dartmoor 3SCHEDULE

Friday evening – additional performance:

7 p.m. – Laura Hopes and Peter Chesbrough

Crazywell Pool – performance workshop

We have an additional optional performance for Friday evening scheduled. However, this is located at Crazywell pool near Yelverton, and anyone interested in attending will need to make their own travel arrangements. We will post further details closer to the time of the conference.


09.15: Meet at Plymouth station.
09.30 – 10:00: Train to Ivybridge station, walk to Harford bunkhouse.
10.00 – 11.00: Intro session, coffee.
11.00 – 12.00: Round robin and research statement game
12.00 – 13.00: Clara Nizard, Michael Norton and Eastman Presser. Productivity, Disobedience and Co-play: Rethinking Collaboration (again).
13.00 – 14.00: Lunch
14.00 – 15.00: Puy Soden. Grounding Painting Experiments
15.00 – 16.00: Helen Billinghurst. Joining the dots: diagrammatics on Dartmoor (walking as drawing as storytelling).
16.00 – 17.00: Coffee & Lori Diggle. Travelling to the Point of Beginning.
17.00 – 18.30: Claudia Zeiske – Keynote Speaker
18.30 – 20.00: Dinner
20.00 – 21.00: Reflections on Crazywell Pool /pecha kuchas/ own time
21.00 – 22.00: Informal open session/ pecha kuchas/  own time
22.00 – 23.00: Natalie Raven with Beth Richards, Nick Kilby, Sheaf+Barley (Noa & Max), + others. Discussion group: Magic//Witchcraft//Ritual: Getting Down to Earth.
23.30 – 00.30: Rommi Smith. With The Blues Underneath Our Feet.

We stay at the bunkhouse overnight.


09.00 – 10.00: Breakfast
10.00 – 11.00: Roberta Mock keynote workshop
11.00 – 12.00: Roberta Mock keynote workshop
12.00 – 13.00: Steven Paige. Swim and LiveAnxious Archives – how we might try and not forget, and it does not always have to be digital. Juliet Middleton-Batts. A Gendered Archive.
13.00 – 14.00: Lunch
14.00 – 15.00: Bram Thomas Arnold. Actions for & Against Nature.
15.00 – 16.00: Phil Smith – Keynote Speaker
16.00 – 17.00: Pack up, walk to train station.
17.07 – 17.21: Train from Ivybridge to Plymouth.


Keynote Speakers:

Professor Roberta Mock will be leading a practice research workshop. Roberta is Professor of Performance Studies and Director of the Graduate School at the University of Plymouth. Her theoretical, historical and practice research tends to focus on gender, sexuality and the body. She celebrates and champions embodied knowledges at all stages of research careers.

Claudia Zeiske will be leading a walking presentation on ‘The Walking Institute’, as part of Deveron Projects’ programme. Curator and Founder of Deveron Projects, Claudia will be leading us on a moorland walk to discuss, among other things: socially engaged practice in rural areas; collaborative models of making; and The Walking Institute – a peripatetic school for the human pace.

For Dr Phil Smith‘s keynote presentation, we will be joining the Society of Leyhunters’ annual meeting. Phil is an Associate Professor (Reader) at the University of Plymouth and a founding member of Wrights & Sites. He is a performance-maker, writer and ambulatory researcher, specialising in creating performances related to walking. Phil’s publications include A Footbook of Zombie Walking (2015), On Walking (2014), Counter-Tourism: The Handbook (2012) and Mythogeography (2010)


Bio’s and Abstracts:

Laura Hopes is an artist working in digital sound and film, installed spaces, performance and sculpture, and has developed a body of work based around explorations of the sublime. Her artistic practice explores and performs a physical and theoretical investigation of landscapes that could initially be read as beautiful, unadulterated or natural. Looking closely reveals uncanny traces of industry, entropy, marks of man; scars of the ‘anthropocene’. In July 2017 she will complete my study on the MA course, Contemporary Art Practice at Plymouth University. Peter Chesbrough is currently studying in the second year of an MA in Contemporary Arts Practice at Plymouth, working in participatory film. In his practice he aims to democratically allow autonomous control to participants, including himself, over their own aspect of production.

Crazywell Pool, a site north of Burrator Reservoir, for centuries held the reputation of being the largest natural pool on Dartmoor with an associated myth of it being bottomless. Legend has it that villagers from Walkhampton resolved to measure the depth of the pool and used the bell ropes from the church, tied them together and lowered them into the centre of the pool. According to stories the ropes sank to nearly 90 fathoms (165 meters) still not reaching the bottom.

