In May 2012, the Performing Arts Department at Middlesex University held a one-day symposium on collaboration in performance practice. This symposium brought together practitioners, scholars and PhD students concerned with questions around the impact of collaborative practices in contemporary performance-making with a specific focus on the notions of ‘memory’, ‘place’ and ‘time’ in performance-making. The event marked a farewell to the Trent Park location before the department relocated to Hendon Campus in summer 2012. The event was initiated by Noyale Colin (PhD student) and Steffi Sachsenmaier (Lecturer in Theatre Arts).
The starting point for the symposium included the following research questions:
• What forms or modes of collaboration can be identified in performance-making? • In what ways is ‘the collaborative’ at stake in solo performance-making? • How do compositional techniques operate in solo and collaborative modes of performance? • How can collaboration be theorised? • How is personal or collective memory negotiated in collaborative contexts? • In what ways can technology impact on collaboration? • How are ‘place’ and ‘time’ integral to performance-making processes? • How do performers draw upon and conceive of ‘memory’ in performance making?
Several collaborative projects shared time and space at Trent Park preceding the symposium. Over the month of April the Department of Performing Arts provided theatre and dance studios to a range of artists working around the notion of collaboration. This ten-day residency drew together practitioners from a range of performing arts disciplines including music, dance and theatre. Although groups worked on independent projects, the residency also involved regular reflective sessions between participants to discuss and share ideas concerning ongoing collaborative processes as work progresses. Resonances and traces of this residency were shared throughout the symposium, including an installation in the Mansion Building during lunch. Artists involved in the residency included Sandra Arroniz Lacunza, Noyale Colin, Sally Dean, Mariella Greil, Roberta Jean, Carolina Rieckhof, Steffi Sachsenmaier, Steve Tromans, Martina Rusham, Rebecca Woodford-Smith, JJ Wheeler, and Angela Woodhouse.