Final Report

Summary of project findings

The Network group consisted of UK and US-based researchers and academics, bringing together individuals who had previously worked without the support of an informed peer group. The Network created a forum for debate and developed an informed and publishable discourse on screendance, which has firmly established the identity of screendance and built new links between academic researchers and the wider community of screendance artists, filmmakers, performers and interested others. 

Key to the success of the project was a series of seminars with all of the Network members, taking place in Brighton (UK), Coventry (UK) and Durham (US), over a period of two and a half years, which allowed for a concentrated exchange of ideas amongst the members of the Network and invited guests such as Film Historian Professor Ian Christie (Birkbeck, University of London, UK). The Network held a public symposium at the University of Brighton (February 2011), with invited high-profile speakers from the field of Visual Arts and Curation (Catherine Wood, Tate Modern), Dance (Choreographer Siobhan Davies) and Film (Filmmakers David Hinton and Miranda Pennel). The event was ‘sold out’ and attracted artists and researchers from across the UK, Europe and South America and demonstrated the potential of screendance practices to advance debates within the wider field of arts practices. The symposium also served as the UK launch of a newly established, dedicated peer-reviewed journal, which the Network had established a few months previously and launched originally in the US at the American Dance Festival (June 2010). 

The Network exceeded its aims in developing an international scholarly resource in the form of The International Journal of Screendance. The journal is currently published once a year by Parallel Press at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It is available online (free downloads) as well as in hard copy and has attracted considerable interest in the UK, France, the US, South America and China. Some 6000 downloads have been registered indicating an extensive worldwide community. The Journal has also led to an expansion of the core research group through the formation of an international Editorial Board with scholars from the UK, the US and South America. The Editorial Board continues the work of the former Network as a public forum with wider international reach. A periodic rotation of the members of the Editorial Board as well as guest editors will allow for a continuous expansion of the research group, who in turn will facilitate members of their communities to publish in the Journal. The Journal is supported by the newly formed Centre for Screendance at the University of Brighton.

The leadership of the Network led to an invitation to Claudia Kappenberg, Principal Investigator of the Network, to Buenos Aires to present a paper at the Symposium of Videodance BA in December 2012. Other outcomes of the Network include papers published in related peer-reviewed journals and a dedicated book on Screendance by Network member Douglas Rosenberg. Other collaborations with external individuals and organisations have led to an expansion and consolidation of a worldwide community.

Potential use in non-academic contexts

The Screendance Network has established new links within and beyond academia with non-academic communities of choreographers, filmmakers, performers and writers. This will continue to facilitate a dialogue which is vital for the future development of this area of research and practice. 

Within the field of screendance, identifiable, dedicated platforms for debate had previously been missing and the dedicated Journal, the additional publications that have been generated by the work of the Network and the public Symposium have all begun to fill that gap. Discussions will build on the scholarly debates that have been published by the Network while curatorial projects and festivals can expand on a model for research-focused interdisciplinary symposia, which has been put forward by the Network. This is part of a strategy to actively connect researchers with non-academic practitioners. These initiatives will continue to evolve through the work of the Editorial Board, which devises editorial frameworks that invite young researchers, non-academics and scholars from related fields to contribute to the discussions. Screendance has meanwhile firmly established its identity as an interdisciplinary art form with multiple histories and complexities and is attracting interest from practitioners and researchers in related fields. 

The Network itself has developed into a Centre for Screendance at the University of Brighton, which supports the journal, a blog for the members of the Network, as well as constituting a framework for debates which reach far beyond academia. Working in association with curators and leading artists in the field, members will be supporting festivals and screenings such as the What Matters Festival, London 2012. New associations with organisations such as the British Film Institute (London UK) will continue to raise the profile of screendance, furthering its identity as a unique artform and reaching out to different audiences and publics.

The publication of the writing of artists and emerging researchers in The International Journal of Screendance will support others in developing their concepts and ideas. Such initiatives will in the long run allow for more informed debates on issues such as artistic agency, mediation and representation, interdisciplinary histories and methodologies and curatorship of symposia and screendance festivals, proposing and contesting new conceptual frameworks for developing different aspects of this hybrid field of practices. 

The configuration of the Network took place at exactly the right time, capitalising on the emergence of a critical mass of interested scholars as well as a flourishing international scene of dedicated festivals, and burgeoning courses and workshops, within and outside of academia. A number of routes are now established for cross-fertilisation, which should see further benefits in the coming years, ensuring the ongoing development of screendance within various associated professional communities.