Timeline detailing over a decade of collaborative research in parallel with McGregor’s creation work. Thinking with the Body. Wellcome Collection Exhibition September 2013. Photo: Luke Currall
In 2000, Scott deLahunta and choreographer Wayne McGregor began a conversation that was to lead to a series of interdisciplinary collaborations with artists and researchers from other fields, including cognitive and social science. Fundamentally, the research was to ask how, and under what conditions, might scientific insight gained from study of the mind inform an understanding of choreographic practice. The first exploratory project was Choreography and Cognition (September 2003 – March 2004), with joint funding from the Arts and Higher Education Research Councils. Choreography and Cognition also established a unique collaborative working process that enabled both artists and scientists to iteratively pursue topics of mutual interest in both domains, conceptually and practically.
In 2008, these investigations were collectively framed and continued under the heading R-Research. The collaborative research received funding from arts councils, higher education, private foundations and the European Union. Over twenty scientific papers were published, and the new Mind and Movement (September 2013) resource, which has also won design prizes, is moving into its second print run. In Autumn 2013, the Wellcome Collection hosted a major six-week public exhibition titled “Thinking with the Body”. Attended by over 19,000 visitors, a touring version of the Exhibition was developed to accompany the world-wide tour of McGregor’s choreography ‘Atomos’.
A funded 3 year UK Leverhulme project is continuing the arts-science research into creative imagery in dance, and members of the original research team are currently participating in an ARC funded research project with the Australian Dance Theatre.
Choreography and Cognition. November 2003. First collaborative research session in-studio at Sadlers Wells London. Alan Blackwell, psychologist and computer scientist in foreground. Photo: James Leach.