Safeguarding the Creative Process

This project is just one of the many ongoing research projects carried out by our Research team, wider staff cohort and Postgraduates.

Safeguarding the Creative process was led by Head of Studies, Phaedra Petsilas alongside dance artist Stuart Waters, with support from Elsa Urmston, Steve Peck and Chris Nash in 2019.

This Project aimed to explore:

  • the notion of taking risks in the creative dance process
  • the safeguarding of the creative process
  • psychological well-being in dancers at vocational training in relation to the creative challenges they face
  • the level of vulnerability in taking risks and moving out of their comfort zones

By working with students in Rambert School Phaedra and Stuart explored the process of taking risks with them, in a creative context and going to these unexpected and unpredictable places safely and mindfully.

Safeguarding the creative process from Stuart Waters on Vimeo.

Within the context of the industry, dancers are expected to do quite a lot and embody a wide range of creative demands often to the detriment of their physical and psychological well-being. Dance artist Stuart Waters, shared his experience from the project Rockbottom said:

‘As I approached my “rock bottom”, my vulnerability was being used as a theatrical tool for authentic moments in creation and performance. I was peaking professionally but imploding as an individual’ (Waters, 2017).

As a result of his personal experiences, Stuart developed a safeguarding model to protect dancers’ emotional and mental well-being during creation, curious to see if these resulted in enabling dancers to safely push the boundaries. This project was collaboration between Rambert School and Stuart Waters taking this initial model and applying it to an HE Conservatoire context.

The Process

This project posed the question of what we expect of dancers in the 21st century and explored the link to mental well or ill-being, at a time when mainstream media was focusing on the rise of mental health conditions. This project was poignant and current and aimed to unpick and investigate the creative process in relation to the safeguarding of dancers.

The focus was creative, exploring the notion of pushing boundaries and getting out of comfort zones safely in the studio through multi-modal processes. The research project was workshop based with the aim to approach the topic from different creative perspectives: Movement, Text, Visual Image, Moving Image. We collaborated with artists in the industry to deliver the workshops and through observation, discussion and reflection we collected outcomes to form evidence for safeguarding strategies.

You can read more about the project in this article published by One Dance UK : One Dance UK article


Find out more about Stuart Waters' work


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