Does practicing the personal impact on policy?
Photograph Frances Anderson
I had the wonderful opportunity to work as an artist researcher with Dr Trish Winter of Sunderland University on our Arts and Humanities Research Council funded project ‘A Somatic Ethnography of Grand Gestures Elders Dance Group’. It is written for communities of practice around elders dance and participatory arts.
For me it represented a much needed opportunity to make visible and known my practice, it's purpose, impact and potential.
Our ethnography forms part of the AHRC's larger project that, ‘wants to advance the way that we think about the value of arts and cultural activities; their value to society and their value to the individuals who take part in them’.
"Grand Gestures have been developing a distinctive model of working since 2012. The project artist, Paula Turner, brings many years of experience in disciplines like dance, theatre, visual art and yoga, and she draws analytically and intuitively on this embodied knowledge in the way that she shapes the Grand Gestures experience, which broadly comes under the umbrella of ‘dance improvisation’. Paula is very reflective about her work, but working on a freelance project basis she doesn’t always have the opportunity to spend research time analysing her model of practice. The ethnography gave us an opportunity to work together on this."
"Grand Gestures have a growing profile with international connections with elder arts practitioners and participants, largely forged through Paula Turner’s 2013 Winston Churchill Fellowship, and connections with elders dance groups as far afield as Tasmania and the USA. It has also, through this research project, begun to contribute to international academic debate in the field of elder arts"