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Dwelling-a-practice 3

Shared Research Projects

Cultivating Collaboration Mini Conference

Dr Sara Giddens and Ruth Spencer (both from Dance Performance & Teaching in the School of Journalism, Media & performance) have been collaborating with Dr Jo Guiver (Institute of Transport and Tourism), PhD student, Justyna Urbanczyk (from Engineering) and Hannah Tongue (Associate Artist and UCLanDance Programme Assistant from Dance Performance & Teaching). Together they have been employing that which Heidegger names as “attentive dwelling” (1978:150), in order to reflect upon how creating spaces for slow-ing and still-ing, with regard to pedagogy and research, might inform and empower ways of working collaboratively, and help us to engage in a useful and meaningful dialoguing process.

The collaborative team presented a research workshop at the Cultivating Collaboration Mini Conference in December 2017 that invited participants to engage in some of the processes that the team have been employing in order to begin to explore how a shift in our modus operandii might enrich and deepen our relationships and teaching.

This work has been part of a Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) award in June 2017.

Heidegger, M., 1978 (first published in 1956). The Origin of the Work of Art. In: D. Farrell Krell, ed. Basic Writings. London: Routledge.

Dwellng-as-Pratice 2

Giddens, Sara, Long, Lizzie and Spencer, Ruth (2018) Employing dwelling to reconsider individual and collaborative relationships to pedagogical practice. The Journal of Dance and Somatic Practice. Intellect. Issue 10.1.


Individual Research Projects

Dr. Sara Giddens - Practice as Research



West St Dream-Walk. [Audio walk: 2016] Bodies in Flight

[Know Your Bristol, Bristol, July 4th and on-going].

Co-directed by Sara Giddens and Simon Jones with Tim Cole.


Working with the residents of Bedminster and the students of Luckwell Primary School who shared their memories and their ambitions, this audio-walk takes the participants on a journey through time along West St, in Bristol.  From its thriving past to dreams of its future, weaving together the voices of old and young residents with an original soundtrack, the West St Dream-Walk conjures up the busy commercial artery that was West St, before stepping on into the future to the hopes and dreams of the younger residents of Bedminster.


Duration: 30 minutes. Distance: 0.5 mile. Commissioned by Know Your Bristol On the Move.

Made by Bodies in Flight: Sara Giddens (direction), Neil Johnson (sound artist & music), Simon Jones (direction & narration). Narrator: Tom Wainwright.


Giddens, Sara and Jones, Simon (2015) From Work to Play: making Bodies in Flight's performance walk Dream-work. In: Nancy Duxbury, WF Garrett-Petts, David MacLennan (eds) Cultural Mapping as Cultural Enquiry. Routledge, London, pp. 303-318. 

ISBN 1138821866

Dream-walk. [Live performance: 2014] Bodies in Flight

Choreographed and co-directed by Sara Giddens, written and co-directed by Simon Jones,  performed by Polly Frame and Tim Atack.

[Connected Communities Festival, Cardiff, 2nd July].


Responding to the Connected Communities Festival’s themes of engagement with place and space, this version of Dream-walk was sited in the central retail district of Cardiff and marked a significant moment, occurring exactly thirty years since the Miners’ Strike (1984-5). Dream-Walk in Cardiff, formed part of our on-going exploration of how layers of history are sedimented into a specific location by not only its built environment, but also its inhabitants’ everyday use of buildings and streets.


Through interviews with and readings by members of the Butetown Riverside Grangetown Communities First Group, the project also contribute to our on-going research into how artistic collaboration can contribute to local inhabitants’ understanding of those histories and senses of place, in Bodies in Flight’s case, by opening up spaces within the public for personal reflection and engagement.


Duration: 40 minutes.  Commissioned by the Connected Communities Festival.

Made by Bodies in Flight: Sara Giddens (direction & choreography), Neil Johnson (sound artist & music), Simon Jones (direction & text). Performed by Polly Frame and Tim Atack.


Sara Giddens and Jones, Simon (2013) Working the Middle Ground: Making Bodies in Flight's Performance Walk. In: Animation in Public Space Through the Arts: toward more sustainable communities. Almedina, Coimbra, pp. 140-160. 

ISBN 9789724053004

Dream-walk. [Live performance: 2013] Bodies in Flight

Choreographed and co-directed by Sara Giddens, written and co-directed by Simon Jones,  performed by Neil Johnson and Graeme Rose. [SO Festival, Skegness 30th June – 1st July].


Commissioned by the SO Festival.

Made to be accessible for any age group, the walk took participants through the heart of Skegness to the beautiful coastline, exploring through a sensory mix of soundscape, movement and performance the funny, intimate and sometimes profound experiences we all have when we holiday by the seaside.

