ODD 2 Speaker Biographies

Here is a short introduction to all the presenters taking part in Our Dance Democracy 2 taking place 11th and 12th February 2021.

Victor Merriman

Victor Merriman is Professor of Critical Studies in Drama at Edge Hill University. He is Director of the Performance and Civic Futures Research Group (2013-), and a founder director of One Hour Theatre Company (2016-). He publishes on Irish theatre, postcolonial criticism, public policy, pedagogy, and cultural theory. He has published two monographs, Because We Are Poor: Irish Theatre in the 1990s (Carysfort Press, 2011), and Austerity and the Public Role of Drama: Performing Lives-in-Common (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019). He has edited special issues of the on-line journal Kritika Kultura (http://journals.ateneo.edu/ojs/kk; Issues 14; 15 (2010); 21/22 (2013), and co-edited ‘Cultural Responses to Crises in Urban Democracy’ (30: 2018)). He was appointed a member of An Chomhairle Ealaíon/The Arts Council of Ireland, by Michael D Higgins, now in his second term as President of Ireland. In that capacity, Professor Merriman chaired the Review of Theatre in Ireland (1995-6). He is a member of the international advisory boards of Unitas, Perspectives in the Arts and Humanities Asia, and the British Association for Irish Studies. He has credits as a performer, director and dramaturg, including David Lloyd’s The Press, performed at the University of Ateneo de Manila, in July 2009.

Vicky Hunter

Vicky Hunter is a Practitioner-Researcher and Reader in Site Dance at the University of Chichester. Her edited volume Moving Sites: Investigating Site-Specific Dance Performance was published by Routledge in 2015 and she is co author of (Re) Positioning Site-Dance (Intellect 2019) with Melanie Kloetzel (Canada) and Karen Barbour (New Zealand) exploring regionally based site-dance practice in relation to global socio-economic, political and ecological themes through a range of interdisciplinary perspectives including; feminist scholarship, human geography, neoliberalism and New Materialist discourses.


Susanne Foellmer

Susanne is Associate Professor in Dance at Coventry University, Centre for Dance Research (C-DaRE). Main research areas embrace aesthetic theory and concepts of the body in contemporary dance, performance, and in the Weimar Era, relationships between dance and ‘other’ media, politicality and historicity (remnants) of dance and performance. She also has been working as a dramaturge and academic consultant for Helena Botto, Isabelle Schad, Meg Stuart, and Jeremy Wade, a.o. Recent publications in the realm of choreography and protest include: S. Foellmer: Media Practices, Social Movements, and Performativity (ed., with M. Lünenborg/Ch. Raetzsch), Abingdon: Routledge 2018; S. Foellmer: “Choreography as a Medium of Protest.” In: Dance Research Journal 48(3) 2016, pp. 58-69 (open access). 

Recent publications in the realm of choreography and protest include:

S. Foellmer: Media Practices, Social Movements, and Performativity (ed., with M. Lünenborg/Ch. Raetzsch), Abingdon: Routledge 2018; S. Foellmer: “(Pre-)Enacting Resistance? Protest and the Means of Staging.” In: A. Czirak, S. Nikoleit, F. Oberkrome, et.al. (eds.), Performance zwischen den Zeiten. Reenactments und Preenactments in Kunst und Wissenschaft (Performing Between Times. Re-enactments and Pre-enactments in Arts and Academia). Bielefeld: transcript 2019, pp. 141-157; S. Foellmer: “Choreography as a Medium of Protest.” In: Dance Research Journal 48(3) 2016, pp. 58-69 (open access). And forthcoming: S. Foellmer: On Remnants and Vestiges. Negotiating Persistence and Ephemerality in the Performing Arts. Abingdon: Routledge (2021).

Photo credit: Studio Menarc.

Michael Douglas Kollektiv

Michael Maurissens and Douglas Bateman founded the Michael Douglas Kollektiv in Cologne in 2009 and focus on research and collaborative art production and the development of collective creation methods in the performance context. By means of an independent and responsible structure, the collective faces the challenges of its artistic decisions, such as working as a non-hierarchical structure, reducing the usual temporal parameters for artistic process development (One Week Stand), and advancing a dialogue and fostering exchange at the interfaces to disciplines and themes such as communication, architecture, sociology, psychology, and conflict resolution.

Michael Maurissens

Michael Maurissens is a dance and media artist based in Cologne, Germany. Michael was born and began his dance training in Brussels he later studied at the Heinz-Bosl-Stiftung in Munich and the Swiss Professional Ballet school in Zurich (with the precious support of the Pierino Ambrosoli Foundation). He joined the Ballet Nürnberg/Tanzwerk Nürnberg in his 20′s and from 1997 until 2004 was a member of Amanda Miller’s ensemble Pretty Ugly. In 2004 he moved to Kevin O’Day Ballet at the National Theater Manheim and from 2006 until 2009 he danced with pretty ugly tanz köln. In collaboration with pretty ugly tanz köln, Michael directed and created a new performance concept “One Week Stand” a performance research project where artists realize collectively a performance in a week.

