck, Sarah (Taylor & Francis, 2019-05-11)
    Little is known about the subjective wellbeing (SWB) of young dancers with disabilities and whether it changes over time. The aim of this study was to assess the SWB of young dancers with disabilities enrolled on an extracurricular inclusive talent development programme in the UK at two time points. Twenty-two young dancers completed the Personal Wellbeing Index for people with intellectual disability at the beginning of the academic year. Thirteen dancers completed the questionnaire a second time towards the end of the academic year. Scores were compared with normative values, and a Wilcoxon Signed Rank test was conducted to assess change over time. The participants reported high levels of SWB at both time points in comparison with normative values. There was no significant change in wellbeing scores over time. The study contributes to a growing body of literature suggesting that people with disabilities have high levels of SWB. Although causality cannot be assumed, inclusive dance programmes may contribute to SWB and allow young people with disabilities to overcome the barriers associated with physical activity.
  • Developing potential amongst disabled young people: exploring dance artists’ qualities as educators in the context of inclusive dance talent development

    Urmston, Elsa; Aujla, Imogen; Stopgap Dance Company; University of Bedfordshire (Stopgap Dance Company, 2018-09-01)
    The aim of this research project was to better understand the values, attributes and practices of dance artists who develop the potential of disabled young dancers. Stopgap Dance Company commissioned researchers at the University of Bedfordshire to explore the range of qualities that highly experienced dance artists demonstrate in their practice, particularly in the context of dance talent development. In order to meet these aims, observations and interviews were conducted with six established contemporary dance artists who work in inclusive settings. Analysis revealed common characteristics in how and why artists go about their work with disabled people.
  • Independent dancers: roles, motivation and success research report

    Aujla, Imogen; Farrer, Rachel; University of Bedfordshire (University of Bedfordshire, 2016-01-01)
    The aim of this study was to investigate the experiences of independent dancers. We set out to gain a descriptive and analytical understanding of working life in the sector. We examined specific psychological factors such as motivation and self-definitions, and how these helped dancers in their careers. The term ‘independent dancer’ is commonly used within the UK dance industry to describe practitioners who work in multiple roles on freelance contracts. This approach to work enables dancers to engage with a range of dance communities, develop and apply diverse skills, and collaborate with multiple partners. Throughout this document we refer to such individuals as dancers or dance artists to represent those working in a range of roles and at a variety of levels. The independent dance sector is supported by an infrastructure of dance agencies that operate across the country to provide development opportunities and resources for independent dancers. It is estimated that around 40,000 people work in the UK dance industry, but the varied and ad hoc nature of their roles makes it challenging to quantify and describe the workforce accurately. In the past there have been several independent reports published about the sector as well as published interviews with renowned independent dancers that provide an insight into working conditions, rates of pay, infrastructures and funding, however with the industry developing so rapidly these sources are no longer current. More recently, doctoral research located within the independent sector has provided further insight into specific aspects of the dancers’ role. This, however, has focused specifically on artistic and choreographic concerns or is situated within a different geographical location. As a result, there is a lack of up to date knowledge about the UK independent dance sector meaning that this dynamic and mobile force still ‘works in relative invisibility’. Furthermore, academic research in the fields of professional practice, psychology and dance science has neglected to examine this important and continually developing part of the UK dance sector. Therefore, this research appears timely in order to provide current information about independent dancers and how they negotiate such a varied and challenging career. Although this research project has been disseminated in academic forums, the aim of this report is to inform dance artists, teachers and students of the findings in an accessible format.
  • Access, inclusion and excellence : evaluating Stopgap Dance Company's IRIS programme