Crazywell Pool has a wealth of legend and fables, like its depth rising and falling with the tide. Reverend Sabine Baring Gould described another tale: “Hard by is Crazywell Pool… According to popular belief, at certain times at night a loud voice is heard calling from the water in articulate tones, naming the next person to die in the parish. At other times what are heard are howls as of a spirit in torment,” (1982, p.231). In addition, apparently on Midsummer’s Eve anybody who gazes into the waters will see a likeness of the next parishioner to die. 

The site certainly has an ominous presence, blackly mirroring the sky like a scrying glass, invoking a shiver of dread. We discovered a shared interest in the site, both living in the area and lured to various elements of the site and its stories.

We would like to re-enact a performative version of gauging the pool’s depths, using church bell ropes and bells, as well as a mass of participants/parishioners. Our intention is for the approach to the pool to be processional, activated by trained actors walking among others, coming from different starting points. The groups will arrive at the pool to be given the ends of ropes to pull upon, a communal effort required in four directions, to raise the sunken ropes.

We want to evoke an atmosphere of mystery and shared exertion, a communal tale-telling. Our documentary approach will be particular to each of us, but our aim is to create films according to our own practice and research aims from a shared cache of footage. Ultimately, we will have two films which at points phase into sync with each other, but at others reflect our own interests in immersion, participation, narrative or spectacle.

Michael Norton, Clara J. Nizard, and Eastman Presser are working towards an MFA in

Practice as Research at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. As artists, they are at various stages of professional experience and identify as performers, dramaturgs, teachers, composers, sound artists, theater makers, bartenders, queer artists and researchers. Their work in these fields has been conducted in the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. They aim to integrate non-hierarchical models of organising with rigorous and playful performance-based processes, in which each player’s integrity and desires come to the fore, including the tool and skill set that each participant brings with them. In the performance world, the term collaboration has become emblematic of a particular kind of work, and the terms collaborator, creator and performer are often put in place to reconstitute an old hierarchy into new language. Instead, they propose a PaR methodology to activate the Barthesian notion of “Text” by orienting this practice away from ‘vital respect’ due to a supposed ‘original’ author, as well as offering a structure which lives beyond the particular individuals who craft it.

Productivity, disobedience and Co-play: Rethinking Collaboration (again): This is a workshop which attempts collaboration as co-play. Our project emerged from a desire to find ways of collaborating in which consensus-based methodologies could be challenged. We found that consensual models not only necessitated forms of compromise which undermined each artist’s subjective desires but also served, in the end, to reify a fragmented form of ownership of collaboratively created content. In addition to this, we were curious to reframe authorship and the implied ownership of materials or works this authorship lends itself to. We propose a strategy of co-playing, where each participant is given equal respect and agency, with the expectation to ‘create’ from their own subjective position. The project begins with participants producing shards of their own “content” provoked by an agreed upon starting point. This starting point could be anything: an image, music, text, or a social concern – and each participant has their ‘turn’ to bring a provocation forward to the group. Each participant gets ten minutes to produce this “content,” and, without any expectation of quality or performance, shares their results. Then, there is a “pass,” where each participant begins the same process of content-generation, but this time with another participant’s work as a source-input. Everyone passes and everyone receives. The content generation phase can continue for as long as a group would like, keeping to the model of making, sharing, passing.

Puy Soden is a postgraduate researcher (PhD, final year) at the University of Huddersfield. Her research into painting process is conducted through experiments, which investigate phenomenological experience of body and materials. In 2013, Puy won the Windle Charitable Trust Award that funded a research trip to the Hallen für Neue Kunst in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, where she recorded her phenomenological experience of a three-day direct study of the largest public collection of Robert Ryman paintings. On return to her Huddersfield studio, the work made in response to the collected field data furthered an enquiry into ‘touch’. The involvement in three exhibitions devised and curated by U N N A W A Y, an artist-led organisation based in Huddersfield, enabled painting experiments that were specific to the unique, former dance studio space and themes: “The Curtain Parts”, “Nothing”, “…And To Dust We All Return”, 2015 – 2016. Puy carries out painting research on French ground as well as English, including Lascaux and Giverny. In June 2016, Puy presented a paper on the latest ‘Grounding Painting Experiments (GPEs)’ at the 33rd International Conference on Psychology and the Arts at the University of Reims, France.

This presentation involves Grounding Painting Experiments (GPEs) that seek intersections where the multiple meanings of ‘ground’, associated with particular materials, methods and sites, resonate. These points of resonance, moments of ‘grounding’, occur when the GPEs combine the experience of the body in painting process with the land, ground, and nature: ‘being in the landscape’.

