Informing the Institution: Reflections on working with human movement and shared public space

I was recently interviewed by Roddy Shrock, Director of Eyebeam, Art Curator and Strategic Collaborator for his podcast series Informer. The interview was conducted in November 2023 and was recently made public. The first question Roddy asked was, ‘what was your first experience with movement and dance?’. I described my experience of taking part in a ‘creative movement’ class and the two things that felt most important to me were, firstly, moving in a space with others and co-creating a ‘kinetic collectivity’. Secondly, in that class I was invited to imagine. To imagine a way of being in the world in which I was no longer tied to a singular self, but I was taking part in a creative movement evolution, co-creating place, with and among others.

The qualities of kinetic connection and co-imagining with others in shared space are things that children know. As adults, we often lose an awareness and forget about how our moving selves contribute to how we relate to each other, ourselves and to our environment.

Connecting with others through an awareness and expression of movement and, by doing so, imagining other potentialities and ways of being together is a huge part of my practice and what I help individuals, organisations and institutions to do. It was insightful to reflect on work I have done with cultural institutions since the pandemic and the questions I have been asking since:

  • What does it mean to have a body that moves in three-dimensional space in our current time?
  • How do cultural institutions better relate to the public in a way that takes into consideration the massive changes in technology over the last three years?
  • Can relating to the other than human beings help us learn how to be better partners to the planet?

I will be writing about and featuring work I have done with individuals, cultural organisations and academic institutions over the next two months. The posts will focus on ways I encourage an embrace the material reality of bodies in space and human movement as key players in our aim for a more just and equitable world.

In these posts I will focus on the way we choreograph ourselves in social situations since the pandemic. We have had to raise our awareness of how we relate in 3-dimensional space. I’m working with institutions to engage this new relationship towards what the future of cultural organisations might be.

How do cultural institutions better relate to the public and support their staff in a way that takes in the massive changes over the past 3 years?

I end here with this final question that I will be addressing in upcoming posts. I look forward to meeting you there.

Sara Wookey

artist | researcher | consultant


photo: Experience & Value of Live Art (AHRC funded project) at Tate Modern. Movement research led by Sara Wookey