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.
The below document was produced following Independent Dance’s 2022 Higher Education Roundtable.