Research Projects: Creativity: Theory & Practice
Project: Ynghlwm/Roped Together (2012)
Who is involved: Kate Lawrence and Galeri, Caernarfon. Film made by Joanna Wright
Summary: A vertical dance duet performed by Kate Lawrence and Simon Edwards, commissioned by and performed in the bar area of Galeri, Caernarfon, on 11th November 2011, in the interval of mountaineer Andy Kirkpatrick’s lecture about his new book, Cold Wars.
Detail: The artistic concept is drawn from stories and experiences of climbing partners, in particular those between male female partners of yesteryear. The audience emerged into the foyer for the interval and discover the climbing partners frozen as if in a photograph. Once the audience had gathered, music began to play and a story of ascent (and descent) unfolded in which the partners are dependent on each other. The duet used a counterbalance system in which a single rope is attached through a pulley with a dancer attached to either end of the rope. This enables the dancers to move up and down by counterbalancing one another, like a human funicular, or cable railway. Unusually, the duet was not advertised. This was a deliberate choice made in collaboration with the venue programmer. We wanted to surprise the audience who had come to see something different. Other audience members included people attending a curry night and a wine-tasting in the building. The duet has also been performed in the Beacon Climbing Centre, Caernarfon, for their opening celebrations and at Take pART 2014 at Venue Cymru, Llandudno.
Total audience to date: 2000 Ynghlwm film by Joanna Wright
Project: Pobl Dre (2012)
Who is involved: Kate Lawrence and Galeri, Caernarfon
Funding: £5000 project grant from Arts Council Wales
Summary: Pobl Dre (town people) is a witty and colourful 20 minute vertical dance choreography created in collaboration with North Wales artist Luned Rhys Parri for her exhibition Y Maes (town square).
Detail: Luned’s three dimensional art work depicts local characters in the towns and villages of North Wales. For this project she focused on the people in the Maes (town square) in Caernarfon. The dancers bring the characters to life above the heads of the audience in the foyer of Galeri using handbags, newspapers, cups of tea and invisible dogs. This was the first project Kate undertook with newly trained vertical dancers in North Wales. The show was reworked for Take pART at Venue Cymru in 2015. Total audiences to date: 1,000
Project: Gwymon/Seaweed (2014)
Who is involved: Kate Lawrence and Galeri, Caernarfon
Funding: £3000 Research and Development award from Arts Council of Wales (2013) and support from Dance Collective North Wales. £1700 from One Dance UK to develop marketing materials for British Dance Edition (2016).
Summary: A vertical dance duet examining relationships between women and the sea, drawing on the travel writing of Eluned Morgan. Features an original musical score by Rob Spaull with Eve Goodman and Henry Horrell and design by Sabine Cockrill and Ceri Rimmer. Detail: Initially developed through Arts Council of Wales funding as a research project in collaboration with Galeri Caernarfon in 2013. The research project included a work in progress performance on the balconies of Galeri, overlooking the harbor. In 2014 the work was further developed into a performance work for vertical walls that has been performed on exterior and interior walls of buildings in a range of locations: Venue Cymru, Riverfront Newport, Base Sous-marine Saint Nazaire (France), Sarn Mynach Government offices Llandudno Junction. In 2016 Gwymon was chosen to represent the best of British dance at the biennial festival/trade show, British Dance Edition, and was performed at Millennium Centre, Cardiff. It has also been performed on the Welsh Government Building in Llandudno Junction and the Base Sousmarine in St Nazaire, France in 2016. Total public audience to date: 2,000
‘Cat Ryan and Despina Goula combined the art of dance with that of rock climbing to create an astonishing display of horizontal, diagonal and vertical choreography, hanging from ropes down the side of the building. The synchronous movement shown by these two performers was among the tightest I'd seen all weekend, and this is two women dangling from the end of ropes down the side of a building! Gwymon was a representation of a female connection to the sea, inspired by Eluned Morgan's diaries of her voyage to Patagonia in the 19th century. Beautiful and elegant.’ Steve Stratford Reviews
Gwymon trailer (2014 to present)
Gwymon research film (2013)
Project: Porth/Portal (2015)
Who is involved: Kate Lawrence, Pontio, Guildhall School, Lindsey Butcher (Gravity and Levity) and Julia Taffe (Aeriosa)
Summary: A vertical dance trio made in collaboration with 3D projection students from MA at Guildhall School, and commissioned by Pontio featuring international guest vertical dance artists.
