The Process of Becoming
Creative Response to the Research @ LAMDA by Artistic Director, Nathalie Carrington
“The world of our experience is a world suspended in movement, that is continually coming into being as we - through our own movement - contribute to its formation” (Tim Ingold)
Photographs by Cate Gunn
In October to December 2017, I undertook research to explore what can be learnt from an integrated exchange between performers with learning disabilities and drama school graduates, and how can it influence approaches to professional actor training. The research took place at the London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art (LAMDA). What can be learnt from an integrated exchange between performers with learning disabilities and drama school graduates, and how can it influence approaches to professional actor training?
During the research I became interested in the dynamic relationship between people and the environments they inhabit. In particular, I observed how being in the drama school setting raised the self-esteem of learning disabled participants, giving them a platform to see themselves as valued collaborators in their own right. In turn, the process allowed drama school graduates to reclaim and reimagine the familiar training space, rediscovering core acting disciplines in surprising, new contexts.
I began to imagine the parallax gap in which places influence people, shaping their perception and behaviour, and conversely, people influence places - defining their use and meaning through action. As Tim Ingold puts it, “environments are never complete but continually under construction” (Ingold, 2000), concluding that it is “through the process of dwelling that we build.” (Ingold, 2000)
Drawing on these insights, I challenged myself to imagine how our research might have a more lasting impact on the environment in which it took place. To do this, I have developed a concept of “inclusive place”, which my creative response is designed to describe and explore.
Using the architectural plans of LAMDA’s recently opened new building as a foundation, I aimed to create an abstract, interactive map of the experiences of the research participants, creating visual symbols that represent individual events or happenings in the process. These symbols act like “landmarks”, telling the story of the research in the space and also reimagining the abstract landscape of the drama school itself.
By including cartographical elements I am to contrast scientific, material ways of thinking about place with an “inclusive” model that transforms the landscape according to the experience and subjectivity of those who inhabit it. Replacing the four cardinal directions with the binaries of amateur/professional and process/performance, I aim to communicate the grey space the research operated within, further undermining the map’s seeming appearance as an objective navigational tool. The truth of inclusive work is not in the middle, it’s in both places at once, and the meaning of the environment is in a constant state of becoming through our movement within it.
To reflect the participatory nature of the research process, and help achieve the goal of leaving a lasting impact, my creative response has been designed as an interactive installation for the students and teachers at LAMDA. The audience is invited to populate blank versions of the map with “landmark” stamps, engaging them with happenings from our inclusive process, and demonstrating metaphorically the reclaiming of physical space that occurs in inclusive practice.
This Creative Response will be exhibited at the University of Brighton and ONCA in July 2018.
Click on link below to read more about our research findings