The title for the 2022 online HE Roundtable, Speculative Futures: the dance HE we dream of, was based on approaches from Speculative Fiction and Speculative Futures Design that visualise new and potential worlds, moving us beyond what currently exists into what could one day.
Chaired by ID co-directors Heni Hale and Nikki Tomlinson, the session was introduced by short provocations from guest speakers Kimberley Harvey, Jason Keenan-Smith and Gillie Kleiman, inviting us to imagine how dance in Higher Education could be, and proposing a model of questioning that includes the speculations, “What if this happened?” or “What if the world were this way?” as though everything – even the ideal – were possible.
“This comes as an attempt to shift away from focusing on problems and everything that is wrong with our systems. We are conscious that circumstances in HE and dance in general are currently precarious, unsustainable, inequitable and far from ideal. The impacts of the pandemic, Brexit, and brutal cuts to an already under-resourced artistic discipline are threatening programmes that we care about, and colleagues’ livelihoods, whilst in other areas change is exactly what is required. We are aware that great solidarity and energy will be required to resist the damage and work towards positive change for our sector, and we hope that this year’s roundtable might try and flip the perceptual lens onto what we hope to see in the future through a collective imaginative exercise. Imagination being a key to change…”
Our guest speakers offered short provocations about what their ideal HE environment would be like. This will be followed by open-ended conversations in small groups that respond to and discuss each provocation. The provocations and summaries of the conversations will be noted and shared in ID’s digital library as an open resource.
The ID Roundtable is a facilitated meeting space which ID ran annually 2012-2020 and which will now run biennially. Supporting and nurturing artists who in turn teach other artists is a key part of our mission; this gathering space is intended for both salaried and visiting lecturers and artists who work in HE contexts.
Gillie Kleiman works with and in dance and choreography, creating performances, texts, events and pedagogical encounters. Gillie’s work has a persistent interest in both the figure and the activity of the non-professional, and many of her projects have involved participation of non-professional collaborators or of the audience. In 2020, Gillie initiated a new cycle of thinking and working about fat and fatness. Gillie has degrees in dance and performance, including a PhD in Dance Studies. Alongside her artistic practice, she is Head of Higher Education at Dance City, an adviser to Jerwood Arts, a Trustee of People Dancing, and external examiner at the Danish National School of Performing Arts. She is a member of the trade union UVW-DCW and is an accredited trade union representative. Gillie lives and works in Newcastle upon Tyne.
Jason Keenan-Smith is a dance artist and trained movement psychotherapist. His work as performer includes companies such as English National Opera, The Featherstonehaughs, Protein Dance, Union Dance and Walker Dance Park Music. An emerging choreographer, he has worked with The Gate Theatre, The Place Theatre and Getty Images amongst others. Currently senior lecturer at University of Chichester and Artistic Director of ThreeScoreDance, he continues to explore parity of expression and the portrayal of human experiences.
Kimberley Harvey is a freelance dance artist, choreographer, visiting lecturer and teacher. She is also Director of Candoco’s Youth Dance Company. As a professional dancer, Kimberley works predominantly in contemporary dance but also physical theatre with companies such as ThisEgg and Moxie Brawl. She has her own inclusive contemporary dance company, Subtle Kraft Co. The work is centred around relationships in their various and complex forms with connection, communication and curiosity as core elements for their artistic and working practice. Kimberley is a Trustee of Independent Dance and South East Dance.