Detail: Porth was designed to celebrate the imminent opening of Pontio building and was performed on the exterior of the building for 3 nights as part of the first Gwyl Syrcas Feast series of circus themed events. It features a collaboration with Rob Spaull on an original soundscore and with Ceri Rimmer on costumes. This was the first time Kate worked with projection, creating a ‘movie’ effect on the exterior wall of Pontio. Comments from audience members included: ‘the combination of sound, visual graphics and aerial performance was stunning. Looking forward to more events like this in Pontio’; ‘Porth is quite an amazing show!’; ‘completely blown away by Porth’; ‘a combination of talented dancers and high-tech projections on the side of the building - we must have more of this kind of thing’. Porth was performed again, without projections, as part of the Take pART festival at Venue Cymru in January 2016.
Total audience numbers to date: 2,000
Project: Hints to Lady Travellers (2015)
Who is involved: Kate Lawrence Summary: a vertical dance duet commissioned by Venue Cymru for Llawn 03 festival. Two Victorian lady travelers find themselves marooned on the roof of Venue Cymru and need to get to the sea. They abseil, strip and dip…
Detail: Over a week in September 2015, we occupied the roof and walls of Venue Cymru overlooking the sea. The challenge posed was how to abseil down a building with edges and balconies, and big windows behind which diners were eating. Kate created a rigging design which enabled the dancers to descend a single rope to the ground. An audience of 300 were gathered on the promenade, in front of the building and inside the building. The work took inspiration from two real Victorian lady travelers, Isabella Bird and Freya Stark and drew on the first travel guide for women, Hints to Lady Travellers (1889) by Lillias Campbell Davidson.
‘A unique spectacle as the duo .. "danced" their way down the glass frontage of the building, then crossed the busy road hand in hand, to finally pull off their hobnail boots and dip their feet in the chilly sea at the water's edge. The journey was impressive…and must have confused many a passing motorist who could only see a crowd of people staring intently up at the sky with smiles on their faces.’ Steve Stratford review
Project: Llechi/Slate (2016)
Who is involved: Kate Lawrence, Pontio and 9Bach
Funding: Arts Council of Wales Summary: A large collaborative project organized by Bathesda-based folk/indie band 9Bach based on the quarrying industry in North Wales resulting in a multi-media performance in the main theatre of Pontio.
Detail: Creation of 7 short vertical dance episodes in response to the music of 9Bach and Lleuwen Steffan. Kate worked with various different systems of vertical dance, including suspending a small ‘slate’ in high in the middle of the proscenium arch which served as a tiny dance floor for three dancers, counterbalance and floor and wall choreography. The choreography was developed over 2 years of research into the quarry industry and practical research into ways of conveying the sense of community and physical labour through dance, including dancing on the walls of the quarries and other rock faces in North Wales. Audience of 400. Audience responses: ‘In Llechi tonight I witnessed one of the best shows I've ever seen’; ‘perhaps the best thing I have ever seen – all of it, the visuals, music, the choir, the performances of all the collaborators. I was just enthralled by it from beginning to end. It was humbling to watch and experience something so beautifully put together.’
Project: Moving Rocks (ongoing)
Who is involved: Kate Lawrence
Funding: Wales Lab/NTW; Arts Council Wales Training grant Summary: Research into a new performance work for theatres that uses vertical dance to convey a sense of the life of slate quarrymen in North Wales.
Detail: The research has been ongoing for 2 years. A period of research in the mountains was funded by a Wales Lab award. In 2016 some of the research was put into practice in the collaborative multi-media performance Llechi, with 9Bach. In addition, Arts Council Wales funded a training programme which included 3 days of intensive research into Stanislavski methods in relation to quarrymens’ lives. The future development of the project is to create a touring theatre show for a stripped out theatre, where the audience has to move to experience different episodes of the performance.
Project: In-Visible Light: Vertical Dance and Light Experience (2016)
Who is involved: Kate Lawrence and Ray Davies from Photonics Academy of Wales at Bangor (PAWB)
Summary: Pontio Synthesis science and arts commission 2016. Ray and Kate worked creatively to find ways of revealing new understandings of light through vertical dance; to make the light dance.
Detail: 3 days of creative research led to a public engagement event featuring 3 live performances and opportunities to engage with the science and with vertical dance. We used Ronchi gratings, lasers and Electroluminescent wire, and no theatre lighting. The audience was invited to view the performance through diffraction grating glasses which reveal the spectrum of colour in white light not visible to the naked eye. Over 200 people saw the performances, which took place in the Studio Theatre at Pontio.
