Dr Becca Wood

“moving towards uncertainty”

How might slow modes of practice resist productivity and move us towards uncertainty? As dance theorist André Lepecki quotes Fred Moten in his recent essay Moving as something ‘uncertainty surrounds the holding of things’ (Harney and Moten 2013, 91 in Lepecki, 2016, 29).

This presentation reflects on a two day assembly of working studies within the School of Media and Performing Arts, Faculty of Arts and Humanities at the University of Coventry that brought practitioners, researchers and practices together in a facilitated process that included: Bone Tracing/ape resting states (Thomas Goodwin, Body Weather); States of Care (Hamish McPherson) with guidance and documentation by dramaturg Hanna Slattne.

The assembly aimed to ‘hold things’ in such a way that the possibility of failure and unproductivity might enable a deeply engaged slow process that resists the certainty of outcomes and productivity. Rather, somatically informed pedagogies and post human thinking offer cues towards methodologies that attend to the relationship between spaces of the inner body, the surfaces and spaces outside the body, and for becoming more attentive, through a ‘slower ontology’, ‘doing less’, tuning into listening, moving, writing and resting.  In her book, Vibrant Matter, Jane Bennett suggests a political ecology of things that cultivates ‘a patient, sensory attentiveness to nonhuman forces operating outside and inside the human body’ (2010, p. viii).

The research activity solicited slow thinking as a practice that might allow us to experience coming together, the body, space and time differently within a practice as research context. This presentation will reflect on a process that suggests ways of ‘holding things’ that might as Lepecki suggests escape ‘instrumental reason’, ‘exist outside logics of manipulation’ and resist ‘graspability and comprehension’. The doctrine of somatic practices can be perceived as a multiplicity of sensory perceptions through choreography and documentation and engenders ‘essential insights into human nature’ and ‘functions largely as a potent agent of change’ (Batson, 2009, p. 2). To slow down becomes a practice of resistance.


Batson, Glenna. 2009. Somatic Studies and Dance. The International Association for Dance Medicine and Science. http://www.iadms.org/?page=248&hhSearchTerms=%22Somatic+Studies+and+Dance%22

Bennett, J. (2010). Vibrant Matter: a political ecology of things. USA: Duke University Press.

Harney, Stefano, and Fred Moten. 2013. The Undercommons. Fugitive planning and black study. Wivenhoe; New York; Port Watson: Minor Compositions

Lepecki, A (2016) Singularities: dance in the age of performance. New York: Routeledge



Becca works in performance practices that slip between the intersections of the body, space and digital environments. Her interest in this interdisciplinary terrain comes from years of working between the disciplines of design, spatial and dance practices. She completed her PhD in the Dance Studies Department at The University of Auckland in 2015.

Recently she has moved from Aotearoa New Zealand to take up a post as Senior Lecturer and Course Director in Dance at Coventry University in the UK.  She continues her focus in research across the arts in performance, somatic research and education, and digital technologies and spatial practices.

Dr Claudia Kappenberg

This is a live intervention that will last for the duration of the Symposium, that is two days. The intervention consists of an extended version of a performative project entitled Slow Races for which one or more performers undertake an infinitely slow race.

For Research in Real-Time one performer will loiter and gradually with no clear objective move through spaces and thoroughfares. Reminiscent of garden gnomes, those familiar and perfectly useless garden ornaments, she will be wearing the distinctive red hat and celebrate her perfectly useless self.  Standing, sitting, resting and occasionally taking a step, she will observe, listen and attend. Like a fool who is second only to the King, she will go anywhere and be anyway. Like a fool who is not concerned with past or future she will exist only in the here and now. If approached by someone she may respond: if asked where she comes from she may point to the space directly behind her; if asked what she is doing, she may reply “Slow racing.” As an ongoing presence somewhere and anywhere within the symposium, at workshops, lectures, presentations and coffee breaks, she will challenge the parameters of slowness whilst testing her own capacity for dawdling in the now.



Claudia Kappenberg is a performance and media artists, as well as founding editor of The International Journal of Screendance. She lectures at the University of Brighton, UK and has published widely on performance and screen-based work, including in Anarchic Dance (Routledge, 2006), The International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media (2010), Art in Motion (Cambridge Scholars, 2015) and the Oxford Handbook of Screendance Studies (Oxford University Press 2016). Her performance practice consists of minimal choreographies which have been shown across Europe, the US and the Middle East in the form of live interventions, gallery-based performances and screen-based installations.


Dr Sara Giddens, Liz Long, & Ruth Spencer

Dr Sara Giddens is a choreographer and creative facilitator. She also teaches on the Dance Performance and Teaching course at the University of Central Lancashire. Having worked on the Articulating Dance project, as part of Choreographic Lab, Sara recently completed a practice-based PhD, co-hosted by Dance4 and Middlesex University. She continues to develop, make and tour performance-based work with Prof Simon Jones (Bristol University) through their company Bodies in Flight (1990).

Liz Long is passionate about developing creativity and the imagination through movement and somatic practices, enquiring into how developing self-awareness through reflective practice improves health and wellbeing. This viewpoint underscores her activities as an Independent Dance Artist, Somatic Movement Educator and a Lecturer in Higher Education.  She is interested in learning and development within education for children and working in community and health settings with adults.

Ruth Spencer makes, performs and facilitates dance. As a Lecturer on the BA (Hons) Dance Performance and Teaching course at the University of Central Lancashire Ruth oversees the Education and Community based dance practice. Ruth’s own work with organisations such as Cheshire Dance, Dance Manchester and the International Schools Theatre Association (ISTA) focuses on inclusion and improvisation, and how they support creativity.