Architect and author Marwa Al-Sabouni and choreographer Charlotte Spencer discuss how the disciplines of architecture and choreography meet, and how their interests in public spaces, social boundaries and ethics relate to each other. This talk was delivered in a hybrid format with Marwa joining online from Homs, Syria and Charlotte in the Lilian Baylis studio at Sadler’s Wells, London.
To watch the video with closed captions, click CC on the bottom right of the screen.
Dance, Intimacy and the Civic is a series of conversations by creative practitioners, focusing on potency of dance within the personal entanglements, and social and public space. Part of a wider research strand, it focuses on the place of dance in public life. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the series also asks how dance can enable social cohesion and repair. The series is produced in partnership with Sadler’s Wells and University of Roehampton.
Dr. Marwa Al-Sabouni is an award-winning architect, author and international speaker based in Syria. She is the author of the internationally acclaimed book The Battle for Home (2016), a ‘visionary memoir’ (Observer) of a female architect in war-torn Syria, and Building for Hope (2021), in which she explores how cities and buildings might be rebuilt in the aftermath of conflict, crisis or financial depression.
Al-Sabouni is a Fellow at Ralston College (USA), has given talks for TED, Sydney Opera House, and the World Economic Forum and been published in RIBA Journal, Architectural Review, Financial Times, Standpoint Magazine, ICRC Journal among others. She runs a private studio with her partner in their city Homs and is co-founder of Arch-news, the world’s first and only website dedicated to architectural news in Arabic and the winner of Royal Kuwaiti award for best media project in the Arab World 2010.
Charlotte Spencer is a choreographer, teacher, curator, mentor, performer. Her artistic practice is motivated by interests to engage with social and ecological questions and to find ways to express those enquiries through intimate live encounters with audiences. She often makes work for outdoor spaces, inviting people to re-encounter their bodies and their environments through action and participation. Her making processes are deeply collaborative, involving long immersive residency periods which have included 3000 Km cycle rides and building camps in forests.
Spencer is perhaps best known for her performances through headphones: Is this a Waste Land? (2017), made for vast disused urban spaces and Walking Stories (2013), a group audio walk in parks.
Spencer is currently working on a book, a performance for theatres and a short film. Current commissioning and presentation partners include Sadler’s Wells, The Place, Siobhan Davies Studios, Bonnie Bird Choreography Fund, Wellcome Collection, Brighton Festival and South East Dance.