Module Rationale and Learning Outcomes

(From the 2015 Module booklet)

Module Rationale

Performance of dance, storytelling, and music has now become a key part of contemporary curatorial practices in the context of museums, gallery exhibitions and historic sites. Museums have shifted from being collection-oriented to being Centres for the Arts, where Public Art, funded for and by the community, is given a space to grow and flourish. A more inclusive and broader understanding of curatorial interpretation has led to a more widespread focus on dance and use of dance performance as an interpretive tool, as well as a part of heritage. This has provided greater creative opportunities, and lines of inquiry for dancers and performing artists.

This module will investigate these recent uses of dance as heritage, and of dance as an instrument for the performance of heritage. It will discuss the impact of dance as a medium of learning in museums and at historic sites. By acknowledging dance makers and performers as primary agents of interpretation and theorisation, the module will explore how and why new performance contexts are created and recreated and how contemporary dance performance can bring valuable interpretations of past contexts of what we call heritage. How does this affect dance, and are there aspects to be gained or lost?

The module will be structured through a combination of lectures, seminars, and workshops aiming at observing, analysing and mapping out a range of dance-focused content in such locations, and will develop a number of case studies for investigation.

 Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this module will:

  • Have gained an understanding of dance as heritage and public art
  • Have gained an understanding of the politics of current curatorial practices in museums, galleries and centres for the arts and how they involve performance events in different settings and for different communities
  • Have understood the breadth of inquiries by artists and dance makers intrigued by museums, galleries and public heritage sites
  • Have gained an understanding of curatorial interpretation and how dance performance is being used for artistic inquiry and as an interpretive tool
  • Have gained a broader understanding of the notion of intangible heritage, its performance and its significance to contemporary society

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