Dancing About Architecture (2019)


A performative interdisciplinary workshop on  

Dance, Somatic Practices, Architecture & Engineering 

Principal Investigator: Professor Jools Gilson 

Funded by the Irish Research Council’s Creative Connections strand, Dancing About Architecture was a unique workshop within the Irish and international research ecology since it proposed the methodologies and sensibilities of Dance / Choreographic / Somatic Practices as tools for experimenting with new forms of transdisciplinary collaboration, here in a case study between Dance, Architecture and Engineering. In broad terms this workshop asserted that creative practice disciplines have untapped and exceptional methodological potential for transdisciplinary collaboration. It was critical to the success of this workshop that participants were drawn (with relative parity) from each of the disciplines of Dance, Architecture and Engineering. The workshop was led / mentored by a group of international experts in transdisciplinary collaboration from Dance and Architecture; Diego Gil (Senselab Montréal); Vicky Hunter (Reader in Site-Dance & Choreography at University of Chichester); Caroline Salem (Choreographer, Mentor and Dramaturg); Ed Frith (Architect & specialist in Architecture & Performativity, Art University Bournemouth).

Through a series of movement-based explorations, reflections on physical space in buildings / outside contexts, the workshop developed innovative modes of creative engagement / creative generation of ideas through the entwined principles / processes of Dance / Somatic Practice and Architecture / Engineering. Dancing About Architecture took place over three intensive days. Workshop leaders brought a contrasting range of embodied strategies to explore collaboration, and responses included site exploration, performance, drawing, improvisation and discussion. This workshop demonstrated dynamically the catalysing potential of creative practice disciplines for STEM to STEAM collaboration.