Torchlight Artist Programme ← Artist Development Archive ← Siobhan Davies Dance

Torchlight Artist Programme

Siobhan Davies Dance’s Torchlight Artists Programme supports dance artists and choreographers to deepen and expand their research in relation to our audiences at Siobhan Davies Studios and beyond. We offer artists one year to investigate something of urgency to their practice, which resonates with the interests of other artists or professionals in the dance field and beyond, and can engage diverse publics.

We offer space, time, and resource for new and unusual ways for artists to work, and to introduce audiences to aspects of dance and choreographic practice that inform performance works but take other forms. The artists are encouraged to undertake research through a variety of means – dialogue, reading, movement practices, making processes, whatever is most appropriate to their needs – and to share their research with audiences, colleagues and communities at Siobhan Davies Studios and elsewhere. This is a key element of our larger effort to foreground dance and choreography’s capacity for deep, wide-ranging inquiry.

Our first Torchlight Artist for 2018/19 was Katye Coe, whose investigation from her position as a dancer of the themes of surrender and the afterwards led her to meaningful encounters with many of her peers, but also with midwives, hospice workers and many others. Katye’s research and her efforts to share it with others are ongoing and have helped her to redefine her focus in a period of transition.


Our second Torchlight Artist, for 2019/20, is Jamila Johnson-Small.

The Torchlight year will give me the opportunity to focus on an evolving set of questions around the conditions of my work, reflecting on the collaborative, collective, co-led and curatorial through dancing, talking and exchange in various constellations. The research will address different simultaneous strands of my practice* that is rooted through dancing, almost always collaborative and finds me in different roles between choreographer, performer, curator, facilitator, producer, host and project manager and and and... Guests with practices, processes and interests that intersect with - or run parallel to - my own, will be invited to hold workshops, be part of conversations and cameo in various ways, to also further and share their own research.

Driven by an interest in the politics of boundaries, the mutable experience of edges, the impacts of the many cycles and systems of influence that inform bodies/minds and the overwhelm that can come from working to be sensitive to all this, I will be thinking about framing and methods for  dissemination, spending time considering and questioning ideas of ‘communication’ to support and open up conversations around practice and subjective experience that might lubricate making and moving and thinking. I will be looking at how these practices can be technologies for survival in some ways but questioning their practical use for living within existing oppressive systems. A particular interest is in how environments (living, object, concept, body, psychic) might be affected and transformed through the sharing of practices and the effect this then has on those practices and ourselves.

I will be using this time to look back at works I’ve made and practices I have been developing over recent years and use them, read them, as divining tools to discover responses to current questions in a period of ambivalence and unknowing. BASICTENSION is one specific project that holds this practice/activates this technology of allowing histories to surface through the body and through a cumulative, collective imaginary, in order to consider and reconsider systems of influence, taste and value.

Always with an interest in multiplying, widening and expanding to hold the overwhelm of simultaneous multiple realities, subjectivities and experiences - the hosted hosting hosts hosting - complicating the invitation and allowing for no single answers, no centre, no single focus, no ultimate value, no coherence, no forward or upwards trajectory just the informative navigating of shifting landscapes, atmospheres and tensions; a hope for the research methodology to embody and not only hold, the questions and curiosities of the researcher.

- Jamila Johnson-Small