Art & Care Series: Reasonable adjustments: Movements of care by Anna Macdonald

Events — Public Talk Microsoft Teams
24 May 2023, 15:00

This talk explores the relationships of movement, time, and care in the participatory dance practice of Anna Macdonald. It focuses on Anna’s recent work with people who live with chronic health conditions.* This body of work uses a somatic lens to examine the small continuous adjustments that chronic health conditions often require, such as the movement of relapse and recovery, or the constant reparative shifting of weight often demanded by pain. Drawing on Baraitser (2017), these movements of self-care are examined here as an attentive means of ‘staying where you are’ that resist teleological models of time, cure, and endpoint. They are also explored as sources of kinaesthetic irritation that can create what Doane describes as ‘an overly present body’ (1985:206), that unsettles others because it remains too much where it is. One of the key points to emerge from this discussion is the idea of responsivity, as a core element both of dance practice, and the spatio-temporal movement of care. Responsivity is explored here, as a creative and enduring response to contingency: a choreographic form of embodied maintenance that works to provoke and negate an affective sense of precarity in the body.

*Examples will be discussed from two key projects: www.circlingartproject created as part of an Institute of Liberal Art and Sciences fellowship (2019: Keele University) examining chronicity, pain and movement in collaboration with Prof Ceri Morgan, and Ways of doing things, working with organ donor recipients, led by Wellcome Sanger and funded by Wellcome trust in 2021.

Speaker bio:
Anna Macdonald is a dance and moving image artist who focuses on the relationship between the body, time, and affect. She specialises in participatory research that foregrounds embodied experience and her work has generated interdisciplinary findings in the fields of health, science and law, within large-scale projects funded by AHRC, Arts Council England and Wellcome Trust. Anna is based at UAL: Central St Martins, where she is the course leader for the socially engaged practice masters course, MA Performance: Society.


The event is part of the Art & Care series including examples of best practices impacting society, through the lens of creative research and care ethics. The series is led by Dr. Elena Cologni, Artist and Senior Research Fellow, Cambridge School of Art, Anglia Ruskin University, and Dr. Merel Visse, Director Medical and Health Humanities at Drew University (US) and Associate Professor at the University for Humanistic Studies in The Netherlands.

Ian Nesbitt, The Book Of Visions, 2021 image credit: Laura Page Photography
Anna Mcdonald.

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