• In the Thick of It, Proximities of Belonging in Performance Research

      Piasecka, Shelley; University of Chester (National Drama Publications, 2014-04)
      Themes of belonging: to a group, identity, culture and place have dominated education and performance research in recent years. For the social sciences, the educational significance of belonging tends to surface within ethnicity and race (see Demie, 2005; Hassan, 2009; Tomlinson, 1998), gender and sexuality (see Cole, 2006) and self-esteem and citizenship education (see Ma, 2003; Halliday, 1999; Piper and Garratt, 2004). In these contexts, questions of belonging are typically premised upon ideas of inclusion and exclusion, notions of Otherness and constructs of personal and social identity. For the purposes of this paper, though, I approach belonging from the perspective of the dramatic inquiry and storytelling. To introduce the theme, I refer to proximities of belonging, as exemplified by Conquergood (2004) and for dramatic practice, Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed. By way of illustration, I consider two projects undertaken as part my PhD: Heroes and Villains: a performance project with junior school children from a junior school in Stoke-on-Trent and Robin and the Pirate Letters: an early readers initiative for infant children in Cheshire East.
    • Interdisciplinarity in the Performing Arts: Contemporary Perspectives

      Sarco-Thomas, Malaika; Aquilina, Stefan; University of Malta (University of Malta Press, 2018)
      Interdisciplinarity in the Performing Arts: Contemporary Perspectives contributes to current discussion about the intrinsic interdisciplinary nature of the performing arts, while also identifying the potential which theatre, dance, and music have in creating bridges with other disciplines like neuroscience, social sciences, philosophy, pedagogy, and therapy. Coordinated by the School of Performing Arts of the University of Malta and featuring contributions from KU Leuven, Ghent University, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium), Royal Holloway (London), Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Brazil), and Adam Mickiewicz University (Poland), this publication explores questions brought forward by approaches to performance that interweave theory and practice, through examples of methodologies, philosophies, interpretations, and applications of interdisciplinarity today.
    • Introduction to the book: Interdisciplinarity in the Performing Arts: Contemporary Perspectives

      Sarco-Thomas, Malaika; Aquilina, Stefan (Malta University Press, 2018)
      The introduction to this book includes an overview of current discourses on interdisciplinary research and practice within the performing arts, and gives an overview of chapters contained in the book. Interdisciplinarity in the Performing Arts: Contemporary Perspectives contributes to current discussion about the intrinsic interdisciplinary nature of the performing arts, while also identifying the potential which theatre, dance, and music have in creating bridges with other disciplines like neuroscience, social sciences, philosophy, pedagogy, and therapy. Coordinated by the School of Performing Arts of the University of Malta and featuring contributions from KU Leuven, Ghent University, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium), Royal Holloway (London), Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Brazil), and Adam Mickiewicz University (Poland), this publication explores questions brought forward by approaches to performance that interweave theory and practice, through examples of methodologies, philosophies, interpretations, and applications of interdisciplinarity today.
    • It’s All in Proportion: Tracing the Evolution of the Time-Aggregate in Roberto Gerhard’s Music

      Sproston, Darren; University of Chester (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2016-12-01)
      This chapter investigates a very specific innovation in Roberto Gerhard’s compositional practice and traces its possible origins. The technique in question is the “time-aggregate” or use of proportions, directly derived from the tone row, as a structural device. This inquiry begins Roberto Gerhard’s article “Functions of the Series in Twelve-Note Composition” and then works in reverse chronological order through his writings and compositions and through the musings of other scholars finally dwelling on three works which are believed to be Gerhard’s earliest experiments in the use of the method: the Three Impromptus (1950), Capriccio for Solo Flute (1949), and the Sonata for Viola (Cello) and Piano (1948/1956).
    • Jazz on the border: Jazz and dance bands in Chester and North Wales in mid-twentieth century

      Southall, Helen; University of Chester (Equinox, 2013)
      There was a high degree of overlap between western popular music and jazz in the mid- twentieth century. However, histories of jazz and histories of popular music are often puzzlingly separate, as if divided by strict borders. This article looks at some of the rea- sons for this (including those proposed by Frith (2007) and Bennett (2013). The impor- tance of musical pathways and hidden histories (Becker 2002, 2004; Finnegan 2007; Nott 2002; Rogers 2013) in the context of local music scenes is considered. The importance of taking live music scenes and provincial areas into account when discussing genre his- tories is discussed, in the context of examples from an oral history study of dance-band musicians and promoters in the Chester (UK) area. These examples help to demonstrate that boundaries between jazz and popular music are frequently less abrupt in practice than they are in theory.
    • Learning Jam: an evaluation of the use of Arts Based Initiatives to generate polyphonic understanding in Work Based Learning

