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During 2020, Trinity Laban will establish a new institutional Research Centre, entitled ‘Thinking Through Practice’. The centre aligns with new institutional imperatives regarding diversity; one way of approaching the importance of this issue is to use performance, in all its guises, as a lens through which wider social issues can be addressed. Some questions that the Research Centre will therefore address itself to are: 

  • How does making and thinking about performances provide a mechanism for wider societal commentary?  
  • What are the limits of this procedure?  
  • How can working through the lens of art-making provide value and benefit?  
  • How can performance-making contribute to disputes and questions in wider disciplinary areas in the sciences and humanities? 

As a result it is anticipated the centre is neither focused solely on practice-based outcomes, nor just theoretical issues surrounding practice, but thinking through practice about wider cultural and societal issues, like diversity, wellbeing, cohesion, community, and so forth. Hence the centre will be necessarily  multidisciplinary, and will form a focus for institutional research at Trinity Laban that will house its other existing groups, like the Sound and Movement Research Group, and Research Group in Dance Science. The Centre will organise events that would address certain themes at the intersection of these research areas. 


Inaugural Event:

Craft and Art, Symposium 12 Feb 2020

Curated by Zoi Dimitriou and Jonathan Owen Clark

What is the relation between craft and the performing arts? What are the socio-political connotations these relations hold today and how do these challenge, redirect and nourish artistic, curatorial, pedagogical and social practices?

Craftmanship as an intimate working with materials and their transformation has recently been drawing attention in both the artistic and academic milieu. Notions of repetition, persistence, resistance, foresight and ‘following the materials’ are but some of our anchoring focal points. One line of theoretical inquiry can be traced through the work of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, who suggest that to ‘follow the materials’ is to think from the materials – to find ‘the consciousness or thought of the matter-flow’ (Deleuze and Guattari 2004:454). Another way of approaching the subject is through Tim Ingold’s anthropological analysis of the embodied processes of enskillment that join both art and craft-making.

Practices of craftmanship have close links to the daily practices of the dancer, musician and artist. How can we discuss these processes from the viewpoint that even the smallest of ‘gestures’ (actions) can produce things, affects and change that encompass the potentiality for domain shifts and moving us through/across borders?

The symposium is inspired by an Atelier on Dance and Craft organised by the Duncan Dance Research Centre and EDN (European Dance House Network) that took place in Athens during Spring 2019.

Download a detailed programme for the symposium (pdf).