Postgraduate Symposia

Organised by PhD students in Dance, the postgraduate symposium takes place every two years. Hosted by the Department of Dance, the event consists of papers, practice-based presentations, and roundtable discussions responding to a given theme. It represents an opportunity for postgraduate researchers in dance and other disciplines to showcase their research and engage in dialogue with peers. Details of past postgraduate symposia are given below.

Positioning (2016)

WHAT > Open Space Technology Event
WHEN > Tuesday 17 May 2016
WHERE > Digby Stuart Chapel, University of Roehampton
WHY > To share questions and conversations around the theme of Positioning
WHO > Artists, Scholars, Artists-Scholars, Academics

Hosted by the PhD community of Roehampton Dance, ‘Positioning’ was a one-day Open Space research event dedicated to questions around the meaning of ‘positioning’ during the age of digital ubiquity, cultural mobility, and economic instability. The event was open to PhD and Master’s students from the Department of Dance, but also to artist-scholars from across the University of Roehampton.

In the era of data ‘tsunami’ we are positioned in front of digital screens that bring us into distant proximity with others. Selfies – performed actions of positioning one’s self in front of the camera – give evidence of self-confirmation and reach instantaneously our audiences through social media. Furthermore, since the establishment of the European Union, free and unlimited cultural mobility has been enabled between the countries of which it is constituted. And yet, almost fifteen years after the foundation of that geopolitical entity, the precarious status of our economies urges countries to withdraw themselves. Situations like Grexit or Brexit are neologisms of our times that ask citizens to position themselves through direct elections and referendums. Increased unemployment and migration crises render the act of positioning relevant to that of finding a home, or owing the freedom to take an active political stance.

Inside this complex political, social and economic background what can dance, with its fluctuating yet clearly situational form, offer to the understanding and awareness of positioning? As dance artists what does it mean to position our individual and collective body in front of all these matters?

Organized and facilitated by PhD Candidates: Elisa Frasson, Ariadne Mikou, and Bettina Panagiotara. With the support of Dr. Arabella Stanger and Roehampton Dance.

On feet (2014)

Held on 6 June 2014, ‘On feet’ saw students across postgraduate programmes in Dance come together to explore the ways in which feet and footwork articulate social, cultural, and aesthetic experience and knowledge.


  • Michèle Brach (MA Dance Studies): Every Step a Rhythm: Dance as Performance and Community Healing in Botswana, Southern Africa
  • Kyle Bukhari (MA Dance Studies): Inter-media and Physicality: A First Philosophy of the Extremities
  • Natasa Chanta-Martin (Choreomundus: International Master in Dance Knowledge, Practice, and Heritage): Speaking with the Feet: The Relationship of Dance and Drum Languages among the Yoruba of Southwest Nigeria
  • Lizz Fort (MA Community Dance and Education): Do ‘Dance Steps’ Help or Hinder the Aesthetic Experience of Community Dance Practice and its Values?
  • Hamish MacPherson (MRes Choreography and Performance): The World is at Your Feet: Perspectives on Choreography from Conceptual Metaphor
  • Ryan Rockmore (MA Dance Anthropology): The Bailaora’s Feet: The Evolution of Female Flamenco Dancers’ Footwork in the Twentieth Century

Performances: A relatively new concept (work in progress) by Ariadne Mikou (PhD/MPhil in Dance) with Ingrid Hatleskog; Walk with Me (installation) by Emma Beswick (MFA Choreography)

Roundtable: Reflecting on the walking practice of Richard Long, travel writer Robert Macfarlane (‘Walk the Line’, The Guardian, 23 May 2009, pp.16–17) has this to say about feet: ‘We don’t intuitively imagine the foot to be an expressive or perceptive body part. It feels more of a prosthesis, there to carry us about, rather than to interpret or organise the world for us.’ Do feet ever express, perceive, interpret, or organise?

On feet Organising Committee: Cristina de Lucas, Elisa Frasson, Betina Panagiotara, Rachel Straus, and Katja Vaghi (all PhD/MPhil students in Dance). The Committee extended its special thanks to Dr Ann David, Dr Stacey Prickett, Dr Arabella Stanger, Lisa James, Alison Sidebottom, and Mike Toon for their support of the symposium.