Trying In 2019 – Shannon Stewart: WHAT DOES THIS BODY MAKE?

How do we conceive of self and body? What scripts are at work? What role does our perception play? How does gender and identity perform itself at the perceptual level? How do these things implicate “other” and design they ways we relate to ourselves, each other and environment? What tools for transformation are already available or yet to be made in dance practices to disrupt hegemonic patterns and make new ones?

Where: Siobhan Davies Studios, London 85 St. George’s Road, Elephant & Castle, SE1 6ER, UK

When: October 16th-19th, 1.30-6pm

Deadline for applications: September 20th

WDTBM combines somatic exercises adapted to engage questions about how we construct our bodies and how they are constructed. Proposals are seeded from queer, feminist, and critical race theory that exemplify and disrupt the way identity is embodied. We focus attention to the pressure spaces exert, to the relationship of subject/object as well as the act of relating, to the impact of orientation and disorientation, to reading what our bodies are making through a variety of lenses. This work is supported through reading and discussion, composing and decomposing performances.

During this workshop we will use our individual and group body to make and unmake ourselves. At times we will work with pushing our physical limits, working with endurance, disorientation, quick shifts of attention, and riding the group group energy to move away from language and towards embodied comprehension. We will also work with touch, support, weight sharing. We will work with language and try to collapse the space between verbal and nonverbal so that we can swim in associations and fluid states of communicative presence. In this way, we will push to the edges but also question “edge” as a boundary or distinction between ourselves, others and the space we occupy.

We are Christopher Matthews and Janine Harrington, London-based artists working together to realise a public-facing and participatory project around Chris’ practice, building on a trial project hosted last Autumn at Chisenhale Dance Space. We are calling this strand of activity trying. For trying in 2019 we will produce a 4-day workshop exploration with Shannon Stewart, a choreographic artist who splits her time between New Orleans (US) and Berlin. For Shannon, the body’s participation in everyday life, social systems, and how we know ourselves is an opportunity for choreographic research. Simultaneously, the practice of dance rituals is a potential for un-training, retraining, making and unmaking.

We have raised money to support as many workshop participants as possible. A number of bursaries and low-cost spaces can be offered through generous support from UK organisations, Arts Council England and anonymous donors. Some bursaries have specific criteria, others are open to all. Anyone can ask for some support towards access costs for any reason. Our intention is to make this opportunity as accessible as possible, so if you can pay the workshop cost but would need some help with travel you can let us know that, or if you could afford to pay a proportion of the cost then tell us that. We are trying to figure out the best ways to manage the resources we have and welcome feedback if you have ideas! Please only ask for support if you need it so that we can offer these resources to people who truly couldn’t participate without them. Thank you!

How to apply: Email us with your info, what you can pay, what you need and your ideas by Sept 20th. You can send info in any format. If a phone call is easiest for you drop us a quick message and we’ll arrange that.

Costs for participants: £130 (see description for more about available financial support)

Contact details: Christopher Matthews & Janine Harrington

For further information, please visit

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