A sense of ‘grounding’ seems to resonate most strongly when the GPEs combine:

  • the contingency aspect of using materials that are ready-to-hand in the studio, kitchen, garden, shed, local vicinity, and therefore part of the painting process continuum;
  • choosing materials for their unique properties, such as the malleability and meltability of a fat, the grindability of a clay, or the pulverisability of an ash, and how they can be worked into painting experiments that reference painting’s histories and traditions;
  • searching for authenticity and the need to go back to the land, yearning for something meaningful from significant grounds, both those made and walked on, as opposed to synthetic, factory-produced substances.

The experience of immersion in the many ‘grounds’ of the GPEs is analysed via a philosophical framework that employs the phenomenology of French philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty, particularly his motifs of ‘figure-ground’, and the “flesh of the Gestalt”.

The components that previously marked out painting as a discipline have been variously contested, subverted or abandoned, and its definitions are now expanded. The hypothesis of this research, shared with many contemporary artists, is that painting has value now in the twenty-first century, and creates a new set of terms within which a painting practice can be articulated and validated today.

This ‘plein-air presentation’ engages participants in a GPE, whereby a traditional paint-making activity is be adapted and carried out on the moor, in order to connect the body with the land, as well as painting’s histories.

Helen Billinghurst is an artist and doctoral candidate at the School of Humanities and Performing Arts, Plymouth University. Her research explores how experiential walking can inform (and be informed by) an expanded painting practice. She is interested in journey as story, and how selective use of materials can be used to mediate between the landscape and the space of the studio. Helen is an associate lecturer at Plymouth College of Art and Design, and leads workshops at a variety of community and festival events. She is a nominated member of the Land2 artist’s research group, a committee member of Smooth Space artist-led initiative, and a member of the Walking Artist’s Network.

Joining the dots: diagrammatics on Dartmoor (walking as drawing as storytelling): This ambulatory workshop aims to collapse, collide, and entangle the embodied processes of walking and drawing. Using as a starting point Iain Biggs’ description of the expanded drawing process as ‘an act animating particular, multiple, forms of relationality’ we will use a playful and practical approach to help us to attend to ‘our being drawn into the matter of the world’ (Biggs, 2014). While walking across England, I noticed silvery lines on green grass made by striding across pastures in Cambridgeshire, white chalk tracks etched by feet and hooves along ridgeways in Wiltshire, and the long, red, lines of the winding paths of Devon. Points on the landscape, previously accessed only by car, became connected through the multiple lines I drew between them by walking; ‘figuring out’ on a grand scale.

 What will we draw from walking on Dartmoor?

Territory to explore includes ‘seeing’ with other senses (touch, hearing), tracing memories, reading/writing the path (tracking and trail blazing), mapping with language, and joining the dots.


Lori Diggle is an artist and writer living in Devon, currently in the ‘writing up’ phase of a practice based PhD in Performance Writing at Falmouth University. She is looking at relationships between histories and fictions in site-responsive work about the past and constructing a poetics of uncertainty using texts, audio files, objects, paintings and performances. The particular site she is working with was formally occupied by Glasney College in Penryn, Cornwall, where a cycle of miracle plays The Ordinalia was written in the 14th century, uniquely in the Cornish language. She is also making work in response to a particular historic figure, John Trevisa, a contemporary of Chaucer, who was probably educated at Glasney when the Ordinalia was devised. The work has been shown at the Newlyn Gallery, Cornwall and installed at Fascinate, a celebration of art and technology, at Falmouth University. She has presented papers about the research at Chelsea School of Art and’s language, landscape and the sublime symposium at Dartington, summer 2016. She has also presented papers as performance lectures internationally at the Universities of Auckland and Victoria, Wellington New Zealand and at the University of Melbourne, Australia.

Travelling to the Point of Beginning: This workshop involves using the idea of a  journey scroll as a device to explore creative incubation. Each individual selects a beautiful view, or end point, and a place from which to admire their beautiful view, the beautiful place or starting point. The observer then walks towards their view, turning laterally at intervals to record the view to the side, so that, at the half-way point, they are at right-angles to the line of travel. By the time they reach their destination, they will have rotated through 180 degrees and will be gazing back towards the beginning. All observations will be recorded in words and/or pictures to be shared with the group along with the experience of making a journey in which we travelled to a point of beginning.

