2009 VDT Space For Ideas

Space for Ideas

At The Point, Curated by Charlotte Vincent and Liz Aggiss

2009, 21 & 22 November

After seeing Double Vision and AN AUDIENCE WITH CHARLOTTE VINCENT AND LIZ AGGISS at Southampton University, Director Gregory Nash invited Charlotte and Liz to lead a research / sharing / discussion weekend for established female artists at The Point, Eastleigh on Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 November 2009.

Using the Scripted Conversation from AN AUDIENCE WITH CHARLOTTE VINCENT AND LIZ AGGISS as a starting point, the pair invited a group of female practitioners to talk about female led practice, text and visuality in performance, choreography, herstory, economy of practice, notions of beauty and confidence and what constitutes a mature approach to making work across the forms.

The group was invited to discuss how women practitioners may have preoccupations, interests and ideals of success that differ from our male counterparts, how women choose to work and in what contexts and how female artists voices are heard in the current cultural context. The weekend was used to share individual ideas, processes, thoughts and experiences.

The research weekend took place in The Point‘s new purpose-built Creation Space, which features attached residential accommodation. Participants included a core sleepover/dinner group of:

  • Charlotte Vincent (choreographer/artistic director)
    Liz Aggiss (choreographer/film maker/professor)
    Jane Mason (Choreographer)
    Ruth Ben Tovim (Dramaturg/Collaborative Artist)
    Sue Maclaine (Signer/Performer/Writer)
    Sacha Lee (Creative Producer)
    Gaby Aggis (Dancer/Choreographer)

Plus a group of South East based practicing artists who came for a four hour Saturday afternoon session:

  • Jane Watson (University Winchester – Live Art and Performance/Curator Cornershop)
    Catherine Church (Artistic Director, Platform4/theatre)
    Carrie Whittaker (Director, Lila Dance)
    Debbie Lee-Anthony (Dance Artist)
    Abi Mortimer (Director, Lila Dance)
    Detta Howe (Joint Director Mapdance/Senior Lecturer Chichester University)
    Stella Subiah (Resident Choreographer for Sankalpam Dance Institute and Productions)
    Vidya Thirunarayan (Freelance Dance Artist – South Asian dance)

The weekend was designed to be an opportunity to share stories and thoughts, methodologies and politics, to network and relax together, time to talk and time to discuss. There were no funding strings attached and no prescribed outcomes.

The weekend started with lunch on Saturday 21 November for the larger group, followed by drinks and a smaller core group having dinner Saturday evening and a Sunday morning session until 3pm. Catering and travel costs were supported by Vincent Dance Theatre.

Starting points for discussion were designed to give access to each other’s internal processes, to raise questions that stimulate discussion in order to find out more about how other people approach, analyse and develop their own practice. An opportunity to share thoughts and stories and political ideals.

Session One Sat 4.30-6pm

Why have you accepted this invitation?
What are the central questions and issues around women’s practice, context and confidence?
Is the central premise of a body as spectacle, framed in space, a ludicrous starting point for making work?
Are women celebrated for their female energy?

Session Two Sat 7.15pm – 10pm

How do you know how to start a process?
How do you start?
How do you know when to stop?
What is it like in your head when you plot and plan a piece of work /project?
Against what or who are you measuring your own success?
Do you have a career plan?
How do you remain comfortable in the choices you make as you mature?
What are your perceptions of the differences between male and female practice in your given field?
How to sell mature or middle aged work?

Session Three Sun 10am- 3pm

Members of the Core Group were invited to each bring three items that have been fundamental to the development of their own creativity and to share these with the group.

  • A piece of writing that is always somehow with you
  • An piece of music that has affected you deeply in some way
  • A photo/DVD/soundtrack of a piece of work that you have made that has become a landmark in your own practice