• 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • The impact of an intergenerational dance project on older adults' social and emotional well-being

      Douse, Louise Emma; Farrer, Rachel; Aujla, Imogen; ; University of Bedfordshire (Frontiers, 2020-09-16)
      There has been strong interest in intergenerational arts practice in the United Kingdom since the 1980s; however, there is a generally weak evidence base for the effectiveness of intergenerational practice regardless of the domain. The aim of this study was to investigate the outcomes of an intergenerational arts project on participants’ social and psychological well-being using a mixed-methods, short-term longitudinal design. Generations Dancing brought together community artists with students (n = 25) and older adults (n = 11) living in Bedford. Over an 11-week period, participants worked together to produce a new dance performance and photography exhibition. Focus groups were conducted with the participants to explore their feelings about the collaboration across generations and communities. Participants also completed a battery of questionnaires preproject and postproject, to assess any change in their levels of well-being. Results indicate that the older adults showed increased confidence and willingness to connect with others; they got immense enjoyment from talking about their experience with others. Furthermore, the project helped to address negative stereotypes that the older adults had of working with the young people. The older adults enjoyed the students’ company and felt encouraged and supported by the young people. While a small number of challenges were identified, including difficulties in traveling to the workshops for vulnerable participants, most challenges were overcome through the older adults’ engagement in the project. For example, initial anxieties regarding the performance seemed insufficient to affect the participants’ overall enjoyment of the project. The findings were supported by the increased scores in relatedness, affect, and social well-being over time, but were not statistically significant. The results of this study indicate that intergenerational dance and arts projects can have wide-reaching positive impacts on both social and psychological well-being. However, there were a number of methodological challenges, including difficulty in recruiting sufficient numbers of both experimental and control groups for a robust quantitative evaluation of the data. These challenges highlight that “real life” settings and scenarios can influence the amount, nature, validity, and reliability of data collected. Going forward we encourage researchers to continue to consider innovative ways to address such methodological challenges.
    • 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.
    • The new old: archaisms and anachronisms across media

      Baschiera, Stefano; Caoduro, Elena; Queen's University Belfast; University of Bedfordshire (University College Cork, 2017-01-27)
    • Performing reconciliation: Milan and the memory of Piazza Fontana

      Caoduro, Elena; O'Rawe, Des; Phelan, Mark; University of Bedfordshire; Queen's University Belfast (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016-07-29)
      Elena Caoduro’s essay explores the relations between a history of political violence and the function of art with reference to the 1969 Piazza Fontana massacre in Milan. This terrorist attack inaugurated the most violent decade in the history of the Italian republic: the anni di piombo (‘years of lead’), in which Italy experienced waves of social conflict and unprecedented acts of violence carried out by both right- and left-wing paramilitary groups. Caoduro analyses how the city of Milan monumentalises the victims of this massacre and searches for reconciliation between conflicting truths, since the last trial proved inclusive and provided no closure. Drawing on Paul Ricoeur’s seminal Memory, History, and Forgetting (2004), Caoduro attempts to discern when it is right to remember and when it is better to forget, or indeed how much we should remember. Although arguing that cathartic narration can assist national reconciliation, she cautions against political amnesty being accompanied by amnesia.
    • Psychological wellness

      Mainwaring, Lynda; Aujla, Imogen; Wilmerding, M Virginia; Krasnow, Donna H.; University of Bedfordshire; University of New Mexico; York University; University of Toronto (Human Kinetics, 2017-10-18)
      Dancers who want to get the most out of their experience in dance—whether in college, high school, a dance studio, or a dance company—can now take charge of their wellness. Dancer Wellness will help them learn and apply important wellness concepts as presented through the in-depth research conducted by the International Association for Dance Medicine & Science (IADMS) and their experts from around the world.
    • Retro, faux-vintage, and anachronisme: when cinema looks back

      Baschiera, Stefano; Caoduro, Elena; University of Bedfordshire; Queen's University Belfast (Amsterdam University Press, 2015-12-05)
      This article explores the definition of ‘vintage cinema’ and specifically reevaluates the fetishism for the past and its regurgitation in the present by providing a taxonomy of the phenomenon in recent film production. Our contribution identifies three aesthetic categories: faux-vintage, retro and anachronistic; by illustrating their overlapping and discrepancies it argues that the past remains a powerful negotiator of meaning for the present and the future. Drawing on studies of memory and digital nostalgia, this article focuses on the latter category: anachronism. It furthermore unravels the persistence of and the filmic fascination for obsolete analogue objects through an analysis of Only Lovers Left Alive (Jim Jarmusch, 2013).
    • The role of psychological factors in the career of the independent dancer

      Aujla, Imogen; Farrer, Rachel; University of Bedfordshire (Frontiers, 2015-10-30)
      Previous research indicates that psychological factors such as motivation and mental skills play an important role in relation to performance and to negotiating talent development stages. However, little is known about these factors in dance, particularly with regard to the independent dancer whose career may involve multiple roles, varied work patterns, and periods of instability. The aim of this study was to explore dancers’ motivation to work in an independent capacity, and the extent to which dancers’ psychological characteristics and skills enabled them to navigate a career in this demanding sector. In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with 14 dancers at different stages of their careers. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and content analyzed. Analysis revealed that the dancers were intrinsically motivated and highly committed to the profession. Working in the independent sector offered dancers opportunities for growth and fulfillment; they appreciated the autonomy, flexibility and freedom that the independent career afforded, as well as working with new people across roles and disciplines. In order to overcome the various challenges associated with the independent role, optimism, self-belief, social support, and career management skills were crucial. The mental skills reported by the participants had developed gradually in response to the demands that they faced. Therefore, mental skills training could be invaluable for dancers to help them successfully negotiate the independent sector.
    • Supporting change: The identification and development of talented young dancers with disabilities