    Aujla, Imogen; Needham-Beck, Sarah; Stopgap Dance Company; University of Bedfordshire (Stopgap Dance Company, 2018-12-01)
    Among the numerous barriers to dance for disabled people, one of the key challenges in the UK has been the lack of progressive training routes for diabled dancers who wish to develop their talents.  Stopgap Dance Company sought to address this barrier by creating an inclusive talent development programme called IRIS.  Consisiting of four levels of increasing complexity, IRIS seeks to provide parity with mainstream training routes to help students progress their skills and confidence in dance. The aim of this research project was to evaluate IRIS in its first two years, while it was piloted with five groups.  The evaluation took into consideration the participants' experiences and outcomes of the programme using a longitudinal, mixed methods research design.
  • Towards safeguarding Creole intangible cultural heritage : keynote at the Creole Fest: Building Bridges Across Borders Symposium 10 November 2018

    Weedon, Alexis (2018-11-21)
    In 2003 at the UNESCO general conference  voted in favour of the Convention on safeguarding intangible cultural heritage. With the onslaught of globalization, ubiquitous and often commercialized branded identities can supplant the local. The UNESCO convention highlights the fragility of indigenous living cultural traditions and their importance for preserving diversity under such pressures. Intangible cultural heritage is a repository of a community’s creativity. It is a source of inspiration for new cultural expressions. This talk explores the intellectual work which the Convention brings to us as cultural historians, curators and researchers. It argues that we must address our unconscious bias in the selection of what we preserve, and must record all contextualising variables to assess their relevance. It reviews current research and its relevance to the AHRC networking project of safeguarding Creole ICH, and proposes a programme of research and publications, in addition to the continuation of the performance of the tradition that underpins ICH inscriptions as an agenda of any research network. Finally it highlights examples of digital classification, public participation, and creative re-presentation which document the ICH tradition and also seek to understand the factors that have sustained it and will influence its future as a living tradition.  
  • Embodiment and digital interactivity : towards post human somatic practices

    Ashley, Tamara; Cherry, Rachel; Pell, Luke (Intellect, 2016-06-01)
    Editorial.
  • Somatic perspectives on developing an iPad app for choreography

    Ashley, Tamara (Intellect, 2016-06-01)
    The article offers insight into somatic perspectives that have informed the design of a software application for the iPad. Entitled formXtended, the app is designed to extend the compositional imaginations of users, by engaging them in choreographic tasks that integrate movement, sound and image. The project sought to develop an approach to software design that engaged with principles of inclusion and accessibility for disabled and non-disabled users. The article offers insight into some of the questions and issues addressed by the team in their endeavour to create inclusive app-based activities. The discussion articulates how somatic principles informed both app design stage and in the testing phase with young people, which led to further refinements in the app design. The somatic dimensions of the formXtended project are situated within a larger and more complex collaboration between arts organization, dancedigital, software company, Moviestorm and research partner, University of Bedfordshire.
  • Frogz : PCE lesson plan

    Hunwick, Kathie; Pugh, Kathryn (2004-08-15)
    Lesson plan for Kindergarten to Grade 2 for dance in Physical Education.
  • A new angle on maths: towards an equal partnership of mathematics and dance through interdisciplinary dance teaching

    Hunwick, Kathie; Pugh, Kathryn (2016-07-01)
    Evidence of transfer of learning is clear in neuroscientific research and in the exploration of various learning styles. However, dance has mainly been used as a teaching tool rather than an equal partner in interdisciplinary work in mathematics and dance. This article offers a brief introduction to such an equal partnership, established in an action research project in Canada, in order to teach both choreography and geometry in Primary schools.
  • The possibilities of different geographies

    Carr, Jane; Sharp, Bruce (Intellect, 2018-12-31)
    'The Possibilities of Different Geographies’ is the title of a dance work Jane Carr and Bruce Sharp  first created in 1997 that investigated the significance of human embodiment. Twenty years later they revisited the themes informing their earlier work in order to create a participatory performance-installation focused on the significance of the embodied dimensions of intersubjective experience.   The authors present the philosophical and political ideas underpinning their aims to challenge the boundaries that act as limits upon how humans experience their embodied identities and reflect on how, in developing the project, artistic and activist principles became interwoven. They describe the creation of movement scores for participants to perform and consider how elements of movement, sound, lighting and opportunities for reflection contribute to an environment that affords creative participation focused on the intercorporeal dimension of human geographies.  

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