He is founding member and co-artistic director of the MichaelDouglas Kollektiv, an unique dancers collective that breaks from the standard form of choreographer-led groups within the German dance scene and produces innovative works investigating collaborative creation process.

Douglas Bateman

Douglas Bateman (UK/DE) is an independent dance artist based in Cologne. He started his training with Sylvia Bebb, and graduated from the London Studio Center. He worked with various companies in Europe, such as the London City Ballet, Scapino Ballet Rotterdam and Pretty Ugly Tanz Köln. In 2007 he started freelancing and collaborated with (amongst others) Tony Rizzi for the following ten years. In 2009 he co-founded and continues to co-direct the MichaelDouglas Kollektiv.

As a creator his interest lies in the presence of embedded biographies. he has developed danced city tours and the transmedia performance character Shirley Not He teaches the seminars “Professional networks” and “movement research” at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz, Köln (ZZT) and is also one of the speakers for the independent dance scene in Cologne.

Dana Caspersen

Dana Caspersen has an MS in Conflict Studies and Mediation, an MFA in Dance and has received several international awards for creative achievement. Her book Changing the Conversation: The 17 Principles of Conflict Resolution has been translated into 8 languages and is widely used as a training tool by organizations, schools and individuals worldwide. In her work integrating conflict engagement strategies with choreographic methodologies, she has designed numerous large-scale public dialogue models addressing topics such as immigration, racism and violence, bringing together thousands of people from diverse communities across the world– from a refugee camp in Berlin to Lincoln Center’s Global Exchange conference in New York City.

During over 30 years as an award-winning performing artist, she has authored, performed and toured works worldwide— principally as a primary collaborator of choreographer William Forsythe and a member of the renowned ensembles Ballet Frankfurt and The Forsythe Company. This practice of developing agile physical and mental response strategies in complex environments as a dance thinker has also shaped her understanding of conflict as vehicle for transformation and positive change.

Rosemary Lee

Choreographer Rosemary Lee works in a variety of contexts and media, including large-scale site-specific works with cross generational casts. Her work is characterised by an interest in creating a moving portraiture of the performing communities she gathers. Rosemary is a Senior Research Fellow – C-DaRE, Coventry University, and an Affiliate Work Place artists her work is produced by Artsadmin.

Professor Thomas F Defrantz

Choreographer, dancer, and scholar Thomas F. DeFrantz has a joint appointment as Professor in the dance program and African and African American Studies department at Duke University. His first book, entitled Dancing Many Drums: Excavations in African American Dance for the SDHS series Studies in Dance History, won the Erroll Hill Award for Research in Black Theater. His second book was the riveting Revelations: Alvin Ailey’s Embodiment of African American Culture, and his widely cited articles and essays on the black body in dance constitute some of the most exciting work in the area today. He served as archivist for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and organized the dance history program at the Ailey school for many years. Creatively, he has created music for the Dance Theatre of Harlem, choreographed the play for young people Paul Robeson, All-American, written by Ossie Davis, and collaborated with Ballet Hispanico on Border Crossings. For years he was also active with the Theater Offensive of Boston, who produced his original musical play, Queer Theory: An Academic Travesty. The intersection of academic work and dance practice also manifests itself in his role as founder and artistic director of artistic director of SLIPPAGE: Performance|Culture|Technology. DeFrantz is a founding member of the Collegium for African Diaspora Dance.

Sharon Watson DL

After studying at London Contemporary Dance School, Sharon graduated from the BPA (Hons) in Contemporary Dance at NSCD in 1997. Sharon Watson is the fourth Principal of the Northern School of Contemporary Dance. Prior to this she was the longest-standing Artistic Director of Phoenix Dance Theatre. Her journey with the company began when she was one of the first female Principal Dancers invited to join the all-male award-winning company, touring from 1989 to 1997 and choreographing Never Still and Shaded Limits. Having left Phoenix to pursue a number of other ventures including setting up her own company ABCD, Sharon returned in 2009 as the new Artistic Director. Sharon choreographed numerous works for the company including the celebrated Windrush: Movement of the People and Black Waters. In November 2020, Sharon was appointed as a Deputy Lieutenant of West Yorkshire.

Michelle Man MA

Michelle Man MA, FHEA is Senior Lecturer in Dance at Edge Hill University having been based in Madrid between 1989-2012 where she developed her career as a dancer, choreographer and pedagogue. Her teaching practice has spanned over thirty years and across a range of professional, institutional and community contexts in Europe, UK and South America. Her choreographic work has been seen in Brazil, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Italy, Korea, Spain, Sweden and the UK, in both theatre and site-sensitive contexts. Man fosters interdisciplinary performance environments, working with architects, composers, designers, musicians and circus artists. She has published with Vernon and Routledge and is currently a PhD Researcher at University of Surrey with the thesis ‘Light and the Choreographic: dancing with Tungsten’ under the supervision of Dr Rachel Hann and Dr Adam Alston.


