PhD research

January 1, 2020 I started as PhD fellow at Malmö Theatre Academy, Faculty of Fine and performing Arts, Lunds University, Sweden.

My artistic research project is called: ‘Crafting Material Bodies – exploring co-creative costume processes’.

At the centre of my research lie costumes that are crafted to connect two or more people. The costumes – that I call connecting costumes – act as a medium to study co-creative process of doing, listening and thinking between designer and performer. In three artistic projects (AweAre – a moment quintetCommunity Walk and Conversation Costume), different kinds of connecting costumes serve as invitations to relate to and co-create with both each other and the costume. In the projects I study how listening becomes a way of relating and responding to the connecting costumes and to each other. Listening is a strategy to enter into open-minded dialogues. Such dialogues are not about directing or crafting convincing arguments but are invitations to (metaphorically) listen to and with the costume, to share experiences and to elaborate on each other’s perspectives and explorative ideas. Thus, the co-creational or relational activity with the costumes and with people are at the centre of this research.

   In the three artistic projects I invite participants (performers and designers) to explore specific connecting costumes with me and to respond to the costume and the situation (the framing). My intention is to share agency or ownership in our exploration with the participants and to invite them to become co-creators. As co-creators, they are invited to engage in, inform, influence, interrupt and critically reflect on the costume and the co-creative situation in ways that matter to them. I acknowledge that what matters depends on the co-creators who are present in the situation and thus what matters in one situation may differ in another.

   In the co-creative situation I act as more than a designer. I am the crafter and host who in the explorative situations partake as a participant alongside fellow participants or co-creators. The goal is to explore how different hosting strategies affect or go together with being an active participant. In the artistic projects we will co-creatively and physically explore how specific connecting costumes forester different explorations, how one exploration can evoke new (unplanned and unexpected) explorations and how the different explorations informour verbal and non-verbal dialogues. Through and with the projects, my ambition is to formulate ideas of co-creation that value the act of material-discursive listenings and the art of hosting with generosity and communal hospitality. The aim is that this research useful listening tools for designer’s to gain a deeper understanding of and be inspired by how costume affects performers and the boarder scope it that contributes to discussions how team can work more co-creatively.

The costumes at the centre of this research are beyond character (they are not, for example, based on dramatic text) and the co-creative situations are not framed in the context of “traditional” institutions settings. This implies that the research does not reproduce “traditional” structures where someone (for example a choreographer) envisions a performance that a collaborating team contributes to materialising by, for instance, visualising, embodying and/or producing. Thus, in the co-creative situation, (1) I do not expect that my co-creators will or must embody a predefined vision of mine, (2) I do not intend to act as an (outside) observer who watches, witnesses, analyses and/or directs the co-creative situations and (3) I have no intention of positioning myself hierarchically above others (people and materials). 

   The artistic projects are not within institutional settings: two of the artistic projects were part of and framed in the context of the performance festivals Up Close and Wa(l)king Copenhagen. The two festivals invited a variety of artists such as dance, visual and performance artists to participate. In both festival I was the only costume designer to be invited. One project was part of a Costume Agency workshop and my research was conducted alongside fellow costume colleagues who, like me, did their individual costume research. 

The research has four focal themes: crafting, listening, hosting and co-creating. I