      Passila, A.; Owens, Allan; Pulkki, Maiju; Lapeenranta University of Technology; University of Chester; Aalto University (Emerald, 2016-05-09)
      The purpose of this paper is to conceptualise ‘Learning Jam’ as a way of organising space, time and people through arts based pedagogies in work based learning. This form of encounter originated in Finland to challenge functional silo mentality by prioritising polyphony. Through the use of a 'kaleidoscopic pedagogy', Arts-Based Initiatives (ABIs) are used to collectively and subjectively reconsider practice. The research design is grounded in one of a series of Learning Jams co-created by practitioners from the field of arts and arts-based consultancy and academics from the field of arts, arts education, innovation and management, learning and development. The focus was on exploring the value of each participants work based learning practice through the lens of an Arts Value Matrix. Rancière´s critical theory was used to frame the exploration. The research questions asked; what are the ingredients of this creative, transformative learning space and in what ways can the polyphonic understandings that emerge in it impact on Work-Based Learning? Findings of this study centre around alternative ways of being in a learning setting where we do not defer to the conventional figures of authority, but collectively explore ways of organising, where the main idea is to lean on something-which-is-not-yet. A key research implication is that teaching in this context demands reflexive and dialogical capabilities for those who hold the role of organizing and facilitating spaces for learning and transformation. The main limitation is in stopping short of fully articulating detailed aspects of these capabilities. The originality and value of the practice of Learning Jam is that managers and artists explore the potential of operating as partners to develop new ways of working to realise organisational change and innovation.
    • Let’s Do the Time Warp Again: Performing Time, Genre, and Spectatorship

      Ellis, Sarah T.; University of Chester (Routledge, 2019-07-01)
      "Let's Do the Time Warp Again: Performing Time, Genre, and Spectatorship" identifies an affective link across nonrealist, time-warping genres of science fiction / fantasy and musical theater, as well as their dedicated and overlapping fan cultures; by considering reality to be historical and contingent, these anti-quotidian genres explore the limits of what is objectively present, and physicalize a temporally divergent world in the here and now.
    • ‘Mass May Be the Single Most Important Sensation’: Perceptual Philosophies in Dance Improvisation

      Sarco-Thomas, Malaika; University of Chester (Oxford University Press, 2019-04-02)
      This essay investigates how sensory perception can be cultivated as a key practice in dance improvisation performance. It looks at how artists such as Steve Paxton, Deborah Hay, and Simone Forti propose frameworks for exercising attention to perception when improvising, and how these scores can be routes towards experiencing different ways of relating to one’s environment. The essay draws on Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s contribution to theorizing sensory perception in bodily movement and in strands of ecological philosophy, developing the idea of ‘intelligent flesh’ as fundamental to both. It then uses the author’s experiences of working with these artists’ scores to investigate how perceptual attention can be creatively proposed, physicalized, performed, or, in Alva Noë’s term, ‘enacted’ in improvisation.
    • The Materiality of Conflict in Contact: Improvisational Explorations in 'Pitch'

      Sarco-Thomas, Malaika; University of Chester (Dance Studies Association, 2018-12)
      This presentation investigates the 2017 site-based dance film project Pitch, featuring choreography by Charlie Morrissey, as an investigation into the materiality of conflict within contact improvisation practices. New materialist philosophies invite reconsideration of matter as animate in ways which dance improvisers might be said to already perceive the body. Deborah Hay’s knowledgeable cells, and Steve Paxton’s animal body can arguably be read in light of Karen Barad’s notion of posthumanist ‘iterative intra-activity’ in which the consideration of the differentiated mass of thebody as nonhuman becomes another kind of choreographic agent within the performance.Working processes within the project, which included focusing on the tactility of conflict as friction and the consideration of resistance itself as a material, placed emphasis on the dancers’ material experience of the body as a key performative strategy. In this sense, matter became figured, in the words of Barad, not ‘as a mere effect or product of discursive practices, but rather as an agentive factor in its iterative materialization’ (2012: 32) in which the identity of the dancers became ‘radically reworked’. From an analysis of the choreographic process and film product, this presentation will investigate how contact improvisation practices which focus on the tactile experience of matter can be said to be examples of iterative intra-activity on multiple perceptual levels. Tactile confrontation of ‘the other’ and his/her struggle toward aliveness in movement, and confrontation of the porous materiality of the human bodybecome hallmarks of the film.
    • Metamorphosing: The Construction and Deconstruction
 of Roberto Gerhard’s Symphony No. 2