Thea Stanton

Thea Stanton is an indigenous Chilean British researcher, choreographer and teacher. She is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Chichester where she is exploring the notion of an immersive choreographic practice.

With her collective Spun Through Shadows, she has produced and choreographed large scale immersive events at The Royal Academy of Arts, TripSpace Projects and the Royal College of Music. She has presented work at Turner Contemporary, The Place, Spontaneous Combustion, Walmer Yard and Edinburgh Fringe. Most recently she has also collaborated with Architects Stanton Williams on a site responsive work for Milan Design Week.

In addition to working part time at the Independent Theatre Council as their Communications & Advocacy Manager, Thea has lectured and delivered workshops on her immersive practice and arts advocacy work at Trinity Laban, Chichester University, Arts University Bournemouth, Goldsmiths University, Edinburgh Fringe/Fringe Central and for Northern Stage’s emerging artist festival ‘NORTH’.

Instagram: @thea_tre


Rosa Kostic Cisneros

Rosemary (Rosa) Kostic Cisneros is a researcher, dancer, choreographer, sociologist and curator who is a research fellow at the Centre for Dance Research (Coventry University) and works closely with the RomArchive and many NGOs. She is involved in various EU-funded projects which aim to make education and arts accessible to vulnerable groups and ethnic minorities, and part of cultural heritage projects that bring dance, site and digital technologies together. Her PhD is in Sociology with a focus on Roma women, intersectionality, dialogic feminism and communicative methodologies and was awarded Summa Cum Laude. She has started her own production company, RosaSenCis Film Production Co., which worked on the Society for Dance Research Oral History Project and also ran the Dancing Bodies in Coventry project. Cisneros’ dance films have screened in the UK, US, Colombia, Mexico, Greece, Cyprus and Germany and her medium-length documentary won best documentary from the UK in 2016. She has also managed major EU-Funded projects and local City of Culture Partnership projects. She sits on academic Journals as an editorial assistant and those include the Journal for Embodied Practices, International Journal of Romani Studies and OneDance UK’s HOTFOOT Online magazine.

ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8169-0642

University Profile: https://pureportal.coventry.ac.uk/en/persons/rosamaria-kostic-cisneros

​Photo credit: Haluk Sengun


Bisakha Sarker MBE

Bisakha is a dance artist and the artistic director of Chaturangan an Arts organisation engaged in a diverse range of creative activities to raise the profile of South Asian dance in UK. She is a performer, producer, choreographer, researcher, educationalist, writer and film maker.

Her company has organised a number of landmark national and international dance conferences establishing a new style of artist-led conference programming.

​She is a Churchill fellow and one of the Artists featured in Baring Foundation’s recent publication “Artist in our time”.

Dr. Elena Marchevska

Dr Elena Marchevska is an Associate Professor of Performance Studies in the School of Arts and Creative Industries, and the School’s Director of Postgraduate Research. She works on performance and migration as researcher and performance practitioner. She is predominantly interested in a the relationship between performance, politics of migration and environmental cultural studies. Her academic work is rooted in her lived experience and she often uses auto-ethnography and practice as research methodologies as part of her writing and teaching. For over a decade, she is working on researching maternal performance and children in performance. In relation to motherhood, she recently co-edited, with Valerie Walkerdine, The Maternal in Creative Work: Intergenerational Discussions on Motherhood and Art, Routledge, 2020.

Wendy Houstoun

Wendy Houstoun is a movement/theatre artist who remains committed to finding new forms to address her themes. Over the years, her work has developed a uniquely distinctive style that combines movement with text, and meaning with humour.

Since 1980, Wendy has worked extensively as a solo performer, and in collaboration with companies and artists whose work challenges, enriches and extends the boundaries of dance and theatre. Her work with DV8 Physical Theatre, Tim Etchells and Forced Entertainment, film maker David Hinton, Jonathan Burrows and Matteo Fargion, Nigel Charnock, performance artist Rose English, Lumiere and Son Theatre and Ludus Dance Company has explored large and small stages, specific sites, film and installation.

Alexandrina Hemsley: Choreographer, dancer, writer and facilitator

Alexandrina has recently founded her own organisation Yewande 103. Yewande 103 formalises the past 10+ years of Creative Director Alexandrina Hemsley’s work in the contemporary dance field as a choreographer, performer, writer, mentor and educator.

