If we are truly contemporary, our research, practice and pedagogy must respond to the now. Here are the current projects we are working on:
Anti-Racism in Education
The evidence of racism and persecution highlighted by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May 2020 demonstrated that our learning environment, pedagogy and community need to be actively anti-racist. The Contemporary Performance Practice team is committed to developing anti-racist approaches to our learning and teaching environment and curriculum and we undertook a curriculum audit in academic year 2020/21. We will annually review our pedagogy and learning materials and engage in further training and learning to develop our anti-racist practices.
The RCS Anti-Racism Action Plan is available to view.
Art and the Climate Crisis
Students and staff on the Contemporary Performance Practice programme are involved in a range of projects engaging with and responding to the climate crisis and connecting with the COP26 event in Glasgow in November 2021. A range of new works are being programmed as part of the Climate Portals project in partnership with Shared Studios, Harrison Parrot and Scottish Ballet, and supported by the British Council. Collaborations, connections and intimate performances will be taking place between Glasgow and Herat, Afghanistan, Erbil, Iraq, Kigali, Rwanda and Nakivale, Uganda. More information on all the RCS projects can be found on the RCS Green Room.
Contemporary Performance in Higher Education Network
In December 2020, the Contemporary Performance Practice team (led by Josh Armstrong) curated Nexus #1 IN/ACTION, an international event over three days including: collegiate panel and roundtable discussions; invited keynote speakers; sharings of practice, presentations and papers; student/graduate panel discussions; networking and collaboration opportunities; and performative moments from students or staff. Nexus #1, was also the inaugural meeting of the Contemporary Performance in Higher Education Network, which aims to bring together academics and practitioners from international Higher Education Institutions engaged in the education, research and practice of contemporary performance in its multiplicities. In academic year 2021/22, we will continue to develop and grow the network to ask questions about what our art practices and educational processes need to be responding to now.
Our practice-based research/research creation approach makes us distinct in the sector – this is a unique offering of our programme and we are further embedding research skills and an understanding of research as the act of making art. The Contemporary Performance Practice team is actively researching the following topics related to their teaching on the programme: performance research, social practice, ecology and performance, postmodern approaches to multisensory experiences in performance, rewilding performance, chronic pain and performance in the pandemic.
The team has co-authored an article “Training Artists in Times of Crisis” in Performance Research 25.8 Training Utopias which you can read online.
The CPP staff team will present a performance lecture on their research on approaches to interdisciplinarity at an RCS Exchange Talk on the 22 November 2021 and will also collaboratively present at the ELIA event on the Extended Art Student on 1 December 2021.
Developing Digital Performance
After the success of Propel: A Festival of Digital Performance in June 2020, and our hybrid festival in 2021, Propel: A Digital Festival of Performance, we launched a new short course Creating Contemporary Performance for Digital Platforms and also introduced an online version of the Arts in Prisons module in academic year 2021/22. Now that we can work both live and digitally, we will continue to explore the possibilities of hybrid performance interrogating questions of what it is to work on and with the body at this time.
Developing Graduate Opportunities
Graduate Pathways, a publication documenting the opportunities the programme offers graduating artists was published in December 2020. These include professional opportunities and residencies with Artsadmin, Cove Park, Jupiter Artland and the RCS Archives and Collections; pathways into postgraduate study, RCS-wide opportunities, and graduate stories.
New opportunities have been developed for 2021 graduates including a partnership with Scotland and Venice to attend the Venice Biennale for a month in April 2022 (supported by RKE), two degree shows being programmed for Tramway TV and work opportunities with Origins Young Company and on Climate Portals.
2020 graduate Minnie Crook was the first graduate to undertake the Archives and Collections residency and the first recipient of the Cove Park Graduate Residency was 2021 graduate Sally Charlton.
Developing Partnerships and Collaborations
The Contemporary Performance Practice team is working to build partnerships with organisations within Glasgow, Scotland and beyond. We are currently developing collaborations with festivals and a number of initiatives to support students and graduates of the programme. If you would like to work with us then please do get in touch with Head Dr Vania Gala – we are particularly interested in developing collaborations with international and European arts organisations and networks.