Project: Cuddio/Ceisio:Hide/Seek (2016)
Who is involved: Kate Lawrence
Summary: a 15 minute counterbalance duet commissioned by Llawn 04 festival in Llandudno, performed in a Monterrey Pine in Happy Valley, Llandudno.
Detail: Several days research with dancers to find ways to embody the sense of the closing of the summer and the approaching winter, and what this means for creatures such as squirrels who must amass a larder to get through the cold months. Collaborating with the tree to find its particular movement patterns for a suspended dancer.
Project: Omnibus (2016)
Who is involved: Kate Lawrence, Mind’s Eye Audio Description, North Wales Services for the Blind and Partially Sighted, Galeri
Summary: Creation of a 15 minute original performance inspired by childrens’ drawings and descriptions of their favorite Roald Dahl characters. Funded by Literature Wales (£1250) and Arts Council Wales (£5000).
Detail: An aerial dance is created with a soundscore that incorporates audio description for blind and partially sighted audiences. This is an experimental project, putting audio description at the heart of the creative process rather than adding it afterwards, and making it audible to all audience members. Performances on 1st October 2016 at 12pm and 5.30pm
Project: Exploring Multimodal Creativity: Creating Fiction across Print and Digital Media
Who is involved: Lyle Skains
Summary: A practice-based creative writing & digital media project, exploring the process of creating stories for multiple media in multiple communication modes: how writing for different media affects the writer's process and perspective with regard to story.
Detail: My current research is a practice-based project in Creative & Critical Writing and Digital Media. The creative elements are a print novella and digital/electronic storyworld which may be read/played on a spectrum of experience from full print immersion to full digital immersion. This creative project is an exploration of the process of creating stories for multiple media in multiple communication modes: how writing for different media affects the writer's process and perspective with regard to story.
The accompanying critical dissertation will present an analysis of this process, as well as offering a method for creating stories that co-exist in print and digital media, developing relevant critical theory and insight into the current context of the emerging genre of electronic literature. I am also interested in examining the evolution of this genre of fiction as it emerges into the mainstream, approaches to creation for writers and digital artists, methods for encouraging readers to embrace e-literature, publishing models, and adaptation/remediation of works across media.
The full project will be located Exploring Mulitmodal Creativity website.
A sample of a prototype effort can be found on YouTube: 'Inside Out Empty'
Project: The Mode of Seduction: Creativity in Advertising
Who is involved: Dr. Andrew McStay
Summary: This monograph manuscript assesses the centrality of creativity to advertising offering an alternative to dominant linguistic and combinatorial conceptions of creativity.
The title is based on the simple observation that advertising as an industry has more to do with seduction than traditional notions of production. While much of the output of the advertising industry has been critically scrutinized in some depth, there is a lack of cultural or critical theorisation dedicated to creativity and the means by which this somewhat nebulous term is employed inside and outside the advertising industry. There are then two aims for this project: the first is to better understand the centrality of creativity in advertising and marketing communications, along with developments in art and media that feed understanding of creativity within advertising. This involves the exploration of genealogies of creativity from the Counter-Enlightenment onwards. The second is to properly enquire into the philosophical, historical, technical and autopoietic shaping of creativity. This enquiry disturbs reliance on symbolic conceptualisation so to admit of other affordances and dynamics that impact on our understanding of creativity as it relates to advertising and our experiences of the world.
Andrew McStay's blog on Advertising
Project: Adaptation and the Screenplay: Theories of Screenwriting Process and Text Transformation.
Who is involved: Jamie Sherry
Funders: De Montfort University, Faculty of Humanities Bursary; Blackwell Publishing & Centre for Adaptations, DMU; Gylphi – Arts & Humanities
Summary: I use case studies to examine the relationship of literary to film texts via the screenplay.
Detail: This project investigates new concepts in the processes of literary adaptation, focussing on those films deemed to lack significant fidelity to the source material, or which are widely regarded within the cultural milieu as being re-imaginings of their source text. It is my intention to advance received notions of authorship/auteurship by engaging with transformative directors and prolific adaptors (Kubrick, Tarkovsky, Cronenberg, etc), utilising post-structuralist and reader-response theories (Genette, Todorov, Foucault, etc). This work also highlights the (largely ignored) importance of the screenwriting process in the re-imagining of literature, establishing the film screenplay as a significant literary artefact that facilitates radical adaptations, as well as examining the changing status of the film script, and how this effects readings of films.
This has led to several publications:
- ‘Tarkovsky’s Stalker and the Aesthetics of De-genrification in Adaptation,” in the edited collection Science Fiction across Media(Gylphi, 2011). See Gylphi SF Storyworlds.
