Sentient Performativities

June 26-30 2022, Dartington Hall, UK and online

Sentient Performativities: thinking alongside the human*

Symposium and Performances: June 26-29

Postgraduate Forum: June 29-30

@artdotearth || #performativities || #beyondhuman

[hurrytimer id=”808″] annual symposia are renowned for the depth and breadth typically addressing an issue of urgent importance through the lens of art and creative thinking. This year, from June 26 to 29 (with a postgraduate forum from June 29 to 30) we are offering Sentient Performativities: thinking alongside the human. The event is taking place online and at Dartington Hall in southwest UK.

Curated by Minou Tsambika Polleros (’s Assistant Director) and her indomitable organising team, the event’s richness and complexity is hard to capture in a few sentences. But try we must…

Sentient Performativities investigates somatic (ie bodily) practices and their role in fostering ecological awareness and interspecies communication. In short, this is about how we feel the world rather than how we think about it. The event is being held for those attending in person at Dartington (Devon, UK) and on Zoom Events for those attending online. In addition to a dazzling array of sessions and panels there are almost 60 short workshops to choose from. It’s very difficult to pick out highlights but you can see the whole programme here.

There are two keynote events: firstly from Dr Nita Little who is one of the founders of Contact Improvisation and who is speaking and also offering a workshop on Relational Intelligence. (Nita is also offering a two-day short course from June 30 to July 1 – a rare opportunity for a deep dive into contact improvisation for the 21stC.) The second keynote address comes from Dr Sarah Abbott who will be sharing thoughts on interspecies communication and collaboration. A surface pick of other topics, simply to give an overall flavour of the event are Lily Hayward Smith on The Shape of Sound; Dr Pavel Cenkl on Running and Resilience on the Arctic; Nikki Wyrd on Somatics and Psychedelics;; Joanna Dobson & Julia Schauerman speaking of human-bird encounters; Lisa May Thomas on VR and the sensing body; Paula Murphy on Eco-somatics and teacher education; and a panel glorying in the title ‘Conversation in the Form of a Hedge Lay and a Cow Lick’. There’s so much more.

Choreographer-researcher Beatrice Allegranti is facilitating a conversational exchange exploring the extent to which the more-than-human is integral to everyday life, and how to bring moving bodies in line with anti-racist, anti-sexist, and anti- homophobic movements and climate justice. Her guests are Foluke Taylor, Stella Duffy OBE, Yolanda Opacka, Sharon Watson MBE and Alice Bell. The discussion aims to highlight the transformational potential of dance and choreography and demonstrate how it moves beyond its own disciplinary borders into a wider (contextually and relationally contingent) ecologies

Workshops are on offer from Angie Balbernie, Jim Conroy & Basia Alexander, Olive Bieranga (a one-to-one experience), Paul Beaumont, Paula Kramer, Simon Whitehead and many more. All workshops are limited to 10 participants (or fewer) and can be booked only after you register for the event.

In addition to the sessions and workshops there is a performance programme, a film programme and a small exhibition. Everything (except some workshops) is as available to the remote audience as to those onsite. It is also possible for local people to register for the performance evening only and there is a one-day registration available covering any 24-hour period. There are numerous other levels of registration supporting a range of incomes. We still have a few bursaries available for those willing to spend some hours as stewards during the event (if you are interested contact 

This broad reach into somatic-informed practices seems increasingly essential in view of the growing schism between the human and natural worlds. We invite you to articulate how you viscerally experience the agency of all living things. Reflecting on the emergence of new practices we are interested to both highlight as well as de-centre somatic work from dance and movement disciplines to see how a somatic approach is reaching into other practices.

We invite you to explore with us new embodied dialogues between disciplines, opening up as well as defining boundaries, questioning and learning how somatic-informed practices can offer more intimacy in relating to ourselves and to other species, and looking at how this can inform new practices and modes of relationship at large. This symposium seeks delicate antidotes to an increasing dis-embodiment and apathy towards the aliveness of the more than human world and wishes to revoke the prevailing operating system based on dead matter. We propose that eco-somatic practices can contribute towards the cultivation of sensorial capacities that assist our awareness of how we co-evolve within expressive ecologies and that what happens to our environments is inevitably and inexorably happening to us.

Registration details are at and the programme can be perused at If you’re planning to come from a distance please be aware that onsite accommodation is selling out; all hotel rooms are now sold but there is still some budget accommodation remaining.

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