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A Conference convened by Centre for Dance Research (C-DaRE) Coventry University; Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Dance (CIRID) De Montfort University and Centre for Dance Research University of Roehampton

ADiE Roundtable

Title: Current state of Play: The Artistic Doctorate


Names of presenters:

Prof Vida Midgelow (Middlesex University / ADiE Lead Investigator)

Prof Jane Bacon  (University of Chichester)
Paul Russ (Chief Executive and Artistic Director, Dance4)
Dr Becca Wood (Dance artist / University of Auckland)

Simone Kenyon (Dance artist /PhD candidate University of Leeds)



This roundtable will share and debate research emerging from the ‘Artistic Doctorates in Europe’ (ADiE, a 3-year EU funded project) – elaborating the experiences and perceptions of candidates undertaking these degrees and the wider field.


In recent years there has been a rich reconsideration of the place of creative arts practice in research addressing how practice can be understood as a method of research and how art works produce knowledge. However, the particularities, requirements and significance of the PaR doctorate in dance have received little direct attention. Further, the aspirations and ‘on the ground’ experiences of PaR candidates has generally been overlooked. ADiE seeks to address these gaps by investigating practices and developing resources to support the significant potential these doctorates have to reach beyond academic contexts to impact artistic innovation and the creative economy. See: http://dance4.co.uk/adie.


This round table will include a series of short provocations/presentations that share our initial observations and identify key issues related to PaR doctorate provision. The panel will elaborate the complexity of practices and concerns across sectors, and include voices of current and former candidates. The panel lead into an open discussion with the audience that will also to inform the emerging research.


Roundtable questions / topics for panellists:


1, Who are you?

Situating yourself on this panel: Are you an artistic research candidate, supervisor, producer, etc? What are your particular interests and experiences of PaR?


  1. In what ways does the research degree format change the nature of dance practice?

What does it mean to expand or refocus an artist’s professional practice to an artist’s professional research practice in this way?


  1. How do supervisors and cultural sector leaders cultivate and support (or otherwise) PaR and the expansion / refocusing of practice they (perhaps) entail?


  1. How is the increasing take up of the PaR PhD in dance changing the wider dance field? What is the influence on the academic and arts professions? What does this mean for leadership in and across these professional contexts?


Brief biographies


Dance Artist/Academic, Vida L Midgelow is Professor of Dance and Choreographic Practices at Middlesex University, UK. She as over 20 years experience facilitating and lecturing. Her movement and video work has been shown internationally and recent essays include, Some Fleshy Thinking (2015) and Creative Articulation Process (CAP) (co-authored with Jane Bacon, 2014). She is currently editing the Oxford Handbook on Improvisation in Dance (OUP, forthcoming) and is the principal researcher for the Artistic Doctorates in Europe project. As Director of Research Degrees in the Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries (Mdx) she specializes in the supervision of PaR doctorates. She also undertakes dramaturgical and consultancy roles beyond the University context. Extending these interests Midgelow co-edits, with Prof Jane Bacon, the hybrid peer reviewed journal, Choreographic Practices (Intellect Press).



Jane Bacon is Professor of Dance, Performance and Somatics at University of Chichester, UK. She is also a Jungian Analyst, a faculty member of Janet Adler’s Circles of Four and a Focusing Trainer. She is co-Director of The Choreographic Lab and co-Editor of the Intellect journal Choreographic Practices (both with Prof Vida Midgelow). She has been at the heart of the practice-as-research debate and development in the UK particularly since its beginnings particularly in the area of articulation of creative process, assessment processes and the methodological approaches to Practice-as-Research in Dance and Performance. Recent publications include ‘Authentic Movement: A field of practices’ an edited special issue of Dance and Somatic Practices, vol. 7.2, 2015; ‘Authentic Movement as wellbeing practice’, in Dance and Movement for Wellbeing: Kaleidoscopic Views of a Diverse Field (eds. Karkou, Oliver and Lycouris), Oxford University Press, 2017); ‘Creative Articulations Process’, (with Midgelow, V.). In Articulations, Choreographic Practices special issue, Vol 5.1. Bristol:Intellect. 2014; ‘Embodied and Direct Experience in Performance Studies’, in Contemporary Ethnography and Performance Studies (Harrop and Njaradi, eds) ,pp.113-130, 2013.


Paul Russ

Paul has been Artistic Director and Chief Executive at Dance4, Nottingham since December 2008. Dance4 is an internationally renowned organisation that strives to question the future of the art form and its relationship to its locality.


Since studying Contemporary Dance and Performance at Nottingham Trent University and volunteering on the Nottdance festival in the mid 90’s Paul has worked in a number of roles as dance professional, from programmer, educator, funder, commissioner and producer, for organisations including; Arts Council England, Cambsdance, Birmingham Rep, Audiences Central, The Old Town Hall Theatre and Nottingham Playhouse.


He now has responsibility for the strategic and artistic direction of Dance4 including; Nottdance, a biennial international festival of experimental dance and performance, Dance4’s new international Centre for Choreography (opened in 2016) and the East Midlands Centre for Advanced Training in Dance – a Government funded scheme for gifted and talented dancers.


Particular areas of interest, to Paul, are increasing opportunity for disabled young people to have access to programmes of the highest quality that enable them to achieve in dance and in research to enable dance and choreography to share and exchange knowledge with other disciplines and sectors.


Paul is currently Chair of Titled Productions, a trustee of Merseyside Dance Initiative, Chair of the Nottingham Strategic Cultural partnership and Vice-Chair of Governors for Oak Field School, Nottingham.


Dr Becca Wood works in performance practices that slip between the intersections of the body, space and digital environments. Her interest in this interdisciplinary terrain comes from years of working between the disciplines of design, spatial and dance practices. Becca recently completed her PhD in the Dance Studies Department at the University of Auckland where she also lectures in Somatic practices and Interdisciplinary Practice in the Dance Studies Department. She continues to work across the arts in performance, somatic research and education, and digital technologies and spatial practices.

Simone Kenyon is a UK based artist, dancer and Feldenkrais practitioner. She recently began an interdisciplinary PhD across the Departments of Performance & Cultural Industries and Geography at University of Leeds. She creates works that encompass dance and somatic practices, walking arts, participatory events and workshops for both urban and rural contexts. Her solo work explores walking as a choreographic practice, sensory experiences and performance exploring environment and ecological perspectives. She has a wide breadth of knowledge and skills informing how she creates work for and with specific places and people. This includes facilitating workshops for research projects and for other artists and organisations. She often collaborates with others on both site and studio based works, including her 9-year collaboration with dance artists Neil Callaghan. Recent works have been presented at Fierce Festival in Birmingham, The Hayward Gallery and Sadler’s Wells, London and has toured internationally in China.




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