Alexandrina Hemsley’s practice is shaped by the morphing disciplines of dance, dance for camera, live art, theatre, mentoring, creative and critical writing. Driven by an interest in fracturing, connectivity, displacement & emotionality, they hope to find and share ways of expressing felt, lived realities. They work with intricate improvisation scores and vivid performance environments which insist on conjuring embodied enquiries into a multiplicity of voices. This includes work within organisations around anti-racism, anti-ableism and embodied advocacy. It is a life-long, nuanced undertaking. Alexandrina is Associate Artist at Cambridge Junction, Board Member of Chisenhale Dance Space and International Associate Artist 2020/21 at Dance Ireland.

Liz Lea

Liz is based in Canberra after 20 years in Europe, touring internationally. Liz’s speciality is working with classical Indian dance and martial arts. She has worked with Ranjabati Sircar, Mavin Khoo, the Royal Opera House and English Bach Festival. She has been commissioned in India, UK, Australia, South Africa, Singapore and USA.

Liz Lea Dance works include ‘tala rasa Hellas and back’, ‘REflect’ in collaboration with Marie Gabrielle Rotie and ‘Livid’. Liz toured ‘120 Birds’ inspired by Anna Pavlova’s world tours, to Australia and the UK in 2010/12. She has since created ‘InFlight’ inspired by early aviation and ‘Magnificus Magnificus’ inspired by the red-tailed black cockatoo for Indigenous dancer Tammi Gissell. A duet with Bobby Singh titled ‘Kapture’ was inspired by the South African freedom fighter, Ahmed Kathrada.

Liz’s next company work, ‘Bindu’, is due to premier in 2021 in Canberra. Bindu explores the notion of connections between all people’s and the singular point from which we all explore and evolve. The work will include a company of 6 professional dancers from Australia and Singapore and a company of older performers along with musicians and dancers living with intellectual disabilities.

Hanna Cormick

Hanna Cormick is a performance artist, theatre-maker and curator, with a background in physical theatre, dance, circus and interdisciplinary art. Cormick’s practice has spanned many genres and continents over twenty years, including as a founding member of Australian interdisciplinary art-science group Last Man To Die, one half of Parisian cirque-cabaret duo Les Douleurs Exquises, and as a mask artist in France and Indonesia. She is a graduate of Ecole Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq (Paris), Charles Sturt University’s Acting degree, NIDA’s Young Actor’s Studio, Ecole des Arts Chinois du Spectacle (Paris) and has trained with The Grotowski Center (ARTA, Paris), Pan Théâtre/Roy Hart Centre (Malerargues), and Per Brahe (Bali). Her recent work centres around disability activism and includes The Mermaid (2018 Art, Not Apart; 2018 Ainslie+Gorman; 2020 Sydney Festival), Canary (2019-2020 worldwide locations for Climate Change Theatre Action), Little Monsters (2019 Art, Not Apart), Theatre & Plagues (2020 online), the current work-in-progress theatre work Zebracorn, and as co-curator of Eastern Riverina Arts’ online disability arts festival Platform LIVE (2020). In 2018 she was a finalist for the National Award for Disability Leadership (Arts) and the ACT Chief Minister’s Inclusion Award (Young Leader). Her current practice is a reclamation of body through radical visibility.

Tammi Gissell

Tammi Gissell is a dancer, performance artist and choreographer as well as being a published poetess and performance theorist. She has toured remotely, regionally, nationally and internationally in a range of performance genres over the past 24 years.She holds a Bachelor of Performance: Theory and Practice from the University of Western Sydney (UWS) and graduated Deans’ Medallist and Reconciliation Scholar in 2005. From 2007 – 2011 Tammi was Course Coordinator at the National Aboriginal and Islander Skills Association (NAISDA Dance College) In 2010 Tammi presented her research paper ‘Dancing the Dreaming: Temporality and Contemporary-Indigenous Dance at the World Dance Alliance Global Dance Event held in New York City. In 2011, she was commissioned to write ‘A Powerful Pride: Reflections upon dance and performance of the Torres Strait Islands’ for THE TORRES STRAIT, a reference book to accompany the 2011 ‘AWAKENING’ season and celebration of Torres Strait Islander culture; held in conjunction with Queensland Museum, Queensland Performing Arts Centre and the Art Gallery of Queensland. Tammi has taught, lectured or held residency at the Queensland University of Technology, Victorian College of the Arts (Wilin Centre), University of Newcastle, NAISDA Dance College, Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts (ACPA), The McDonald College, Quantum Leap (QL2), Canberra Dance Theatre, National Institute for Youth Performing Arts and National Youth Dance Theatre. She has sat on the Australian Tertiary Dance Council, the BlakDance First Nations Dance Panel and the National Dance Forum and completed choreographic commissions for OCHRE Dance Company, Canberra Dance Theatre and delivered lectures to the DanScience Festival in Canberra. Tammi took up the role of Education Coordinator/Artist with The New Zealand Dance Company in 2017. She is currently overseeing the relocation of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander collection of materials from the Museum of Applied Sciences to its new home in the Parramatta Powerhouse.

