In February 2017 Tate Liverpool hosted Concurrent#3, seven days of workshops, discussions and performances on interdisciplinary improvising, under their Tate Exchange programme. Organised by the Concurrent team at University of Edinburgh and Edge Hill University, these sessions took projects from Concurrents #1 and #2 in new directions, exploring how new technologies and strategies can facilitate understanding between artists, dancers and musicians.
Workshop led by PA Tremblay at Concurrent#3
A launch day on Sunday 20th featured new interdisciplinary improvisations by staff and students at Edge Hill drawing on studies of experiences of mental health conditions and of parenting children with additional needs; and a discussion of improvisation as a conduit for emotions across arts therapies with Vicky Karkou, Philippa Derrington, Nicky Haire and Suzi Cunningham. Monday saw PA Tremblay (University of Huddersfield) challenge a group of improvisers to develop coding for Rodrigo Constanzo’s dfScore software that would facilitate interaction between music and dance improvisers; for instance, devising verbal instructions that were flexibly meaningful in both disciplines.
On Tuesday, Adam Linson gave an absorbing talk on emotive aspects of improvisation, and Tara French and Ana Almeida enthralled a large audience as they considered with workshop participants how self-proclaimed ‘non-improvisers’ can be encouraged to try out their improvisatory potential. On Wednesday, Vicky Karkou led Edge Hill researchers and student in a day of discussions and performances on the theme of Improvisation for Wellbeing in Arts Psychotherapies. Despite the onslaught of Hurricane Dora outside, Thursday saw the gallery filled with dazzling improvised performances devised by Edge Hill performance researchers June Gersten-Roberts and Michelle Man, and by collaborator Sophia Lycouris. These investigated improvisation in the context of nature, with a particular focus on shifting patterns of light as an element of interdisciplinary work.
Finally, Graeme Wilson and Raymond MacDonald led two day of informal workshops exploring how artists, dancers and musicians can improvise together in real time, drawing on their recent psychological model for the processes of choice in group musical improvisation. On Friday, Liverpool-based players, including some from the exhilarating Merseyside Improvisers Orchestra, and local dance students exchanged ideas throughout the day, building to a short but energetic improvised performance and discussion. On Saturday, they worked with collaborators Cath Keay and Emma Bowen and visual artists and musicians from Liverpool to devise similar strategies of choice and reciprocal cueing, taking inspiration from Keay’s sculptural representations of Expressionist Art. Issues such as the permanent record of an emerging improvised drawing compared with the transience of musical sounds, or the practical difficulties of visual awareness, were central to discussions. Bowen’s videos of previous work in improvised drawing in community contexts was also on display.
Throughout the week, collaborators delivered exhilarating, thought-provoking and attention-grabbing sessions within the Tate Liverpool’s striking gallery spaces. Scheduled throughout the day, they captivated a broad audience of holiday visitors to the galleries including families and parties of schoolchildren. We are extremely grateful to all at Tate Liverpool and to Edge Hill University for enabling a wonderful and inspiring week.