- “Paratextual Adaptation: Heart of Darkness as Hearts of Darknessvia Apocalypse Now,” in the edited collection A Companion to Literature, Film and Adaptation (Blackwell, 2012). Blackwell Publishing
Project: The value of literary analysis to City financial institutions
Who is involved: Dr Eben Muse and Prof. Ceri Sullivan, School of English
Funding: £5000 from English Subject Centre, HEA. Period: 2008
Summary: This project aimed to demonstrate how English is valued for its subject specific skills and to create a substantiating set of case studies to support careers advice given to students
Detail: The sophisticated manipulation of sign systems is the main business of both literature and high finance. English graduates excel in thinking in abstracts, using analogies, moving spheres of reference, creating chains of referents and performing to an audience. This project aimed to demonstrate how English is valued for its subject specific skills and to create a substantiating set of case studies to support careers advice given to students. This project asked a small sample of English graduates now in senior and junior positions in accounting, investment, project or systems management, tax advice and merchant banking three principal questions: whether and how the study of English increased their efficiency, what they think creativity is in their profession, and how English academics might be of use in extending their business or providing training. The report of this project highlights the value of small group teaching in the English discipline and the need to communicate to students how important learning to think will be to their future careers. It also suggests that English departments offer modules related to the financial world, and exploit funding opportunities to share research and expertise with the commercial sector.
The Higher Education Academy: English Subject Centre
Project: Descent of the Angel (2009)
Who is involved: Choreographer/performer: Kate Lawrence (Bangor University). Music: Tim Brookes. Lighting: Charlotte McClelland
Summary: A performance drawing on Kate Lawrence’s research into vertical dance wherein the dancer uses the apparatus of rock climbing (harnesses, ropes, abseil devices) to suspend herself off the ground against a vertical surface, which becomes the ‘floor’ on which she dances.
For more information and photographic imagery.
Detail: Watching over residents, surveying the land and the activities below, the angel serves as golden guardian. She appears at the top of the tower and leans back over the edge. Gathering the breath of the wind, the angel unfurls her wings and swoops down. She dances to connect sky and land in her search for a lost soul to deliver to paradise.
Descent of the Angel was first performed on 20 March 2009 on Guildford Cathedral as part of the Guildford International Music Festival, with daytime and nighttime performances. The angel descended from Guildford Cathedral twice more, in September 2009 for the British Festival of Science and July 2010 for the Society of Dance History Scholars Dance and Spectacle conference. On Friday 19 June 2009 the angel left Guildford to descend from the roof of the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, as part of the AHRC Living Landscapes conference. Kate presented a paper as part of a panel at the conference, which has subsequently been published in a special edition of Performance Research:
Lawrence, Kate (Dec 2010) ‘Hanging from knowledge: Vertical dance fieldwork’ in Performance Research, ‘Fieldworks’: On Performance, Landscape and Environment. Eds. Mike Pearson, Heike Roms and Stephen Daniels. Vol. 15 No. 4
View Kate Lawrence talking about her vertical dance at Guildford Cathedral on the Surrey Advertiser website here.
Project: Fly Butterfly (2009), Off the Wall (2010) andRaschmunzel (2010)
Who is involved: Choreographer/Trainer: Kate Lawrence
Summary: Three linked performances directed by Kate Lawrence with performers from Belfast, trained by Kate in vertical dance skills.
Detail: These three performances were the outcome of a vertical dance training initiative in Belfast funded by the Legacy Trust and administered in partnership with The Beat Carnival Project and Circus Bone Idle.
- Fly Butterfly (2010) was a short vertical dance piece made for the façade of Belfast City Hall and performed at the end of a carnival parade to celebrate the re-opening of City Hall.
More information and photographs
Fly Butterfly 1 on YouTube
- Off the Wall (2010) was a longer work which built on the training of the performers in Fly Butterfly, initiated and produced by Flora Herberich and Circus Bone Idle.
More information and photographs
Watch excerpts of training and performance here
- Raschmunzel (2010), commissioned for Linz Pflasterspektakl Street Arts Festival.
More information and photographs
Project: Innovative System Improving teachers inter-cultural Skills (ISIS)
Who is involved: Dr Eben Muse
Funding: Leonardo da Vinci (European Social Fund), €54,000. Period 2006-2008
Summary: We are working in partnership with five other European countries to develop a model, methodology and tools to support teachers and trainers in understanding and managing multicultural learning environments.