Patricia Carolin Mai

Patricia Carolin Mai has her main production location at Kampnagel and K3 – Zentrum für Choreographie | Tanzplan Hamburg. She studied dance at the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp, the SNDO Amsterdam as well as the Master of Performance Studies at the University of Hamburg.

The examination of the body as a central link for memories marks the centre of her choreographic work. With her long-term research she is working on “bodies in states of emergency”. After Ready to snap (2016) and BALGAN BODY (2018) she explores 2019 in HAMONIM (Hebrew for “what moves the masses”) the mechanisms of protection for a community and what is necessary for an individual to survive in a group. 70 dance enthusiasts create a stage community that dissects the parameters of togetherness and practices a critical stance towards the masses. In the summer of 2019, she follows the invitation of the Ninety9 Art Company to Seoul. With her group piece GAL-GAL she focuses on the self-empowerment of women in Korean society. In 2020 she is working on the twelve month solo self-experiment KONTROL to explore the limits of her physical capacity and metamorphosis, questioning cultural norms of body and gender. Patricia Carolin Mai has recently received Hamburg’s concept funding until 2023. With the trilogy INTEAM she will continue her work (together with K3 │ Tanzplan Hamburg and the local dance community) about practices of community.

Yinka Graves

Yinka is a British flamenco dance artist whose work increasingly explores the links between flamenco and diasporic forms of expression. A journey that has taken her from ballet as a young girl and afro-cuban dancing to studying Flamenco in Spain for over 10 years in the world renouned school Amor de Dios in Madrid and later Seville. Yinka’s maestros include La Lupi, Manuel Reyes and Juana Amaya amongst others. Graves also has a first-class degree in Art History (Sussex-2005).

Having performed extensively in both the UK and Spain Yinka co-founded contemporary flamenco company dotdotdot dance in 2014. Most notably the company presented Yinka’s work I come to my body as a question, a reimagined Guajira with spoken word artist Toni Stuart, in SAMPLED 2017 at Sadler’s Wells and The Lowry, following their Wild Card at the Lilian Baylis.

In 2015 Yinka began a collaborative creation with former principal Alvin Ailey dancer Asha Thomas: CLAY, this work has participated in various European festivals including Dance Umbrella’s ‘Out of the System’ in 2017 (UK). Yinka was also featured in Miguel Angel Rosales’ documentary film: Gurumbé: Canciones de tu Memoria Negra (2016) the first Spanish film to highlight the influence its African population had on Spanish culture, particularly Flamenco. Yinka has subsequently performed alongside the film on its tours to the US, Africa, Latin America and Europe. Yinka is currently involved in two major productions Chloé Brulé and Marco Vargas’ Cuerpos Celestes and Dorothée Munyaneza’s latest work Mailles. Graves is also developing her first solo work The Disappearing Act. (2021)

Melissandre Varin

‘Relation, displacement, multiplicity, identity, interdependency, and language emerge from melissandre’s work. Making from an Afro and Caribbean diasporic context, melissandre add layers of complexity using a decolonial feminism to address power ‘in balance’. Through poetic performance arts, moving image assemblages, and site-specific installations – among other things – melissandre interrogate how the encounter between marginalised bodies, everyday materials, and institutional spaces transgresses the norm.

melissandre co-parent Eole now 2years old in a cohousing project. melissandre currently work on a pro-Black arts and library space, prepare transnational afrofeminist performances, are an editor Studies in Theatre and Performance and seat at Coventry Artspace board of trustees.’

Dylan Quinn

Dylan Quinn and has been working as a Choreographer, Dance Artist, performer and facilitator for over 26 years. In 2009 he established Dylan Quinn Dance Theatre (DQDT) and has operated as Artistic Director for the last 11 years. Dylan has created numerous company performances and commissioned works for a range of dance and theatre companies and was Irish Times Theatre Award Nominee 2018. Dylan’s work has been presented nationally and internationally across Europe and the US.

Dylan has performed and undertaken a wide range of community and education projects across the UK, Ireland and Internationally. He has development a particular focus on creating work that explores the context around the border in Ireland, i’s impact and highlighting the experiences of these living in border communities. He has undertaken a range on innovation projects involving performances on the border in live and film formats.

Dylan has been instrumental in initiating the We Deserve Better social engagement movement in Northern Ireland, highlighting the inadequacies of the political system. As a development of the movement he has established the Conversations NI platform, engaging people from a range of backgrounds in conversations that are important to them and to their community.

Emily Snow

Emily Snow is Project Coordinator and Research Assistant for Leeds Dance Partnership/Leeds Beckett University. She has an MA in Choreography from Leeds Beckett University and is actively engaged in the dance community of Leeds and beyond. In 2020 she received Arts Council England National Lottery Emergency Response Funding to support the development of ‘That Dance Talk’, a blog and online learning platform designed to open up and share conversations around access and guidance to form a career in Dance (https://www.thatdancetalk.co.uk/).


