Karen
Christopher

Photo: Lucy Cash Photo: Karen Christopher Photo: Karen Christopher Photo: Karen Christopher Photo: John Sisson
 
 

Teaching

Calls for UPCOMING workshops:

Performance Composition Workshop 10am to 5pm 10 April 2017 at Chisenhale Dance Space, London

 

The performance workshops I have developed and taught for more than 20 years are focused on methods of collaboration, negotiation and shared devising strategies.

I approach an educational project as a creative process. In each case a group of participants forms a collaborative body of individuals, with a range of interests, skills, backgrounds and experiences, who learn from and teach one another through activities they are asked to engage with.

By presenting a series of participatory assignments or tasks I aim to develop productive contexts to shelter the composition process. Participants are given permission to explore and create while suspended in a state of uncertainty, leaving aside the need to make immediate sense of their ideas or to know where their process will lead. I present instructions as a system of limitations that supports proliferation, and I attempt to provide a space where creativity, activity and invention are themselves imagined as productive states.

The typical workshop involves crisp actions toward making without initially engaging too much thought. This direct approach is followed by reflection, response and development. Group collaboration strategies are employed to inspire individual breakthrough. Trading, stealing and imitating the work of fellow participants blurs boundaries of authorship while stimulating new individual directions. Finding ways to access both conscious and unconscious methods of creating work, participants exercise their own ability to turn off their inner critic and simply present what comes, as well as practicing creative methods to employ critical faculties once new material emerges.

Since arriving in London in 2009 I have taught part time on the MA Advanced Theatre Practice course at Central School of Speech & Drama (London) and as a visiting artist on the MA in Performance and Creative Research at University of Roehampton, and at Laban (London), University of Aberystwyth, University of Sussex, Flare Festival (Manchester), Emerge Leeds and ArtsAdmin (Weekender series). I received a Live Art Development Agency DIY award in 2010 to fund Thinking Space, a writing workshop in public spaces supported by Whitstable Biennale. I led encounters in synchronous time, a 3-day workshop with Litó Walkey at a PSi Regional Research Cluster event, Athens, Greece (2011). I worked with a group of Dartington students on The Dove, the Ghost, the Handkerchief Tree, a 3-year project bridging their transition as the first Dartington College class to graduate from University College Falmouth (2009-11); each year they created performances engaged with solace, leaving and making a good ending.

As a member of Goat Island Performance Group between 1990 and 2009, I taught on many collaborative performance devising workshops, most notably a series of three-week Summer Schools.