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.

Pip Thornton

a critique of linguistic capitalism (and an artistic intervention)

In an age of ubiquitous digital technology and information exchange, the selling of words has never been more lucrative. Digitised words are capable of carrying far more than linguistic meaning, and as such are valuable commodities in the advertising marketplace. Nobody knows this better than Google, which made its fortune from the auctioning of words through Adwords; a form of ‘linguistic capitalism’ (Kaplan, 2014) in which the contextual or linguistic value of language is negated at the expense of its exchange value. But what are the residual cultural or political effects of this algorithmic exploitation of language? As the linguistic data we create and upload is tailored to court search algorithms, and keywords take on referential values unanchored to narrative context, digitised language has perhaps reached peak performativity (Lyotard, 1979); linguistic input narrowed and restricted in order to achieve maximum financial output. In order to make visible and reverse this typically black-boxed performative logic of production I have developed a research/art project called {poem}.py which uses poetry scraped from the web, the Google AdWords keyword planner and a second hand receipt printer in an attempt to rescue language from the algorithmic marketplace; re-politicise it (Benjamin, 1936), and reclaim it for art. This talk will explain the genesis of the project, and include live demonstrations of the different modes of intervention I am currently exploring.

Pip Thornton is a PhD candidate in the Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Cyber Security at Royal Holloway, University of London. She is researching Language in the Age of Algorithmic Reproduction, and is co-supervised by the Department of Geography.


Beatrice Jarvis

We are falling into pieces

‘We can see other people’s behaviour, but not their experience. This has led some people to insist that psychology has nothing to do with the person’s experience, only with their behaviour.’ When developing choreo-cartographic experiences I have sought to explore how the relationship with the documentation of improvised performance can further develop ideas of the experience of sublime in daily post conflict urban life.

Performance is a site of possibility; a re-reading of spatial reality: a fluid and malleable structure for the practitioner. The boundaries between art and a social research are blurred research leading to a product based in performance that can explore the margins of social research. Performance in essence becomes a means of gathering social embodied data as to how people are using public urban spaces.

Working to develop the expanded field of social choreography this paper explores my own specific examples of embodiment within site specific performance as a platform for extended social commentary in the urban terrain as daily experience. I will reflect upon my PaR archive to examine how the performance process can enable participants to have a more actively responsible relationship to their environment; using the role of embodied memory and personal narrative as key to understanding landscape; expanding the potential of practice based research as social resource.

This paper will explore the role of sustained practice-based interdisciplinary performance and dance based research to investigate cultural and social shifts in the post conflict landscape of Northern Ireland through the practice of embodied choreographic practice through a phenomenological approach to research frameworks.


Beatrice Jarvis ( PhD) is an embodied spatial facilitator, choreographer and researcher, and founder of the Urban Research Forum and The Living Collective. As a dance artist, she works in Romania, Gaza, Berlin, Germany and Northern Ireland to generate large-scale and site specific choreographic works to explore the social power and potential of embodied movement practices. Her socio-choreographic research has been profiled within Pina Bausch Symposium, Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, dOCUMENTA (13), The National School of Art Bucharest, Galway Dance Festival, Goldsmiths CUCR Tate, and AAG 2013. Her commissions include GroundWorks Jerwood Space, Steven Lawrence Center and EGFK Berlin.


Rachel Sweeney

Shiftng states: tracing vocal articulations through gestural imagery

I wish to propose a short series of investigative movement frameworks based around the idea of ‘problems without form’. I will be conducting short interactive feedback sessions between each framework in order to identify guided audience responses as based on their perceptions of real time aesthetics and affective/effective discourses surrounding the solo female dancing body.

Out of these discrete movement investigations, I will aim to identify, contest, counter and contradict several propositions:

Kinetic flow
Gravitational rebound
Mirror rhythms
Border tensions
Anatomical design
Intersense relation
Particle speed composition

During the past three years I have returned to solo practice with a renewed interest in humour, voice and object work. I regard the bones of my performance as invested in the notion of the dissipated and multikinetic body, where the concept of physical synaesthesia informs much of my own physical process. A genuine lack of ego and a constant sense of availability is critical as also the need to communicate and relate to other animate forms in performance. I am now very hungry to develop ideas and test out new grounds for performance material in proximity to others and in a guided environment that gives me enough room to expand and articulate my own materials as well as be inspired and disrupted by other bodies, sensibilities, sensitivities and appetites.


Rachel is an interdisciplinary dance artist and butoh performer. Her work is focused often in site, where she is interested in definitions of multiplicity and synaesthesia within immersive performance environs. She is a Senior Lecturer in Dance at Liverpool Hope University and has lectured widely in Performance Studies in the UK and Ireland as well as Australia.

Rachel is co-Artistic Director of Orr and Sweeney whose dance ecology work is based in site and has published on somatics and contemporary cross cultural training practice. She has lectured widely in Performance Studies in the UK and Ireland (University of Plymouth 2006-08, Middlesex University 2004-06 and the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance 2008-09), and as a Visiting Artist through Monash University (AUS) and Rose Bruford College (UK). Research posts include a Visiting Fellowship through the Humanities Research Centre at ANU and also Centre Fellowship through the Centre for Sustainable Futures at the University of Plymouth (2007-08).

Argyro Tsampazi

Argyro Tsampazi is researching the use of rituals and specifically the use of Hesychastic Practices in Choreography. These practices are part of a mystical tradition in the Eastern Orthodox Church and descriptions can be found in ecclesiastic texts from the 4th and 5th century. The practices take over the whole life of the monk as they regulate their eating, sleeping and dressing habits, their communication with other people etc.

Specifically, she is focusing on ‘The Prayer of the Heart’, the core practice of Hesychasm, often also referred to as ‘Christian Yoga’. It is a unique form of mysticism, the origins of which can be traced back to the first Christian monks (Desert Fathers).

In her practical research she began applying the Hesychastic Practices to both her everyday life and her dance practice. Moreover, she is organising residencies in Dance Houses in Ireland and Greece in order to apply her practice to groups of dancers, evaluating and developing it even more and creating short pieces of choreography.  Some of the elements that she is working on are: Preparation for rehearsals, meditation, stillness, repetition of movement, moving from the ‘heart’, exhaustion and trance, creating and composing new movement material and radiating energy to other dancers. This experience seems to be cathartic and helps to keep focus whilst working. Producing new material happens through entering an altered state of consciousness which is yet to be further explored.


Argyro Tsampazi is a dance practitioner who is currently completing a PhD in the Drama Department of Queen’s University in Belfast, after finishing her Masters in Choreography. She holds Bachelor degrees in Dance Teaching and Theology. Argyro is also lecturing at Ulster University and teaching at local Dance Schools.