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Navigating the Unknown:
The creative process in contemporary performing arts

ResCen, Centre for Research into Creation in the Performing Arts is pleased to announce the publication of Navigating the Unknown: The creative process in contemporary performing arts, published by Middlesex University Press.

This unique publication offers a fascinating insight into the different kinds of processes that practitioners in the performing arts undertake in their creative work and considers the implications these processes have in the wider world.

Based on a five-year research programme supported by NESTA (National Endowment of Science, Technology and the Arts) this publication brings together internationally renowned performance makers in the fields of dance, performance, live art and music who share their creative processes.

Chapters take us through analyses, reflections and conversations which address key issues in the creative process: intuition, inspiration, working processes, refining and presenting to an audience. The points of reference are diverse, from Plato to Poohsticks. Experts from disciplines outside the performing arts reflect on these processes from their own perspective, showing us the potential of creative work to help us understand the world around us.

This publication is unique in its bringing together of academic research and the artist’s voice. Beautifully illustrated and imaginatively designed, it will be indispensable to those involved in performance studies and the performing arts. The book’s accessible style also makes Navigating the Unknown an outstanding addition to any performing arts enthusiast’s book collection.

About the authors

Christopher Bannerman is Professor of Dance and Head of ResCen; he has served as chair of Dance UK and the Arts Council England Dance Panel, and is currently chair of Creative Partnerships London North.

Joshua Sofaer is an artist and Research Fellow at ResCen; he is the author of The Performance Pack; recent projects include Tate Scavengers at Tate Modern.

Jane Watt is an artist and Research Associate at ResCen; her current commissions include a permanent site-specific installation for Land Securities and Christ’s College, Cambridge.

Errollyn Wallen is a composer who won the BBC Radio 3 British Composer Award 2005; her many commissions include Our English Heart to commemorate the battle of Trafalgar.

Ghislaine Boddington is co-founder of bodydataspace, which integrates creative and interactive experiences for the public into architecture.

Graeme Miller co-founded the seminal group Impact Theatre Cooperative; amongst other works he developed Linked a permanent sound installation on the M11 Link Road.

Shobana Jeyasingh is artistic director of Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company and has been awarded a MBE for services to dance.

Richard Layzell is an artist who works in many environments, his installation Tap Ruffle and Shave was seen by over 100,000 people in four major cities.

Rosemary Lee is an award-winning choreographer with a commitment to intergenerational and inclusive dance practices.

Susan Melrose is Professor in Performing Arts at Middlesex University; her publications include Semiotics of the Dramatic Text.

Jason Wilson is Professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies at University College London; his numerous publications include Traveller’s Literary Companion to South and Central America.

Mark Vernon is a journalist and broadcasters; his books include The Philosophy of Friendship.

Caroline Bergvall is a poet and Research Fellow at Dartington College of Arts; her recent publications include FIG (Goan Atom 2).

Adrian Rifkin is Professor of Visual Culture at Middlesex University; his publications include Ingres Now and Then.

Guy Claxton is Visiting Professor of Learning Science at Bristol University; his publications include The Wayward Mind: An intimate history of the unconscious mind.

Navigating the Unknown: The creative process in contemporary performing arts (ISBN: 1 904750 55 9) is available in paperback for £25.00 from Middlesex University Press and selected bookshops nationwide.

To order, please arrow click here to visit the Middlesex University Online Store

For further information or to request a review copy, please contact Evelyne Rose on + 44 (0)20 8411 4165 (e.rose@mupress.co.uk)

Book cover


“This book is born of [a] rich, energetic mix of matter, mind, soul; individual and collective making, analysis and inward mapping.”
Professor Anna Craft,
University of Exeter
Visiting Scholar,
Harvard University

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