      Sproston, Darren; University of Chester (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2016-12-01)
      There are three structural methods, which can be summarised from Gerhard’s paper “Developments in twelve-tone technique”, that employ the series (or its derivative time-set): to fix the length of the rhythmic articulation of individual pitches; to control the ordering of the twelve transpositions of a series so each is presented once before a transposition is repeated; finally, to determine the duration of these transpositions. The series, therefore, has the ability to govern microcosmic and macrocosmic parameters of a composition. All three of these can be found in Roberto Gerhard’s Second Symphony (1957-59). On revising the Symphony in 1967-68 to create Metamorphoses he reworks the material of the original ‘the changes - from slight to complete - take place on all levels: in the writing, in the orchestration, in the ordering, in the disordering (...)’ In the process of recomposing Gerhard, at times, seems to deliberately disregard the methodology he imposed on himself in the earlier version. The aim of this chapter is to investigate how much he ignores this on revising the Symphony; how the changes he made impact on the coherence of the newer version; finally to make some suggestions as to why he felt the structures could be broken.
    • Michael’s Story :Developing Understandings of Gypsy Traveller culture

      Owens, Allan; Pickford, Barbara; Pickford, Tony; University of Chester, University of Chester, University of Chester (Chester Academic Press., 2014-02-03)
      Practise based research in 8 schools over a three year period led to the creation of this CDROM and DVD Video. Process drama was used to develop knowledge and understanding of Gypsy Traveller Culture and Lifestyle.
    • Miliwn o Ddawnswyr Cymraeg: A Million Welsh Dancers

      Harrop, Angharad; University of Chester (People Dancing, 2019-05)
      Using the work of BLAS, the community strand of Pontio Arts and Innovation Centre, Bangor, this article discusses how dance is able to help achieve the aims of the Welsh Government to have a million Welsh Speakers by 2050.
    • Moby Dick Production Video Trailer

      Piasecka, Shelley; Piasecki, Simon; University of Chester; Liverpool Hope University (n/a, 2017-06-01)
      Moby Dick Stage Adaptation Written by Herman Melville Produced by Shelley Piasecka and Simon Piasecki At the end of the 19th century a New York customs inspector and writer died in relative obscurity. His name was Herman Melville and he would later come to be regarded as a literary giant, equal in stature to Mark Twain, John Steinbeck and Jack London. Melville published numerous books in his lifetime but is best known for Moby Dick, a story of a young schoolmaster aboard the ill-fated voyage of the Pequod, a Nantucket whaling ship. Melville had experienced whaling himself and also spent some time in Liverpool, whilst travelling the oceans. Here, Melville’s classic is brought to life in a fast moving and thrilling stage adaptation. It is a timeless story that pits man against the forces of nature itself. How far will a man go to satisfy a vengeful obsession?
    • Momentum, Gravity, and 'Sensational Facts': Attending to Interdisciplinary Materiality through Contact Improvisation

      Sarco-Thomas, Malaika; University of Chester (University of Malta Press, 2018)
      This chapter maps out some initial territory for examining how the movement practice of contact improvisation, a form born in the 1970s out of the explorations of Judson Dance Theatre artists, might be seen to offer a sensation and attention-based approach to matter. I suggest that such an attention-based practice can be understood as crucially interdisciplinary when viewed through the lens of new materialism. In doing so, I discuss the imaginative privileging of the sensate, characteristic of contact improvisation, as a frame through which to point to the significance of two further performance forms: the author’s solo performance Twig Dances and Min Tanaka’s Body Weather training. I conclude by identifying how these scores, which might be broadly identified as ‘contact [and] improvisation’ practices, open up questions of how performance philosophies that seek identification with, or question another, are significant to interdisciplinary investigations of materiality, including scientific processes. Such attention-based scores introduce new understandings of material entanglement, through embodied improvisation, which can be desirable to what this essay will call an experiential posthuman project. As such, ‘posthuman’ is understood in this essay as an approach whereby a collective set of forces, and attention-based processes, study material encounters through post-anthropocentric perspectives. I argue that such attention to materiality may be seen as interdisciplinary, when viewed as both a physical and imaginative performance practice.
    • My Old Home Pretext: Interactive Performance