      Aujla, Imogen; Redding, Emma; Jobbins, Veronica; Burridge, Stephanie; Svendler Nielsen, Charlotte; University of Bedfordshire; Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance; Singapore Management University; University of Copenhagen (Routledge, 2017-07-11)
      The arts have a crucial role in empowering young people with special needs through diverse dance initiatives. Inclusive pedagogy that integrates all students in rich, equitable and just dance programmes within education frameworks is occurring alongside enabling projects by community groups and in the professional dance world where many high-profile choreographers actively seek opportunities to work across diversity to inspire creativity. Access and inclusion is increasingly the essence of projects for disenfranchised and traumatised youth who find creative expression, freedom and hope through dance. This volume foregrounds dance for young people with special needs and presents best practice scenarios in schools, communities and the professional sphere. International perspectives come from Australia, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, Denmark, Fiji, Finland, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Taiwan, Timor Leste, the UK and the USA.
    • Understanding the impact of an intergenerational arts and health project: a study into the psychological well-being of participants, carers and artists

      Farrer, Rachel; Aujla, Imogen; Jenkins, Lindsay K.; University of Bedfordshire; Coventry University (Elsevier, 2021-04-18)
      There is growing interest in arts practices in relation to public health, including their potential to support psychological well-being. This study sought to understand the impact of Hear and Now, an intergenerational arts and health project, upon indicators of psychological well-being among all groups involved: young people, older people with a diagnosis of dementia and their carers and partners and the project's artistic team. This was a descriptive exploratory qualitative study, using focus groups and observation as data collection methods. Study participants were 65 people representing the four groups participating in the 2019 Hear and Now project: older adults living with a diagnosis of dementia, their carers and partners, young people and a team of professional artists and facilitators. Of these, 27 participated in one or more of seven focus groups. Participants were asked about their previous engagement with music and dance, thoughts about the intergenerational element of the project and other aspects of their experiences that related to indicators of well-being. In order to investigate the project's impact on participants' well-being, Seligman's PERMA model was adopted, which sets out five indicators of well-being: positive emotions, engagement, positive relationships, meaning and achievement/accomplishment. Experiences relating to all five areas of the PERMA model were evidenced by all groups in relation to their involvement in the project. Additional health benefits were also cited by some, as well as enhanced perceptions of other members of the project cohort. The findings support existing literature that intergenerational and arts activities can be beneficial for individuals' psychological health. Experiences relating to all five dimensions of the PERMA model of well-being (positive emotion, engagement, positive relationships, meaning, achievement/accomplishment) were cited by the four participant groups, which suggests examining the impact of such projects on all project collaborators is worthy of further study. Understanding the impact these projects can have on the various groups involved will enable artistic and healthcare communities to better collaborate and value each other's practices.
    • Within- and between-person predictors of disordered eating attitudes among male and female dancers: findings from the UK Centres for Advanced Training

      Nordin-Bates, Sanna M.; Schwarz, Johanna F.A.; Quested, Eleanor; Cumming, Jennifer; Aujla, Imogen; Redding, Emma; Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences; Curtin University; University of Birmingham; University of Bedfordshire; et al. (Elsevier, 2016-07-09)
      Objectives This longitudinal study examined potential predictors of disordered eating attitudes (DEA) for male and female dancers, with a particular focus on whether environmental predictors (perceptions of task- and ego-involving motivational climate) added significantly to the prediction made by intrapersonal predictor variables (demographics/training, self-esteem, perfectionism). Methods and Design Young dancers (N = 597, 73.4% female, M = 14.69 years old, SD = 2.04) from UK Centres for Advanced Training completed questionnaires 1–5 times over a two-year period, depending on how long they were enrolled at their centre. Multilevel modelling was employed to examine both between- and within-person predictors of DEA. Results For females, lower self-esteem and higher perfectionistic concerns were significant between-person predictors of DEA. Increased levels of perfectionistic strivings and perfectionistic concerns were significant within-person predictors. For males, increased perfectionistic concerns and perceptions of the motivational climate as more task- and ego-involving were significant between-person predictors of DEA. No significant within-person predictors emerged. Conclusions Findings contribute to the literature on DEA in aesthetic activities and the debate concerning the (mal-)adaptiveness of perfectionistic strivings. They also raise questions about how environmental aspects should best be conceptualized and measured in studies of this type. In particular, however, results demonstrate that the predictors of DEA among males and females may not be the same, and suggest that future interventions may therefore need to be sex-specific.
    • ‘Women’s tales’: postfeminist adventures into consumerville

      Caoduro, Elena; University of Bedfordshire (Vita e Pensiero, 2017-04-30)
      This article examines the project ‘Women’s Tales’, an on-going series of short films that fashion designer Miuccia Prada commissioned from international female directors, among them Lucrecia Martel, Ava DuVernay and Agnès Varda. By situating this endeavour in relation to female agency, authorial expressivity, and consumerism, it is argued that the project conforms to postfeminist media culture for its celebration of feminine bonds, make-over strategies and the use of luxury as a tool for pleasure and empowerment. As a series of fashion films at the interstices of different systems: advertisement and art, film and online media, experimental and mainstream practices, ‘Women’s Tales’ occasionally contain some critical potential, but struggle to challenge existing fashion paradigms. This article questions the postfeminist ethos that the project espouses, claiming that through its in-between, interstitial status, ‘Women’s Tales’ destabilise representational conventions without really disrupting fashions’ foundation.