Laura Griffiths

Dr Laura Griffiths is Senior Lecturer in Dance in the Leeds School of Arts at Leeds Beckett University. Laura’s research focuses primarily upon notions of archive in relation to contemporary dance practice, in particular the concept of the body as archive. She has published book chapters and journal articles around this subject, most recently in ‘Dance Fields: Staking a Claim for Dance Studies in the Twenty-First Century’ (Dance Books, 2020). Professional industry experience has encompassed project management within the arts, dance teaching in community settings, lecturing and research project management. Laura was Project Manager and Post-Doctoral Research Assistant for ‘Respond’ (www.respondto.org), a partnership between Yorkshire Dance, University of Leeds and Breakfast Creatives (funded by Nesta, ACE, AHRC). Laura is currently Deputy Chair

of Dance HE, the representative body for the teaching of Dance in Higher Education (https://www.dancehe.org.uk).

She also sits on the board of Leeds Dance Partnership (http://leedsdancepartnership.com), a sector-led initiative with an emphasis upon supporting the dance ecology in the city of Leeds and beyond.



Sarah Shead

Sarah found her passion for dance at the age of 8 and went on to complete a BA (Hons) Dance International at Bretton Hall (UK) and York University (Toronto). She spent the first part of her career working her way up the ranks in organisations such as; Creative Partnerships, Dance4, Yorkshire Dance and CidaCo. During maternity leave in 2010, Sarah founded an independent producing company, Spin Arts. She’s been working as Director and Creative Producer ever since and has produced award winning and critically acclaimed international touring shows. In 2018, Spin Arts was shortlisted for a One Dance UK award for devotion to cultivating brilliant dance makers.

Spin Arts prioritises artists that are considered under-represented and works with them to create unique productions that can be found in theatres, libraries, galleries, community centres, and outdoor festivals.

Sarah’s dynamic, down to earth and proactive approach has resulted in investment from Arts Council England, Wellcome Trust, Big Lottery, Sportivate, The Elmley Foundation, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, PRS Music Foundation, Guys and St Thomas Charity, Design Council, Peoples Postcode Lottery, Peoples Health Trust, Sheffield Bluecoat, Sheffield Town Trust, Church Burgess and The Ingle Foundation, to name a few.

Committed to talent development, Sarah has designed and delivered initiatives such as; Catapult (NSCD), Northern Connection (NSCD) and Civic Artist Residency Programme (The Civic Barnsley). She’s also been a consultant and advisor for Arts Council England and DCMS.

​Last year, Sarah became increasingly concerned that arts leaders were disconnected from the problems they were trying to solve. In response, Sarah set up a new venture Artistic Mutiny UK, an online network of arts & cultural workers seeking to find more equitable ways of working. Sarah is currently being supported to develop her skills as a Social Entrepreneur via Paul Hamlyn’s Ideas and Pioneers.

spin-arts.com facebook.com/groups/artisticmutinyuk


Shelley Owen

Shelley Owen is a performance artist creating and touring dance and interdisciplinary work internationally. Masters alumni of London Contemporary Dance School, she is a researcher for the International Interdisciplinary Improvisation Festival (WHAT IIIF?), mentor and Class Of 2020 artist at The Lowry (Salford). Shelley creates work in response to her own lived experience, with research interests including; gender and identity, womanhood, cognition, and contemporary performance making. Director on the Board of Touchdown Dance and Cheshire Dance. In addition, she is an advocate for the voice of independent artists and a representative and working group member for the North West England dance artist led for artists network (ALFA). www.shelleyowendance.com


Josh Slater

Josh Slater is a Lecturer in Dance, Theatre & Performance at The University of Plymouth. He is a dance artist, theatre maker and director of enCompass Collective Dance Theatre. Josh has created and toured performance works, both nationally and internationally, over the last five years funded by Arts Council England. Josh’s research interests are focused on choreographic practices, Dance Theatre, improvisation and collaborative practices. Director on the Board of Exim Dance Company CIC, Josh is involved in supporting the dance ecology within the North West and South West of England. www.encompasscollective.co.uk

Connor Elliman

Connor is an independent artist in the northwest, creating work, and writing research papers, and working as a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Chester. He works with improvisation practices, and minimalist aesthetics in choreography.


Charlie Ingram

Charlie Ingram is a researcher, theatre director, film maker and producer. He began his PhD in May 2019 with Coventry University Centre for Dance Research investigating theatre in relation to evaluating Coventry UK City of Culture 2021. His practice specialism is predominantly Verbatim Theatre and the acting practices of Tadashi Suzuki and Anne Bogart. Charlie is a leading voice in the AHRC funded joint City of Culture PGR research network and has worked on a number of projects promoting equality and fair treatment of those working in the arts sectors. In 2012 he completed a BA(Hons) in Drama at MMU-Cheshire and in 2017 an MRes in Directing and Dramaturgy at the University of Birmingham. He has taught at Coventry University, MMU-Cheshire and Rugby College as a director-teacher as part of the institution’s theatre performance degree programmes. He has previously worked at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry where he helped to facilitate the Community Engagement group during the Coventry UK City of Culture Bid process. He also manages his own theatre company; New Project Theatre which focusses on new writing and the development of new and emerging arts professionals.