      Owens, Allan; Green, Naomi; Ohashi, Yosuke; Katayanagi Instiute & Taichi Kikaku Theatre Company Tokyo (Interactive Performance, 2016-04-28)
      The concept of return is at the heart of ‘My Old Home Pre-text’, but in a very different political context, that of China in the 1920’s. A man whose name we never know, braves the freezing cold to make the journey by boat from Peking (now Beijing) with a clear purpose in mind, to sell the old home he last saw twenty years ago and to bring his mother and niece back to the big city with him. He travels resolutely, but is unprepared for the wave of emotions that wash over him as he meets his old friend and questions the lives they are living. Lu Xun (1881-1936) wrote the story on which this pretext was based in 1921 when 2000 years of imperial rule had just ended. Revolts and uprisings had taken place, modernization had begun, but society had not changed and he criticizes this. Through a series of detailed frames participants engage with the mans’ search for hope.
    • Performing PREVENT: Anti-extremist Theatre-in-Education in the Service of UK Counter-Terrorism, a Freirean Analysis

      Piasecka, Shelley; University of Chester (Taylor and Francis, 2019-05-24)
      This article reveals a new trend in UK counter-terrorism: the emergence of anti-extremist Theatre-in-Education (TIE) to deliver counter-terrorism projects in schools and colleges. Using Paulo Freire’s vision of critical and dialogic pedagogy, I offer an analysis of anti-extremist TIE against a backdrop of PREVENT, the UK counter-terrorism strategy. The September 11 attack, the London Transport bombings and the more recent attacks in Europe and the UK have contributed to a strengthening of counter-terrorism measures in all spheres of public life. In 2015, the UK government introduced a statutory duty for education providers to prevent young people from being drawn into terrorism. This is known as the PREVENT Duty. The implementation of the duty has not been without controversy, with commentators noting a disproportionate focus on Islamist forms of terrorism. My study has shown that the guiding principle of TIE to enact social change is threatened in this climate, whilst maintaining the possibility of engaging young people in meaningful dialogue about terrorism and violent extremism.
    • Presenting an absence

      Smith, Kate M. (Chester College, 1995)
      This article reflects upon the themes of blackness and whiteness, and presence and absence in a production of Our country's good by Timerblake Wertenbaker made by students in the Department of Drama & Theatre Studies at Chester College.
    • ‘Proxemic Interaction in Popular Music Recordings’

      Dockwray, Ruth; University of Chester (Routledge, 2017-01-01)
      This paper discusses sonic spatialization and the notion of proxemics in recorded tracks. Spatialization or rather the spatial characteristics and positioning of sounds within a track, can directly influence the way a listener can formulate their own interpretation. Through the analysis of proxemic zones within the context of the ‘sound-box’, their impact in terms of interpersonal distance and listener engagement will be discussed along with potential meanings.
    • Questioning through Doing: Shaping Praxis through the Individual Dance Project

      Sarco-Thomas, Malaika; University of Chester (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018-04-27)
      How might flow theory explain dancers’ experience of technique class? Can auditory learning stimulate a deeper understanding of tap dance? How does “play” build group cohesion in improvisation? These and other questions can spark undergraduate dance research. Artistic research at the undergraduate level creates an opportunity for students to exercise a range of skills as scholars, facilitators and performers. This case study will look at the Individual Dance Project (IDP) as integral to the Bachelor (Honors) in Dance Studies course offered by the University of Malta’s School of Performing Arts as an example of high-impact teaching where students are guided and challenged to build unique projects which investigate a phenomenon in both theory and practice.
    • Rattling- Arts Based Initiatives in learning and transformation

      Owens, Allan; Passila, Anne (IKAM, 2015-06-10)
      This track explores the process of arts-based initiatives, ABIs, (Schiuma, 2011; 2013) in the context of practice-based innovation (Melkas & Harmaakorpi, 2012). According to Schiuma (2011, pp. 2–3), an ABI is the planned managerial use of art forms to address management challenges and business problems with the aim of developing employees and infrastructure that affect the organizational value-creation capacity. ABIs integrate the traditional rational-based perspective of the organization with the emotive-based perspective of organizational life and its components. The organizational knowledge creation process depends on the integration of “technical knowledge“ with emotive knowledge. The arts provide approaches and innovation action tools to handle emotional and evocative dynamics within and around organizations.