Thinking Brains and Bodies: Distributed Cognition and Dynamic Memory in Australian Dance Theatre

ARC, Linkage

Australian Dance Theatre Studio with company members during December 2015 experiment sessions with David Kirsh. Photo: Madison Thomas

ARC Linkage Scheme project

Project dates: February 2014 – February 2017.

The broad aim of this project is to conduct empirical studies of the nature of thinking in dance, by investigating creative processes, memory and expertise using complementary quantitative and qualitative methods- for example, experimental, interview and video techniques. Industry partner, Australian Dance Theatre, its Artistic Director Garry Stewart, Associate Artistic Director Elizabeth Old and company members, are centrally and collaboratively involved in this exploration of process and discovery. The goal is to develop new models of embodied and distributed thinking, and explore unique methods for collaborative interdisciplinary research.


The original project concept was formulated in the context of the Dance Engaging Science meetings of The Motion Bank project in Frankfurt, Germany.



The Project Lead is Professor Kate Stevens from the University of West Sydney. She is joined by dance researchers Dr. Scott deLahunta from Coventry University (UK) and Deakin University and Professor Kim Vincs from Deakin University; Anthropologist Professor James Leach from the University of Western Australia; Cognitive Neuroscientist Professor Mike Nicholls from Flinders University; and Cognitive Scientist Professor David Kirsh from the University of California, San Diego.