Creative Voucher Scheme
IJAD Dance Company and Goldsmiths University of London
Joumana Mourad, IJAD Dance Company
Dr Alison Rooke, Goldsmiths, University of London
Turning Social Media into a Creative Conversation
IJAD and Dr Alison Rooke set out to discover methodologies that would enable arts organisations to engage audiences in performance pieces. By creating new routes for audiences and performers to engage IJAD hoped to broaden the audience base for contemporary dance as well as strengthening London as a hub for dance companies. Initially the partnership intended to address the audience in a physical manner, to have them ‘dance back’, however, the focus shifted towards engagement via social media, in particular Twitter.
IJAD and Dr Rooke approached the challenged with a workshop followed by a series of three consecutive experiments. In the workshop, hosted at Brunel University, three teams were tasked with exploring different ways Twitter might be used as a performance space, the differing approaches subsequently fed into the three experiments.
The first experiment, In-Finite Space, ran in conjunction with a commission from the Science Museum to create a performance referencing the museum’s Arabic astronomy collection. Announcing the theme on social media IJAD invited audiences to share their responses, six questions were asked and a feedback folded into the performance planning. During rehearsal periods IJAD pioneered a form of communication with their audience, tweets were responded to with a Vine video. On the 30th of October 2013 the final performance took place at the Science Museum, featuring a section influenced by the online audience.
At the Camden Stables on the 19th of November IJAD held their second experiment, In-Fitnite Camden. Whilst exploring an immersive environment the audience could engage with performers by using the hashtag #InfiniteFun, the performers would then respond in real time.
The first two experiments generated four key rules, 1) work with audiences you know, 2) clarify roles, 3) no twitter no performance, 4) clear codes of improvisation. With these established the third experiment proceeded, upscaling what had already been achieved. With twenty weeks preparation, including eight weeks working with Twitter audiences IJAD created another exploratory performance environment. Between the 5th and 8th of March 2014 audiences were invited to explore the Waterloo Vaults, interacting with performers via Twitter and using torches to find their way around.
The partnership was surmised in a research report which includes recommendation for uses of Twitter and a toolkit for other creative companies to you. During the project IJAD’s Twitter account went from having 900 to 1,300 followers.
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