I Want You To Participate || pause for thought

PCI Postgraduate Research Seminar Series University of Leeds | School of Performance and Cultural Industries | 31st May 2017, 1pm- 5pm, [email protected], Alec Clegg Studio


A colloquium

Aim is to collect direct insights from an eclectic group of artists, and creative researchers who work across installation, sound, intermedia,immersive, applied art, and performance, and who utilise participatory formats. We will reflect on the below questions:

How do the invited artists and creative researchers perceive their role within participatory works?

What do they think they contextualise with their practice?

What constitutes something as pseudo-participatory?

Focus will be placed on the resistances, crises, or ethical dilemmas, the ‘knots’, and glitches encountered by the invited artists, and creative researchers when using participatory formats in the current landscape of hybrid, participatory art and performance culture.

You may drop in for the whole day, or for a session (for more info see: schedule).

Sandwiches, cake, tea, and coffee will be provided during the break free of charge.

Organised by Xristina Penna

Supported by Post Graduate Research & Audience Engagement and Experience Research Group, PCI, University of Leeds.

Supported by HEFCE and ACE via The Exchange project

This is a recording of the talks, and an attempt to capture some of the thoughts on post-it notes.

12.45-1.00: Registration

1.00 -1.10 Intro

Alaena Turner is a practice-based PhD candidate at the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies, University of Leeds. She completed an MA in Fine Art at Slade School of Fine Art, UCL (2006-8) and a BA in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art, UAL (2003-6). In 2016 Turner was the recipient of the A.P.T Curatorial Fellowship, producing an exhibition'Ingredients, Method, Serving Suggestion' which explored models of co-production through re-enacting recipes and artist instructions. This developed from an earlier research project 'Dinner with Picasso'(2014), funded by a small research award from the Institute of Making, exploring the relationship between art and food. Prior to this Turner worked in the graduate painting department of Slade School of Fine Art as Honorary Research Associate of the Materials Research Project (2013).

TheSaturdayMuseum is simultaneously real and fictional place where people from somewhere, nowhere, everywhere, anywhere, elsewhere, there and here meet to think, talk, make, play and do.
It is a haptic, moveable, portable, playful, handmade, often instant, personal, responsive, international, ephemeral, granular museum.
In collaboration with Art Guard TheSaturdayMuseum is currently running an experiment into what we can do with an ex Greek Cypriot working man’s club (Varosi) in Palmers Green. It has been open for twelve weeks we (Lucy & George) are currently working with Jack, Andy, George, Laura, Michalis, Hari, Anna, Ivan, Hugh, Filipe, Catherine, Jess, Zoe, Alaena, Gary, Tara and Bernardo. We are a group of people/ artists based locally nationally and internationally. We are committed to making use of this temporary space so people can collide and exchange actually and online. Varosi is for worldwide use.
Our current F L O W (film, lecture, workshop, other) is Antennae. Our future F L O W is Octopoda. Our past but ongoing F L O W ’s are Spiral and Fortune.

Emma is a practice led PhD candidate at the University of Leeds, researching the role of the director in participative practice. Always participation appeared accompanied by concerns of the ‘ethical’. These concerns have subsequently informed an exploration of emergent ethics within participative engagement. As a result she is exploring Fischer-Lichte’s event aesthetics through participative invitation; developing projects that seek to play with (the aesthetics of) ethics via immanence and emergence. Emma trained as an artistic director at Dartington College of Arts & the University of East Anglia. She has 25+ years of directorial practice, largely participatory, in small-scale & regional theatre in Britain including New Perspectives Theatre Co, Yorkshire Women Theatre, Blaize, Mind The Gap, Contact Theatre, The Crucible, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Oldham Coliseum and Wakefield Theatre Royal. Most recently she was a lecturer in Performance at University Campus Oldham.

Emma Gee

is Artistic Director of The Other Way Works. She develops original concepts for new projects and productions, and leads multidisciplinary teams in the practical realisation of these. Her particular area of interest is the emerging frontier where theatre meets new technologies. She is always on a quest to provide magical and bespoke experiences for ever more sophisticated audiences. Katie is a 2017 BOM (Birmingham Open Media) Fellow and a Resident of Watershed Bristol's Pervasive Media Studio, and was the winner of the Hello Culture Award in 2014.

The Other Way Works creates playful theatre that immerses our audiences in the story. The intimate scenarios we create allow our audiences to explore places and perspectives anew, provoking them to change the way they see the world.
We are at the leading edge of a new wave of theatre makers re-inventing the way people engage with culture, using real world spaces and emerging technologies. Our work integrates games, technology and immersive experiences with site-specific theatre.

Samuel is a PhD researcher at the University of Leeds School of Performance and Cultural Industries. His work focuses on the ways applied theatre practitioners and artists work alongside refugees, refugees seeking asylum, and forced migrants, asking questions about representation. He has worked closely with a developing partnership between the School of Education, a number of charities, and Faceless Arts - most recently as a project manager and researcher on LSSI funded project Migration and Settlement: Extending the Welcome. An article, by Samuel McKay and Jessica Bradley, detailing this partnership and its development of coproductive arts research methodologies will be published this August in a special edition of Arts and Communities in partnership with Amnesty International. Samuel is a community arts practitioner, theatre maker and producer, working with Chol Theatre in Huddersfield for a number of years, Front Room Productions in Leeds, and making his own work under the banner of Pockets Theatre.

is a composer and sound artist working in the North of England. His work is typified by large, complex textures and sound collages using field recordings, heavily treated guitars, acoustic instruments and antique analogue synthesisers. His performances combine video, immersive surround sound, video, live musicians and electronics. He is interested in collaborative work in theatre, performance art and video. Ben has performed at festivals and concerts across Europe and the USA and released music on record labels Time Released Sound (USA), The Centrifuge and This Is Music.

Alison’s research project at PCI has the working title ‘Know your Place’. This is an investigation of performance that asserts site specificity, and into how we come to know both the ‘place’ itself, and ours within it. She is particularly interested in the potential of site specific performance as a transformative exchange between artists and audience. She aims to explore how the developing fields of practice and critical reflection relate to both of these, and also to formal developments in performance and to cultural policy. Through practice, she is exploring site specific performance as an exchange of hospitality.

Xristina is a performance practitioner and a doctoral researcher (Practice Research) exploring the intersections between scenography, participatory performance, and human cognition at the University of Leeds (PCI). Her research has emerged from her interest in the links between the making of our worldviews and the making of the stage. She uses a methodological tool brought into her research from her performance design and practice background: the contraption. She situates the notion of consciousness as contraption in the centre of her ‘arts praxis’, and uses it as a critical practice tool for generating participatory encounters between space, materials, and audience, and also as a way of conceptualising these participatory encounters, and processes. This scenographic participation is further analysed using embodiment, the socially collaborative, culturally situated and ecologically extended nature of human cognition. As artistic director of the aswespeakproject, Xristina collaborates with performance, visual and sonic artists to create performance and installation work in theatres and found spaces internationally: Currents 2013, New Mexico, USA; The Bluecoat, Liverpool (2013); The Round House, London (2011); The Benaki Museum, Athens, Greece (2010). She has contributed to international academic conferences and symposia in the field of performance and cognition such as the CogHumanities2016, AISB 2016 and 2015, IFTR 2015, ISTR 2014, OISTAT.