Professor Sarah Whatley | Centre for Dance Researc...

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Professor Sarah Whatley

Professor of Dance

My Research Vision

My research is inspired by my deep interest in how dance artists document and publish their choreographic thinking in different modes, and how audiences become co-creators in art making practices. The collaborations that I have with researchers and artists, arts companies and organisations, both in the UK and overseas, are very important to me because it stimulates productive dialogues and leads to new insights about dance as a creative cultural practice.


Sarah Whatley's research focuses on the interface between dance and new technologies, dance analysis, somatic dance practice and pedagogy, and inclusive dance. The AHRC, the Leverhulme Trust and the European Union fund her current research, which is broadly focused on the impact of digital technologies on tangible and intangible cultural heritage. She led the AHRC-funded Siobhan Davies digital archive project, RePlay, and has worked with Davies on other artist-led research projects. She is founding Editor of the Journal of Dance and Somatic Practices and sits on the Editorial Boards of several other Journals.  

Sarah supported the development of the Routledge Performance Archive in her role as Academic Consultant: Digital Environment. She was an assessor for the 2014 REF exercise (Panel D35) and is a member of the AHRC Peer Review College.

Selected Outputs

  • Whatley, S.. deLaHunta, S. Vincs, K. (2015) On An/Notations (editorial), Performance Research, 20: 6 – p. 1-2
  • Whatley, S. (2015) ‘The digital archiving of the dance rehearsal process in Siobhan Davies RePlay; sharing hidden knowledge’ in Leclercq, N,’ Rossion, L. and Jones, A. (eds) SIBMAS; Brussels, Peter Lang.
  • Whatley, S, Waelde, C., Harmon, S., (2015) ‘Being Visible: Dance, Disability and Difference’ in Stock, C. (Ed.) Contemporising the past: Envisaging the future, World Dance Alliance
  • Whatley, S., Waelde, C., Brown, A., Harmon, S. (2015) ‘Validation and Virtuosity: Perspectives on Difference and Authorship/Control in Dance’:  Choreographic Practices Vol.6.1.
  • Whatley, S. Macfarlane, C. (2015) ‘Verging on the magical – Noh and contemporary dance meeting in dialogue’ in Watson, M. and Yamanaka, R. (Eds.) Expressions of the Invisible: a comparative study of noh and other theatrical traditions: Noh Research Studies; 3.
  • Whatley, S., Alexander, K., Garrett Brown, N. (eds) (2015) Attending to Movement: Somatic Perspectives on Living in this World; Triarchy
  • Whatley, S. (2015) ‘Motion Capture and The Dancer: Visuality, Temporality and the Dancing Image’ in S. Whatley, N. Garrett Brown and K. Alexander (eds) Attending to Movement: Somatic Perspectives on Living in this World; Triarchy 
  • Whatley, S. (2015)  ‘Materiality, immateriality and the dancing body; the challenge of the inter in the preservation of intangible cultural heritage’ in Causey, M, Frieze, J. and E, Meehan (eds) Through the Virtual Toward the Real: The Performing Subject in the Spaces of Technology; Palgrave.
  • Whatley, S., Atkinson, S. (2015) Editorial: ‘Digital Archives and Open Archival Practices’ in special issue of Convergence, The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, Vol. 21: 1.
  • Whatley, S., A. Williamson, G. Batson (eds) (2014); Dance, Somatics and Spiritualities: Contemporary Sacred Narratives Leading voices in the field; Intellect.
  • Whatley, S., Lefebvre Sell, N. (2014) ‘Dancing and Flourishing: mindful meditation in dance making and performance’ with Naomi - in A. Williamson, G. Batson and S. Whatley (eds); Dance, Somatics and Spiritualities: Contemporary Sacred Narratives Leading voices in the field; Intellect.
  • Whatley, S., Harmon, S., Waelde, C. (2014) ‘Disabled Dance: Grounding the Practice in the Law of ‘Cultural Heritage’’: European Journal of Current Legal Issues, Vol 20: 3.
  • Whatley, S., Waelde, C., Pavis, M. (2014) ‘Let’s Dance but who owns it?’:  European Intellectual Property Review  Issue 4  
  • Whatley, S. (2014)  ‘Digital Inscriptions and the Dancing Body; expanding territories through and with the archive’ Choreographic Practices; Vol. 5: 1.
  • Whatley, S. (2014) ‘Does education include?’ Animated; Winter, 2014, Foundation for Community Dance.

Selected Projects

  • Europeana Space: Funded by the EU, this project aims to increase and enhance the creative industries' use of Europeana (the European platform for cultural heritage) and other online collections of digital cultural content, by delivering a range of digitised resources to support their engagement.
  • WhoLoDance: A Horizon 2020 project which will make use of advanced motion capture technologies, EMG, bio-sensors, video, audio and accelerometers to transfer dance movements into digital data for educational purposes. 
  • The Error Network: A multi disciplinary network, funded by the AHRC that explores questions concerning how dance research and human-computer interaction (HCI) can inform each other through consideration of error, ambiguity and 'messiness' as methodological tools.
  • In the Dancer’s Mind: Funded by Leverhulme Trust and bringing together experts in dance and pschology, this project is a study into creativity in contemporary dance
  • Renewal, Innovation and Change: Heritage and European Society (RICHES): An EU-funded research project about the change that digital technologies are bringing to our society, culture and heritage
  • Civic Epistemologies: a project, funded by the EU, that investigates the participation of citizens in research on cultural heritage and humanities.
  • Siobhan Davies RePlay: The UK/Europe’s first digital dance archive, funded by the AHRC, brings together the full choreographic output of this leading choreographer. 
Research breakout image

Professor of Dance

Building: Ice Building
Room: 17
Centre for Dance Research