Dancing with Epistemic Borders: Knowledge and unknowns in mixed-methods PaR collaborations between dance and social science

Aoife McGrath, Peter Campbell, Victoria Durrer

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Abstract

This paper explores an encounter with the “unknowns” of knowledge production and analysis experienced by a dance practitioner-scholar (McGrath) and two social science researchers (Campbell and Durrer) during an ongoing collaborative project that charts the effect of territorial borders on dance artists’ livelihoods and practice in Northern Ireland. Expanding investigation of borders beyond the territorial to also encompass the methodological, the Co-Motion: Dance and Borders project experiments with how improvised dance responses to research questions place an affective and embodied experience of borders in dialogue with methods of sociological enquiry, allowing an articulation of what it is like, ‘[t]o feel borders, to carry boundaries in your body before they become visible, before they find an imitable and exterior form’ (Noeth 2018: 122). Co-Motion addresses the theme of borders and the unknown across two interrelated tracks: firstly the project’s research of dancers’ often shifting and precarious experience of physical borders in a post-conflict society; and secondly the emergent conceptual and languaging borders experienced by the researchers when communicating across our different modes of disciplinary research. Both elements involve intricate choreographies of negotiation and this article highlights some of the difficulties, questions and opportunities that have emerged to date.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPerformance Research
Volume26
Issue number3
Publication statusAccepted - 20 May 2021

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