The workshop is designed to slow down our observations of the environment we travel through, to focus on detail that we may otherwise overlook and to generate what I call creative pre-space  – the zone we inhabit prior to making work, when things start to align and we feel ready to begin. It can also be a useful strategy to explore ideas about writing processes that anticipate the end in the introduction and reflect on the beginning in the conclusion. Depending on the conditions at the time (weather/terrain in particular), it is possible to either use large rolls of paper to make a scroll, or to work in field notebooks making smaller drawings and observations that are predominately text based.



Steven Paige is currently a AHRC 3D3 PhD candidate based at Plymouth University in the School of Humanities and Performing Arts. He is working across performance, film and fine art where his art practice is responding to instructional film in moving image archives using reenactment and performative practices. He has recently completed a AHRC International Placement Scheme at the John W. Kluge Center, Library of Congress, Washington DC, USA within the Moving Picture Collections.

Swim & Live: is an instructional performative performance – where the participants meet and respond to the instructional archival footage for the first and only time. The activities will be guided by the live voiceover, both encouraging and demanding the performing participants to swing, kick and knock. The performance will last for approximately 25 minutes.


Anxious Archives – how we might try and not forget, and it does not always have to be digital: This micro paper asks are archives generated to ease an anxiety around the possibility of not remembering? The archive ‘emerges in fragments, regions, and levels’ (Foucault, 2002), we can only see the narrow selective aspects of an archive at any one time, how does this work in a post-digital understanding? I will discuss how as an artist, I place myself in the mechanism of the archive to resuscitate and create performative incursions and explore the tensions between being present and remote when dealing with historic records.

Natalie Raven is a performance artist residing in the south west. As a FT student in the department of Dance, Theatre and Performance at Plymouth University, she is undertaking her practice research PhD into the use of cloth as adornment in contemporary performance practice. She exhibits work regularly in the UK and abroad.

The discussion Group Magic//Witchcraft//Ritual: Getting Down to Earth will explore contemporary approaches to spiritual and magical practices. The aim for the discussion is to open up, reveal, reflect upon and share personal insight and knowledge of the esoteric, in very open, honest, pragmatic, and down to earth ways. Natalie will chair the discussion in horizontal, feminist, non-hierlarchical manner. She will ask the group a series of questions, which will help guide the discussion in and around the topic. This as an informal conversational style of discussion between members of the panel, to cultivate a fully rounded understanding of the topic, from various perspectives, unfolding simultaneously, delivered in an accessible way i.e. non-formal-non-masculine-non-academic-non-hierarchical. Questions might include how magic/witchcraft works in relation site (nature, sacred space, performance space) and collaborative methods (intimacy & 1:1 work, group, collaborative ritual/spell casting.


Rommi Smith is a poet, playwright, performer who has held major writing residencies for organisations ranging from The British Council to the BBC. She is the inaugural poet-in-residence for Keats House and the inaugural writer-in-residence for Parliament – the first such appointment in British and Parliamentary history. Currently a John Barnard Scholar at the School of English, University of Leeds, Rommi is in the second year of her interdisciplinary, practice-led, PhD utilising poetry and performance as creative methodologies to celebrate and re-present Blues and Jazz women.


Jenni Molloy is a critically acclaimed jazz double bassist and composer, known for her live and recording project ‘Bach ReLoaded Trio +’ She has collaborated on numerous theatre, poetry and improvised music projects, internationally. A much in demand jazz bassist, Jenni is also a Goju Ryu martial artist, running the Tsuyoi Kokoro Dojo in Leeds

Jason Hird directs and produces participatory public art. Collaboration, co-production, participation and site-responsive experiences lie at the heart of his interdisciplinary work. Current projects include a Handbook for Being Human in the 21st Century. He is the Artistic Producer for the Institute for Crazy Dancing. See for more information.

With The Blues Underneath Our Feet: a work-in-progress lecture-as-performance protest march, set to double-bass.

We’re going on a protest march. It’s going to be a Blues one. We’re not scared…

Rommi Smith’s transdisciplinary, practice-led doctoral research re-presents Black American Jazz and Blues women as agents of social change and protagonists within civil rights’ movements of the twentieth century. Her doctoral research, a celebration of historical Blues and Jazz women from Bessie Smith to Billie Holiday, considers the often unsung, or under-sung role of historical jazz and blues women in authoring the soundtrack to civil rights’ protest and the universal advancement of peoples.

