This talk by Gill Clarke with Kirsty Alexander was part of the Movement and Meaning Research Lab, and was given shortly before Gill died in 2011. It offers an overview of her lifelong investigation into dance as a mode of knowledge formation, a laboratory of practice where theoretical information can be tried and tested through the body.
Gill speaks about her investigations in the social sciences which were driven by her work as a performer and teacher. She traces her own path to ‘expanding the frame’ of dance to include our perceptions and body patterning, and acknowledging that we, as humans, are ‘grounded in relationship and conversation with the environment,’ and that this relationship is one of constant movement. She references leading figures in philosophy and the social and cognitive sciences, such as Tim Ingold, Guy Claxton, Bruno Latour, Nigel Thrift, and Amartya Sen.
Gill’s interest in transdisciplinary research led to her instigation of the Movement and Meaning Research Lab (supported by PAL) in 2011. The residency fostered an exchange of ideas between leading experts from dance, music, neuroscience, philosophy of education, and psychology.
Gill Clarke studied English and Education at York University and spent her career as an independent dance artist, performer, teacher, choreographer/director and advocate. She was co-director of Independent Dance from 1996-2011.
Gill was a founding member of Siobhan Davies Dance Company and also performed and collaborated with other choreographers including Rosemary Butcher, Rosemary Lee, Janet Smith, Kate Brown and Marina Collard. Gill regarded teaching as an integral part of her artistic practice. She regularly led masterclasses and workshops internationally for students, professionals and companies, and collaborated with filmmaker Becky Edmunds on a multi-screen installation – Stones and Bones. Head of Performance Studies at LABAN from 2000-2006, she founded MA Creative Practice : Dance Professional which ID continues to lead in partnership with Trinity Laban and Siobhan Davies Studios. Gill was an Honorary Visiting Professor at University of Ulster, a joint NESTA fellow and a Trustee of Dance UK. She received a London Dance and Performance Award, the Jane Attenborough Award from One Dance UK and an MBE, which she returned in protest of the UK government’s foreign policy in Iraq.