Duration: 40 minutes. 

Dream-walk. [Live performance: 2011] Bodies in Flight

Choreographed and co-directed by Sara Giddens, written and co-directed by Simon Jones,  performed by Neil Johnson and Graeme Rose. [Wirksworth].

Commissioned by the Wirksworth Festival.



Most recent outputs include a range of site-specific ambulant dance/performance works, that challenge themes of artistic and community engagement with people, place and space. Still Moving: Moving Still, was the first piece of choreography to be commissioned and presented in the gallery spaces and walk-ways of The International Arts Centre, Nottingham Contemporary (2013). Still moving was developed from an earlier (2012) performance and accompanying 3 week installation made for Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol, as part of a major AHRC funded project, Performing Documents.

Still Moving: Moving Still. [Live performance: 2018]

Directed and choreographed by Sara Giddens and performed by Ella Judge, Usha Mahenthiralingham, Parmjit Sagoo, Ruth Spencer, Justyna Urbanczyk, Kerstin Wellhofer and guests.

[Commissioned by DanceXchange for Birmingham’s International Festival of Dance and Performed at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire].


Still Moving: Moving Still invited spectators to bring their attention to stillness, and the process of moving towards and away from it.

This public performance of Still Moving: Moving Still emerged out of two workshops, facilitated by Sara Giddens and the company, as part of a two-day symposium entitled Stilling and Slowing: foregrounding process in performance practices, held at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire in partnership with Birmingham City University (2018).


At its heart, Still Moving: Moving Still invited spectators to slow down, take notice and ultimately to re-engage with themselves and the people and places around them.

Still-ing [Installation: 2017]

Curated and developed from practice choreographed by Sara Giddens.

Talking, Thinking, Dancing [International Centre for Choreography, Nottingham].

A seven screen installation of my research concerned with the employment of still-ing within choreography. Presented as part of a Erasmus+ funded project, Artistic Doctorates in Europe (ADiE), at The International Centre for Choreography. ADiE, is a partnership between Zodiak Centre for New Dance, Kiasma Theatre Museum and University of the Arts Helsinki (FI), Weld and Stockholm University of the Arts (SE), Dance4, The University of Chichester and Middlesex University (UK).

Duration: 90 minutes.  Commissioned by Artistic Doctorates in Europe through Erasmus+ and produced by International Centre for Choreography. Tony Judge (film-maker).

Sara Giddens (2019) Some Thoughts about Writing… for Those about to Embark on a practice-based PHD in Bacon, Jane, Rebecca Hilton, Paula Kramer, and Vida L Midgelow (eds.). 2019. Researching (in/as) Motion: A Resource Collection, Artistic Doctorates in Europe, Theatre Academy, University of the Arts, Helsinki: Nivel 10.


Online at:  


Still moving: moving still. [Live performance: 2013]

Directed and choreographed by Sara Giddens and performed by Martha King, Usha Mahenthiralingham, Jen Sumner and guests [Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham, 19th October].

Commissioned by Dance4, supported by AHRC Collaborative Doctorates Scheme.


A performance-installation that invites spectators to bring their attention to stillness, and the process of moving towards and away from it. The first dance-based piece to be made especially for Nottingham Contemporary’s spaces, Still moving: moving still employed a palette of stillnesses to invite spectators to slow down, take notice and re-engage with ourselves and the people and places around us. A piece made to be hardly noticed, to be stumbled upon and dwelt with and alongside.

Duration: 45 minutes. 

The Impossible Collaboration

Life Class (2019) marks the 30-year anniversary of my research as co-director and choreographer of Bodies in Flight and will be accompanied by a touring exhibition Flesh and Text which draws together still and moving images, alongside artefacts and commentary about the company’s work. The exhibition explores in three parts: the company’s early professional practice; the development of its research methodology working across a range of collaborations; and finally its recent work collaborating with different communities.


The Dream-Walks (Bodies in Flight) have been made and performed in Singapore (2009), Nottingham (2010), Bristol (2010), Wirksworth (2011), Skegness (2012 and 2013) and most recently as part of two AHRC funded projects, the Connected Communities programme in Cardiff (2014), and a Heritage Lottery Funded project, Know Your Bristol (2016). A 2012 commissioned project Gymnast, created in response to the London 2012 Games, was made for gymnastics clubs, theatres and galleries and alongside my gallery work Still Moving: Moving Still was taken to the British Council showcase of new works by Dance4, as part of Edinburgh Festival (2012). From June to September (2012) four short films I made as part of Gymnast, were screened daily across all 23 of the BBC’s city centre Big Screens erected for London 2012, and broadcast to a footfall of 3.4 million.

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