Sentient Performativities: thinking alongside the human

June 26 – 30 2022  •  Dartington Hall, UK and online


Sentient Performativities: thinking alongside the human

The 2022 symposium investigates somatic practices and how they can foster embodied ecological awareness and communication between the human and other than human worlds. Traditionally somatic practices are most pertinent in dance and movement disciplines, rooted in the humanist perspective and primarily focusing on emancipating introception (the body as experienced from within). Current thinking suggests that such practices, while having the human self at the centre, can also highlight the reciprocal relationship between the self and the environment. Sentient Performativities: Thinking Alongside The Human will revisit our entanglement with the natural world from a felt perspective and bring together multiple fields of thought, practice and research that share embodied approaches to bridge the human, plant and animal divide.

As with all symposia, the programme includes a broad spectrum of practitioners, fields and disciplines into an open space where we can explore common interests and diverse practices. Such diversity also encourages new approaches, multifaceted formats and modes of presentation.

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.


Some of the questions we will explore together:

  • Can somatic practices and dance offer new modes of thinking, perceiving and being-with, necessary for an embodied planetary citizenship and stewardship?
  • How can the increase of somatic awareness within ourselves and our environments invoke greater care, and how can care foster more empathetic, responsible and sustainable action?
  • How does the ecological crisis call on, disrupt, radicalise and transform fields such as dance, choreography and somatic practices ?
  • How can such a way of knowing be trained, passed on and how can it inform new fields within dance and movement practices as well as become relevant beyond the field of dance ?
  • Is it possible for somatic practices to support the development of new ethics, new legislation, updated nature protection, animal rights, new bios, collective actions and new ways of living more connected and sustainable lives ?
  • How can education include animate dimensions of the world ? What are these curriculums that are working on re-growing these capacities in the next generation ?
  • What can we learn from nature connection practices and indigenous ways to re-kindle the somatic and physical embeddedness within an animate earth?
  • How does the craftsperson engage their material and how does their material engage us ? 



Key Dates

Programme announced:  20 February 2022
Registration opens: 20 February 2022
Early Registration closes: 13 March 2022
Main symposium: June 26 – 29 2022
Postgraduate Forum: June 29-30 2022
Residential Short Course:: TBA 2022


Keynote Speakers & Performers

 Dr Nita Little (Director, The Institute for Somatic Communication) (more information about Nita)

Others TBA


General format

The symposium should be thought of as a summit for the exchange of ideas. The event is modelled as an academic conference with a strong emphasis this year on movement workshops, outdoor engagement & performance: we do not pay contributors (other than keynote speakers) and expect everyone to register (a broad range of pricing options is available to ensure that no one is excluded on the basis of cost; contributors also receive a substantial discount on registration). See ‘How events work’ below for more information.

In collaboration our academic partners this year we will be offering a postgraduate forum prior to the symposium as well as offering an increased number of student bursaries. 


Symposium Convenors

  • Minou Tsambika Polleros
  • Dr Richard Povall 


Academic Partners


Organising committee

  • Minou Tsambika Polleros (
  • Dr Richard Povall (
  • Dr Rosalind Holgate Smith (dance artist/researcher)
  • Katrina Brown (Falmouth University)
  • Dr Rachel Sweeney (Schumacher College)
  • Vanessa Grasse (Leeds University)
  • Nick Kary

How events work

Our symposia operate like an academic conference (but are generally friendlier, more supportive and much more interactive). Everyone who comes can expect to receive as much as they give and the event should be seen as an opportunity to share knowledge with your peers. In that context, we require everyone to register and in so doing help us cover the essential costs of putting these complex events together. If you are presenting you will pay significantly less than people who are not presenting and we have very low cost routes for freelance presenters or others whose wish to attend is outweighed by financial limitations – ask us. We are not here to make a profit, and we don’t. We have a pricing structure that should allow everyone to come and participate. For this event we are also exploring Bursaries for presenters, although this will be dependent on successful fundraising.

One of the things that marks out our gatherings is their extraordinary sprit of generosity from everyone who comes, whether they are presenting or not. Conferences can often be competitive and sometimes unpleasantly so. We believe our events are not, in part because of the very broad range of participants and the general willingness to absorb knowledge as well as disseminate it.


What will it cost to attend?

These costs are indicative and based on the assumption that some will attend remotely; onsite registration includes lunch, dinner and breaks, but not breakfast or accommodation.

Full registration £245 (remote £205)
Early Registration £198
Presenter with institutional affiliation £210 (remote £180)
Independent presenter £180 (remote £140)
Concession registration (unwaged/low wage, full-time artist, etc.) £110 (remote £98)
Stewarding bursaries £pay what you can afford – we suggest a contribution of £30 to help offset the cost of your meals

Onsite accommodation (Symposium = 3 nights; Symposium + Forum = 4 nights)

Camping onsite (breakfast not included) £24/night
Budget accommodation (single room, shared bathrooms) £38/night B&B
Single ensuite or private bathroom £64/night B&B
Twin or Double ensuite £78/night B&B (£10 suppl. for second person)

Travel information can be found here


Is the event live or online?

It seems highly likely that we will still be affected by the Covid-19 pandemic so the symposium will follow all safety guidelines strictly. You may be asked to provide proof of vaccination if you are attending in person.

The 2022 symposium will be held in person at the Dartington Estate honouring its foundational history in exploring the somatic with our own bodies. Parts of our programme will however be hybrid: keynotes, film offerings and discursive conversations will be available to an online audience in addition to our live audience. It is therefore possible both to contribute and attend as an online delegate online.  If you are coming from afar we would ask you to consider the environmental cost of attending (particularly if it would involve flying) before deciding to take part in person.