Tilburg – December 2014

Dramaturgy at Work – feedback and critical response as dramaturgical activities in the creative process

Monday 15th – Wednesday 17th December 2014

Organised by the Research Group Arts in Society and the Dance Academy of the Fontys School for Fine and Performing Arts and DansBrabant

This 3-day workshop was addressed to performance-makers and art pedagogues from the areas of dance, dramaturgy and performance, and focused particularly on processes of giving and receiving feedback. Participants engaged, individually and in groups, in tasks and methods of giving and receiving feedback, in order to explore and respond dramaturgically to performances of their own and of other participants, either verbally, in writing, or creatively on stage.

Giving and receiving feedback are common activities in the world of the performing arts. The workshop proposed to consider processes of feedback and response in two ways: as dramaturgical activities that are critical, methodical, constructive and part of any performance-making process; and as activities with great pedagogical value that constitute an integral part of all learning processes involved in Arts education (and beyond).

This twofold perspective suggested that feedback is not merely the expression of a singular opinion that is formed individually, but is rather a social activity that entails responsibility and lucidity and which considers others who are co-present. Already looking at a situation (performance, rehearsal, ‘the world’) is an activity on the basis of which one constructs their position towards what is seen and in relation to others that are attending the same event. If, as Adrian Heathfield attests, dramaturgy is “a movement of relations through a constellation of questions, approaches, and responses to the matter at hand” (2011), then feedback in this case was also considered as a possible social materialization of this movement.

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