performing empowerment – hetty blades

I am currently undertaking fieldwork in Sri Lanka as part of the AHRC/ESRC funded project, Performing Empowerment. The project team is led by Dr Lars Waldorf (University of York) and includes Adam Benjamin (Plymouth University) and me, along with our project partners; VisAbility, Church of the American Ceylon Mission, Swamy Vipulananda Institute of Aesthetic Studies (Eastern University) and University of Peradeniya. Our aim is to evaluate VisAbility’s model, which combines what they refer to as ‘mixed-abled’ dance and rights awareness workshops as a way of empowering people with (conflict-related) disabilities to exercise their rights. We are using a range of methods, including interviews, self-assessment, observation, and practical tasks to try and understand how the workshops impact on the self-esteem, self-confidence and rights knowledge of the participants. This first data set will be compared with information from the second round of workshops and data collection in December 2017- January 2018 in order to assess the long-term impact of this work. To find out more please look at our website and follow us on social media.

Twitter: @perfempowerment

– Hetty Blades


WhoLoDanceE is a three year project (January 2016-December 2018) Research and Innovation Action, under the framework of ICT2015 of Horizon 2020 aiming at designing and developing whole body interaction tools to support dance learning. The consortium of WhoLoDanceE consists of a) Technical Partners, b) Four Dance Expert partners from different countries (UK, Spain, France and Greece) with a mixed profile of Dance Education institutions and choreographing companies, covering four different dance genres (ballet, contemporary, flamenco, and Greek folk). The aim of the project is to create new technologies for capturing and analyzing dance movement to facilitate whole-body interaction learning experiences for a variety of dance genres. Working together we will develop a protocol for the creation and/or selection of dance sequences drawn from different dance genres for different teaching and learning modalities. Our initial work has involved designing a methodology for selecting the appropriate shots for motion capturing, to acquire kinetic material, which will provide a satisfying proof of concept for Learning scenarios of particular genres. The emergence of virtual reality applications and human-like interfaces has given rise to the necessity of producing realistic models of the human body.[1] The WhoLoDancE project is bringing together a team of expert technologists, developers, researchers, dancers, artists and 2D and 3D model designers to develop a teaching-learning-creative digital tool that can allow the user to employ a variety of state-of the art methods to facilitate in the learning and teaching of dance. The dancing human body is at the core of this EU-Funded Horizon 2020 research project and is allowing programmers to discuss modelling techniques while also pulling in expert teachers, dancers and choreographers.

Project team: Sarah Whatley, Ruth Gibson, Karen Wood, Rosa Cisneros.

Images courtesy of Giulio Bettini.

  1. Sarris, N. and Strintzis, M. (2005). 3D modeling and animation. Hershey: IRM Press.  ↩

simon ellis and shannon bott – lists

Umberto Eco once said that “We Like Lists Because We Don’t Want to Die”[1]. I’m in the middle of pre-production for a new choreography with Melbourne dancer-choreographer Shannon Bott. We wanted to know what kinds of practices we could do daily while at either ends of the world. We started writing lists. They are lists about what we see, what we imagine, what we know, what we’ve lied about … and from these lists have come some possibilities for a choreography of words when we meet in Melbourne and Launceston for 6 weeks starting in October 2017.

Shannon and I have a long working relationship[2], and this new work reflects that history as well as a recent period of research and development in Bassano del Grappa in May 2016.

– Simon Ellis