33 - Music, Drama, Dance, Performing Arts, Film and Screen Studies
T - Other
Birmingham, UK; Nottingham, UK
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Still Small Acts is a practice-led research project that ran from 2014-2020, focusing upon the employment of dwelling and still-ing through practical and written outputs. The interplay between the various outputs, the layering of performance practice alongside textual analysis and other forms of dissemination, such as workshops and conferences, is crucial in embracing and embedding the complexity and extent of the research and its impact. Influencing curators, artists and academics, in the UK and abroad, the research is transdisciplinary in its process and range of outputs, contributing to debates in dance, performance, somatics, phenomenology, ethnography and cultural mapping.
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Still Small Acts explores still-ing’ (my own concept) and ‘dwelling in practice’, a concept I developed from Martin Heidegger’s Building, Dwelling, Thinking (1951), through the creation of stand-alone performances in the most public of spaces, alongside diverse accompanying practices, specifically experiential workshops, installations and writing. The research focuses on how ‘still-ing’ might be foregrounded within dance-based practice and how it might operate as a choreographic device. Furthermore, it foregrounds how the employment of ‘attentive dwelling’ which Heidegger suggests, precedes ‘all reflection’, can create space-times to dwell in felt sensation and where-when inter-relationships with places, makers, and participants can be built and nurtured.
This research seeks to develop the discipline of choreography methodologically and philosophically re-framing and moving stillness and specifically the decisive act of still-ing, centre-stage. Moreover, in the contemporary socio-economic dynamic to maximize output and time-management, this research makes a case for slowing down, for dwelling together as makers, spectators and curators, reconsidering Heidegger’s suggestion that the real plight for us as humans is that we have ever lost our ability to dwell. It uses still-ing and dwelling as an invitation to engage participants and audiences within live, face-to-face encounters across a range of professional arts and well-being contexts, creating openings for audience-spectators to experience and remember still-ing in and amongst all the surrounding movement and noise.
This multi-component output brings together: a co-authored chapter for a book collection (Routledge, 2015), an article for Choreographic Practices Journal (2020) with on-line links to my sited choreography across eight locations, a site-specific performance-installation Still Moving: Moving Still (2018), commissioned by Birmingham International Dance Festival, an example from a series of experiential workshops (2018) and a seven-screen video installation presented at Talking, Thinking, Dancing, hosted by Dance4 at The International Centre for Choreography, Nottingham (2017).