Karen Wood

Karen Wood is dance practitioner/researcher/educator and works as Assistant Professor at the Centre for Dance Research, Coventry University and Associate Director of Birmingham Dance Network. Her practice research involves screendance and choreographic practices that has been supported by Arts Council England and other funders. Her work involves collaboration with other art forms and improvisation. The main motivations for her work are driven by community, collaboration, development and support. Her most recent research combines her work within a professional context and academia and explores freelance dance artists’ relationship with cultural policy. She is Associate Editor for the Journal of Dance and Somatic Practices and is on the Editorial Board for Body: Space: Technology. She is a member of the newly-established Tap Dance Research Network and sits on the Board for two dance companies. Karen has co-ordinated and project managed AHRC and EU-funded interdisciplinary projects that investigated dance in different terrains. She has taught at various UK HEIs and internationally.


Patricia Noxolo

Pat Noxolo’s research brings together the study of international development, culture and in/security, and uses postcolonial, discursive and literary approaches to explore the spatialities of a range of Caribbean and British cultural practices. Recent work has focused on: re-theorising Caribbean in/securities; theorizations of space in Caribbean literature; Caribbean laughter and materialities; re-thinking the decolonial city; and African-Caribbean dance as embodied mapping. Pat Noxolo is lead researcher on the Caribbean In/securities and Creativity (CARISCC) research network, funded by the Leverhulme Trust. She is chair of the Society for Caribbean Studies, co-editor of Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, and secretary of the RACE group of the Royal Geographical Society.


Dr Lesley Pruitt

Dr Lesley Pruitt is Senior Lecturer in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne. A Truman Scholar and Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar, Lesley completed her Bachelor of Arts (Political Science) degree at Arkansas State University and her Master of International Studies (Peace & Conflict Resolution) & PhD (Politics & International Studies) degrees at the University of Queensland. Lesley researches how arts-based activities like music, dance, theatre, creative writing, and filmmaking can bring people together for social change, with a particular interest in the ways young people participate in politics and peacebuilding through such creative means. Some of her writing on these topics include the books Dancing through the Dissonance: Creative Movement & Peacebuilding (Manchester University Press, 2020 with Erica Rose Jeffrey) and Youth Peacebuilding: Music, Gender & Change (State University of New York Press, 2013).


Dr. Erica Rose Jeffrey

Dr. Erica Rose Jeffrey believes in the power of movement connected to positive social change. She has worked internationally as a performer, choreographer, educator, and facilitator. The first dancer to be selected as a Rotary World Peace Fellow, she completed a Masters in Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Queensland and a PhD from Queensland University of Technology focusing on dance and peace. A Director of Peace and Conflict Studies Institute Australia (PaCSIA), she is engaged in peacebuilding projects internationally. She is an experienced facilitator, educator and researcher working in diverse cultural contexts. As a Director of PaCSIA, she is currently engaged in community level peacebuilding projects in Australia and internationally. Dr Jeffrey is deeply involved in PaCSIA’s work in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea which has supported the internationally recognised referendum on Bougainville’s future political status of 2019, and which has reached over 45,000 Bougainvilleans through the use of facilitated public dialogue.

​Erica Rose is the Director for Dance for Parkinson’s Australia and through working with the Mark Morris Dance for PD® program, was instrumental in bringing Dance for Parkinson’s to Australia and launching classes nationwide as well as in the Asia Pacific region.

Sarah Black-Frizell

Dance artist/scholar Sarah Black-Frizell joined Liverpool Hope University as a lecturer in dance, specialising in situated dance and installation practices, maternal and feminist ethics in performance, choreographic methodologies and teaching Contemporary Limon Technique. Sarah studied for her undergraduate degree at Middlesex University, MA at Liverpool John Moores and her doctorate at Middlesex University. Sarah trained and performed at the Limon Institute in New York.

She is a dance maker and performer and she works with her husband and her two children on developing a performance practice which is situated in their family home – Mother as Curator. Sarah and her family regularly perform in their family home and some of this work is presented inter/nationally. She is a co-director of the Mothers’ Day Project a performance company, with esteemed Liverpool writer Esther Wilson. The project responds to the notion of Mothering and Peace through performance and academic discourse.

Dr Angela Viora

Dr Angela Viora is an Italian artist and scholar currently based in Melbourne (AUS). She investigates how performance art operates in the world by analysing the process of site-specific, durational, and participatory performances.

