Keep Listening, Keep Talking

Keep Listening, Keep Talking (2020-1) is a partnership initiative by Independent Dance, Dance HE, Centre for Dance Research (C-DaRE) at Coventry University and Centre for Performance Philosophy at the University of Surrey.

Stemming from an HE Round Table led by ID and Dr Adesola Akinleye in 2020, Keep Listening, Keep Talking takes the form of three conversations among artists working in the academic sphere. Each conversation starts with a short provocation by a guest speaker with lived experience of racism in HE contexts and each provocation relates to specific teaching, learning and research issues.

The third and last event in the series takes place online on 20 July. This is with guest speaker Dr Sharon Watson (CEO and Principal of the Northern School of Contemporary Dance), and hosted by Dr Shantel Ehrenberg (Centre for Performance Philosophy, University of Surrey). Following the format of the previous conversations, Sharon Watson will offer a provocation which will be followed by discussion, including areas for ongoing activism.

Further information and booking will be announced in mid-June.

January 2021 : #talk1

The first conversation was introduced by Carla Trim-Vamben (University of East London) and facilitated by ID and Dance HE.

Provocation by Carla Trim-Vamben: ‘The fear of being free’ 
“I deliver an undergraduate degree programme that focuses on popular and social dance forms. I often ask why students are afraid of freestyling and feel safer staying in the boundaries of technique exercises?  Is the transmission of popular and social dances within academic institutions creating a culture of fear? How do we ensure that the freedom that is inherent in these styles is accessible?”

Read notes from this conversation

Carla Trim-Vamben is a senior lecturer and programme leader of BA (Hons) Dance: Urban Practice degree at the University of East London. She is a practice-led researcher with interests centred around club culture, specifically house dance. She completed her MA in Dance Anthropology at Roehampton, writing her thesis on freestyle practice in UK house dance. Carla is also a community dance practitioner and has danced for choreographers such as ADiaspora Collective in Frusted (2010) at the Breakin’ Convention Festival. She has published and presented her work, ‘From Club to Stage: The Integration of House Dance within Performance Practice’ (2013) and at conferences such as ADAD’s Re: Generations. She is currently developing her research project for a PhD application and is leading the evaluation for an ACE-funded Transforming Leadership project, ‘We Move’. 

April 2021 : #talk2

The second talk in the series was hosted by Sarah Whatley (C-DaRE) and Sara Reed (independent dance researcher, writer and academic) with guest speaker Matthew Gough (dance artist, dramaturg, and senior lecturer at University of South Wales).

Matthew Gough’s session focused on ‘equitable negotiations for cultural change’, asking:

What does it mean to ‘live your values’ in Higher Education?
How can we develop a culture of intersectional thinking, and actions?
Who are we engaging in conversations of ‘change’, why ‘them’?

Cultural conversations seek to renegotiate our interactions as individuals, organisations, and communities. When negotiations are mediated and dominated by those in power, marginalised voices are assimilated into new exclusions. How do we ‘live our values’ to ensure equity within those conversations, relinquishing or using our privilege/power to enable transformative change. Matthew Gough

Matthew Gough is a dance artist, dramaturg, and senior lecturer based in Cardiff (University of South Wales). Recent credits include: Rewild (Krystal Lowe: Green Man Festival 2020 / The Place Spring Festival 2021), Llyfr Glas Nebo (Frân Wen), Chwarae (Theatr Iolo). They are a trustee of National Dance Company Wales and contribute to local/national conversations on cultural equity.