Invisible Difference






Exeter University, Aberdeen University, Edinburgh University, Caroline Bowditch - freelance dance artist/choreographer


Sarah Whatley, Karen Wood, Kate Marsh, Charlotte Waelde (Exeter University), Mathilde Pavis (Exeter University), Hannah Donaldson (Stirling University) and Caroline Bowditch (Freelance Dance Artist/Choreographer).


This Project sets out to extend current thinking about the making, status, ownership and value of work by performance artists in the 21st century. It will do so by focusing on one art form; dance, and specifically dance made and performed by disabled dance artists. By considering different theoretical and practical perceptions of creation, interpretation and authorship, and different perspectives on the role of law in relation to creative practice, the Project will investigate how existing theoretical and legal frameworks might help or hinder the participation of disabled dance artists in mainstream performance.


The Project will bring together researchers from two different disciplines - dance and law – and draws on concepts and methods from the arts and social sciences. We will conduct our research in collaboration with dance artists, both disabled and non-disabled, and with arts professionals and policymakers, to discover how artists view their role in the creative process in relation to others, and their experience of embodiment and bodily habitus. We will then disseminate the research via scholarly publications, policy papers and via a series of public events, some in conjunction with performances, to establish positive dialogues with and between stakeholders, including dance artists, educators and policymakers. A core component in the Project is therefore the knowledge exchange between researchers and practitioners and the distribution of knowledge across different discipline areas. This will raise awareness of the particular challenges and opportunities faced by disabled people and strengthen the case for change (where necessary) in working practices and the legal frameworks that underpin the artists’ work. Above all the Project will seek to empower disabled dance artists and strengthen their place in our cultural milieu.

For more information, visit the project website.

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