My esteemed colleague, Lise Uytterhoeven and I are putting together a discussion forum on the ghosts in dance – you know, those voices in the head of the academy, the “they” and the shoulds, etc.  We hope to keep this a fun debate and discussion with a variety of voices heard. I am really looking forward to this.

Discussion Forum:
Ghosts and Spectres in Dance Higher Education
Supported by DanceHE

Saturday 22 March 2014, 10am-2pm
Gallery, London Studio Centre
artsdepot, 5 Nether Street, North Finchley, London N12 0GA

We are creating a discussion forum for teachers of Dance in HE to foreshadow the forthcoming HEA Arts and Humanities “Heroes and Monsters: extra-ordinary tales of learning and teaching in the Arts and Humanities” conference (to be held in Manchester on 2-4 June 2014).

The HEA conference call, which addresses all of the Arts and Humanities, highlights concerns that are especially relevant to dance and we hope to create an opportunity to meet other dance educators in a focused environment to consider these. The HEA invites us ‘to explore the everyday business of learning and teaching through metaphor and narrative, and so transfigure the “taken-for-grantedness” of academic practice into fantastic tales of the unexpected’.

For the discussion forum, we are especially interested in “Ghosts and Spectres”, indicating that ‘pedagogical practices carry spectral traces of their disciplinary histories they at once inscribe and erase.’ Participants are invited to engage in a ‘ghostbusting’ process to reveal the unspoken assumptions, skills and processes that constitute the ‘disciplinary unconscious’ of dance education, so that we can enhance student learning.

We are inviting brief, perhaps playful, and/or theatrical provocations (10-15 minutes) from colleagues in order to share approaches to teaching and learning. We are particularly interested in the following questions:

  • The ghosts of several influential dance artists “haunt” the discipline. Who are they? What are these ghosts saying to the emerging dance artists of today? In a role play, what kind of dialogue might we engage in with these ghosts?
  • What is the value of teaching certain identifiable dance techniques? What are the alternatives?
  • What kinds of creative processes are held in higher regard than others? Why are others considered less interesting?
  • What is the relationship between dance history and HE? What role does HE play in the formation, validation and reification of dance’s history?
  • What kinds of writing skills do we expect students to develop, and to what end?

We aim to shape the submitted ideas in a dramaturgical way that recognises key trends in what dance colleagues are interested in in relation to the above questions. We also intend to stimulate the exchange of different views/voices, rather than represent a unified point of view.

Please send expressions of interest and ideas for provocations (250 words) to lise@londonstudiocentre.org by Friday 14 February 2014. Please indicate your affiliation and whether you would be interested in joining a team of dance colleagues for an hour-long debate at the HEA conference (optional). If so, nearer the time, colleagues would have to ensure they are able to attend the conference in Manchester on 2-4 June 2014.

The event organising committee consists of Julia Gleich (Head of Choreography at London Studio Centre & Technique Faculty at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance) and Dr Lise Uytterhoeven (Senior Lecturer & Head of Learning and Teaching at London Studio Centre).

Attendance at this discussion forum is free, but reservation is essential. Please email lise@londonstudiocentre.org to book your place by Friday 14 March 2014.

Please note that we have submitted a proposal to the HEA for an hour-long debate about “Ghosts and Spectres in Dance Higher Education”. We will notify the DanceHE mailing list about whether or not this proposal is accepted to be included in the June conference as soon as we find out and clarify our approach.