This lecture-as-performance-workshop uses transdisplinarity and queerness as method: part preparation for protest march, part poetic meditation, part academic lecture set to a recorded double-bass soundtrack, it takes place on the stroke of midnight. Round Midnight is the crossroads that all jazz and blues artists know. In African, Blues and Classical mythologies, magic, bargaining with the devil, or the trickster: illumination and transformation all take place at the crossroads. In the realm called Story, protagonists reach a turning point, traversing the crossroads (and what is found there), to find a new route. They test the border’s, or boundary’s edge as a quest to find something, or someone – and always themselves. The crossroads is a place of souls being lost, or bartered and bought and at what cost?

First, together, we make poetic protest banners whilst listening to the 7 Demands of Smith’s doctoral research. Second, we walk out into the night, to the proverbial blues crossroads where the mythological ‘devil of forgetting’ waits. Third, we gather to hear a poetic meditation which protests the silences around the historical contribution of African-American Jazz and Blues women, illuminates the darkness and reminds the devil of forgetting, as it shuffles archive documents like a neat card trick: now you see them; now you don’t. When it raises a hand to be shaken (as our acceptance of its position on the world of things) – remember it is a provocation, not an ending: there is another weapon in the bargain with the devil of forgetting…

This work in progress lecture as performance considers ‘on foot’, ambulatory histories and knowledges and the role of the wordsmith and the singer in context of the Black Lives Matter Movement and The Global Women’s March of spring 2017.

Juliet Middleton-Batts is a Masters student in Contemporary Art Practice at Plymouth University and graduates in July 2017. Her research-led practice interweaves discursive investigations and excavated traces into experimental creative processes, which are then transformed into unexpected interpretations. Re-imagining and re-authoring are constant threads within the work, with modes of representation creating a distinct visual language. Folding the past with the present, to create a junction between personal recollection and social history, the work contributes to a wider cultural and collective past. Her multi-medial approaches include moving image, audio, text and print, creating alternative transmissions of photograph, object and archive.

The Gendered Archive examines historical artefacts and transferences and the female narratives they embody. Central to the work lays an exploration of ‘women as keepers of history and custodians of the past’, with distaff memories and matrilineal transferences creating the gender-based archive. The explorative engagement attempts to create an agency for the dissemination of memories, positioning women as key memory makers. The previously hidden archives are developed in a dialogue between the dualities of analogue and digital, into temporal and affirming representations. Museological aspects of the work bring the hidden, feminine ‘museum of transferences’ out of the home and reveal them in the public domain through a series of contemporary manifestations. Re-imagining the past, to re-inform the present, the archive seeks to transform time into space through an apposite presentation of narrative.


Bram Thomas Arnold is an artist who started with walking and kept going: into performance, installation, academia and writing. His trans-disciplinary practice was instigated under Shelley Sacks at Oxford Brookes University before studying an MA in Arts & Ecology at Dartington College of Arts. Alongside a transient upbringing, moving from Switzerland through Belgium and Holland into England and Wales, his approach to study has manifested itself into a practice that does not restrict itself to traditional boundaries of mediums or modes of practice: a practice that is both Romantic and Conceptual in its methods and outcomes.

As an artist he has built a piece of road in a forest, learned to translate Lithuanian and set out to walk from his home in London to the place of his birth in Switzerland. His ecological practice has been exhibited broadly in the UK as well as abroad in exhibitions from New York to St. Petersburg. Most recently his practice based PhD was received from University of the Arts London, 2016. Elements of this work have been published in Digital Creativity Journal, Ways To Wander (Triarchy Press) and his text/drawing series How To Walk (2009-2015) won the Plymouth Contemporary Open 2015.

Actions for & Against Nature: In 2006, when this all began, I was stood on the edge of Dartmoor, at the end of a 9 mile walk from the village of Dartington to the edge of Dartmoor. A nondescript boundary, a dry stonewall, rain, fog, mud. I took out a book of poetry that I had carried with me and read aloud from it, to some nearby rocks. Thus began a series of works called Actions For & Against Nature in the shape of a performance for no one besides the stones and the wind: Reading Poetry to Rocks.

In 2014, when all this kept going, I was sat at a desk half way up a mountain on the edge of Glen Nevis, reading a text composed out of the ashes of the oath one has to swear to join the Library at Oxford University. Swearing an Oath to A Scottish Glen was commissioned by London Fieldworks and broadcast from an off grid temporary radio station. Alongside new renderings of Reading Poetry to Rocks, Throwing Rocks at Trees and Reading Particle Physics to a River the Actions were given some time to breathe and re-animate themselves and the landscape they were settled in.

There will be 3 Actions scheduled across the period of the conference, alongside a presented paper. These are timetabled outdoor events (times to be announced at the conference opening) that conference attendees can visit and witness, one to take place at night, two in the day.