*contact*improvisation*: recognising institutional racism in our dance classrooms.

<blockquote>Essay written for Independent Dance 2020 Higher Education Roundtable </blockquote>
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This annual event provides a meeting point for artists working within higher education institutions. It is a platform for artists to engage with a current issue facing artist teachers in the HE context, fostering knowledge exchange and collaboration.

September 2020 roundtable: Recognising Institutional Racism in our Classrooms  Independent Dance in collaboration with Dr Adesola Akinleye. Chaired by Dr Adesola Akinleye with Heni Hale

In response to Black Lives Matter and with the aim of being part of the vast and hopefully positive changes that can come about through crisis we asked:

How can HE contribute to moving towards a just society?

Our focus is to come together to recognise ways in which we might be unknowingly performing systemic racism in our classrooms, language, and sense of history. How much are notions of (hyper) professionalism tied up with a colonial outlook? In preparation, ID commissioned an essay by Dr Adesola Akinleye as a starting point and provocation for discussion. It is available here. 

Akinleye suggests identifying 3 important and separate lenses through which to observe and work :

1) ‘justice’ (witness, acknowledge, ‘that shouldn’t have happened’, I hear you’)

2) ‘education’ (understanding, comprehending the nuances of the system, what is this system? How does it ‘work’?)

3) ‘personal work’ (what is / has my role been in that system?, where is my power? in it / to change it?, committing to change).

These lenses provided a structure for the roundtable discussions.

Read the essay