Last week, on July 4th, the CultureMoves team organised a hands-on workshop at C-DaRE (Coventry University) in Coventry. The workshop took the format of a LabDay and formed part of a pre-conference event of the 5th Dance and Somatic Practices (DSP) conference, which took place at C-DaRE 5th-7th of July.
The DSP conference invited somatic practitioners, dance artists and scholars from a range of subject domains to debate and share investigations in the field of somatic informed dance practices. This year’s event also marked the celebration of the 10-year anniversary of the Journal of Dance and Somatic Practices. This was an auspicious occasion which was used by the CultureMoves LabDay as a starting point for the practical tasks of the workshop.
The main focus of this hands-on LabDay was to demonstrate the first version of the tools developed within the CultureMoves project, more specifically MovesScrapbook, a digital application which allows users to collect, manage and organise own content or reusable content coming from Europeana. Using this tool it is possible to easily create scrapbooks for various purposes, e.g. for choreographers organising ideas, inspirational materials as a starting point for creating a new performance, for professors documenting the progress of students towards creative assignments, for students to support their practice and portfolio building, etc. The scrapbooks created can be both private and public, displayed on the account of the CultureMoves portal or embedded into an existing website or blog. Moreover, the visual nature of the scrapbooks make them ideal for sharing via social media.
The LabDay was organised in two distinct sessions: one in the morning with participants mainly from the academic/educational field, and an afternoon session where mainly dance educators, practitioners and artists attended. In total the LabDay was attended by a very international crowd of 21 participants from several countries (including Germany, Brasil, Hong Kong and USA). Both the morning and the afternoon session had similar set-up: following an initial welcome and introduction to the session, the participants were introduced to the CultureMoves project in general and the MovesScrapbook tools in more detail, using an interactive tutorial which explained the user journey from registration to publishing the first scrapbook. Following this, the participants had about one hour to explore the tool themselves, uploading content and creative scrapbooks. The CultureMoves team was in the room assisting the participants with any questions they had. The conversations that emerged during this period were an excellent occasion to collect unstructured qualitative feedback from the participants. Before the end of the session, the participants gathered together and were asked to answer (anonymously) a couple of questions by writing down their answers on post-it notes. The main question was “Apart from organising ideas, how else do you imagine using the Scrapbook tool?”. Other questions related to the topic of previous LabDays, like the relationship between dance, public spaces and tourism, as well as the challenges faced by artists working in site. Finally the group of participants gathered together and had a small discussion around the topics explored during the day. Afternoon participants then had the chance to stay and work with renowned somatic dance author, researcher and educator Dr. Martha Eddy, and Sandra Golding, the UK’s leading African Holistic Dance practitioner, during a movement workshop entitled “Crossing Borders Respectfully”, offering participants a chance to dialogue about working with different styles of movement, analysis and body sensing while interacting through dance and/or somatic exploration with people of different races and cultures.
The feedback received was overwhelmingly positive, with participants noting the ease of use of the tool and the many possibilities that it can provide for supporting their work. This was especially important since one of the main goals for MovesScrapbook was to be user friendly enough so that even users who are not well versed in using digital technologies well invited to use the tool. The testimonials of the users confirmed that this goal has been reached. Moreover, the feedback has informed further functionalities that could be implemented over the next few months (e.g. scrapbook visualisation options, additional content metadata editing capabilities, etc). The discussions during the event have led also to further opportunities for deploying the Scrapbook tool in the lecture studio and classroom and for further LabDays.
The two sessions were also professionally recorded by Maria Polodeanu. The video footage is now in post production. Stay tuned to find out when it will be released!