An expat obsessed with the humans-space relationship and the socio-political aspect of art, Angela researches on migration and mobility, identity and sense of belonging, through a transcultural and phenomenological approach. Angela has performed, exhibited, and presented her work internationally, including at BOAA – Biennale of Australian Art, Daegu Art Factory (SK), Performance Studies International Conference, the MAXXI Museum in Rome (IT), and the 12th Istanbul Biennial (TK). She has published on performance and public art, documentation and audience reception (Performing Ethos UK, Performance Research Journal UK, Arte, Architettura e Paesaggio IT).

​Angela currently lectures in the School of Languages and Cultures at Monash University, where she integrates the study of language, literature and history with the study of popular cultures, media, visual and performing arts.

ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4718-5367

Angela Viora on Vimeo.

Dr Gillian Dyson

Dr Gillian Dyson’s live performance, video and visual art works explore identity, site and memory. Gillian has exhibited and performed in national and international festivals, galleries and theatres, most recently: Konsthallen, Gothenberg Sweden, Baltic Newcastle Gateshead, Tetley Leeds and Whitworth Manchester. Gillian also devises and directs community and educational socially engaged or sited works, and has been a member of a number of artist-led initiatives included Hull Time Based Arts and New Work Network. She co-curated the ReROOTed programme for The Humber Street Gallery, Hull 2017 UK City of Culture. Gillian has a practice-based research PhD with University of Glasgow, Department of Theatre Studies. She is a Trustee of the Centre for Live Art Leeds (CLAY). http://www.gilliandyson.co.uk/

Zoe Katsilerou

Zoe Katsilerou is a performer and maker with background in dance-theatre, contemporary dance, singing, voice coaching, devising and improvisation. Her research and work specialise on relationships between the moving body and voice, with a particular interest in the entanglement of choreography and language.

Originally from Greece, she is currently based in the UK and works with theatre companies and institutions across Europe. Zoe is an associate artist with SBC Theatre, DUENDE and Sura Medura, member of Vonnegut Collective (Improvisation Music Ensemble), The Work Room (Independent Dance Organisation), and a co-founder of international improvisation collective ICEBERG. In June 2020, Zoe, in collaboration to Eilon Morris, launched Project Mάzoksi, a project collecting and re-creating rebetiko songs.

Since 2010, Zoe has collaborated with a variety of companies and independent artists including SBC Theatre, Third Angel, Olympias Music Foundation, Animikii Theatre, Whitestone Arts, Alexis Teplin and NoVan Theatre Group.

Zoe is currently a Senior Lecturer in Performing Arts at Leeds School of Arts (Leeds Beckett University), and has been a visiting lecturer at Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, University of Glasgow, University of Arnhem, Rose Bruford College, University of Huddersfield and Oldham University. Zoe has also taught in organisation such as DUENDE School of Ensemble Physical Theatre and Animikii Theatre.

Angie Walton

Facilitator/improviser and academic. Angie is the programme leader for the BA (Hons) Dance practices at Liverpool John Moores University. She specialises in improvisation, choreography and performance and facilities contemporary technique that is somatically informed. She trained at Laban Centre and performed as a member of Transitions. Having previously worked for Rambert and Laban Trinity, Angie currently facilitates community and education projects for The Royal Opera House and is a Contemporary examiner for the Imperial Society of Teachers and Dancers.

Josephine Leask

Josephine Leask is a dance critic, editor, lecturer and part-time PhD researcher at Central School of Speech and Drama. Her PhD research explores the contribution of New Dance Magazine (1977-1988) to the creation of alternative and feminist intersectional dance writing practices. She has written about dance for a range of mainstream press and dance publications but currently writes for DanceTabs and edits Resolution Review each year at The Place Theatre which profiles emerging writers writing alongside critics. She lectures on the BA dance degree programme at London Studio Centre and the MA programme at Rambert and Central.

Sarah Houston

I was trained at the Laban Centre for Movement and Dance and I was awarded my PhD by Roehampton in 2002, which examined the relationships between community dance and New Labour discourse. I have taught across the vocational and university sectors in the UK. I am Chair of the Board of Trustees and Directors of People Dancing: the Foundation for Communitiy Dance.

I am particularly interested in dance for people who feel marginalised in society. My current prize-winning research project (2010 – 2014) centres on the impact of dancing for those living with Parkinson’s and has been commissioned by English National Ballet. In 2011, the Bupa Foundation awarded me its prestigious Vitality for LifePrize for the Dance for Parkinson’s research.

As a dance consultant I have undertaken research in an adult male prison with Motionhouse Dance Theatre and Surrey Forensic Psychology Unit as part of Arts Council England’s Dancing Included project (2003 – 2004), and within a school setting for Handsworth King Edward VI School Birmingham (2004 – 2005). I received a Research Fellowship from the University of Surrey to examine reflection as a tool for professional development for arts managers (2006 – 2008). In 2014 the Higher Education Academy awarded me with a National Teaching Fellowship.