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PIAF Connect

Claire Cunningham Workshop

Monday 2 May 2016

  • Feature


Wedged between two highly publicised, sold out and critically acclaimed seasons in 2016, PIAF Artist in Residence Claire Cunningham hosted a one week workshop at the Fremantle Town Hall with artists from across Australia whose practice is influenced or inspired by disability.

What emerged was an extraordinary exchange of ideas and energy using methods and concepts already embedded in Claire’s practice as a springboard to explore dance, disability, and individuality. Importantly the workshop set out to enable all of the participants to discover their own form of expression.

Asked what she wanted to achieve going into this workshop, Claire responded on the DADAA PIAF Connect blog: ‘Connection – to each other. Friendships. Trust. Possible collaborations and allies for the future. Realisation they are not alone. New ideas to try, ways of thinking about performing, noticing and language’.

This was achieved, and so much more.

At its conclusion, the group discussed themes and questions that emerged from the five-day workshop, best summed up by the group on the DADAA PIAF Connect blog: “being here is like falling in love, spiritually and emotionally”.

Claire said "The response from the participants was quite overwhelming, quite humbling, in terms of genuinely feeling like I've actually had an effect on people."

The workshop ignited a meaningful and now ongoing conversation on accessibility across Western Australian Artists, artsworkers and venues. PIAF and DADAA facilitated new relationships between national disability and arts organisations and hope to strengthen these relationships over the next three years.

Engaging with artists and arts workers locally, regionally and nationally, the workshop program also provided a base for learning that each participant could take into their own communities.

The DADAA PIAF Connect blog is now live, placing a spotlight on the process and people who contributed to the workshop. The blog features insights and reflections, in writing and on video, of their experiences. It is a rare glimpse into an artistic studio and an incredibly detailed account of best practice professional development. This blog will remain open for one year and the participants of the workshop will continue to use it as a platform for sharing, reflecting, collaborating and realising new projects that have been directly influenced by their experiences.

You can catch a glimpse of these on the blog: