Concurrent: exploring improvisation between performing arts practitioners
While performing artists increasingly create their most exciting work improvising with others, and psychologists have explored how this wordless interaction takes place in real time, there is little exchange of ideas between fields.
Concurrent is a network through which key researchers and leading improvisers share approaches and theoretical insights, apply psychological understandings to collaborative performance and consider how performers share or construct meanings at the cutting edge of contemporary improvisation. Its objectives are to:
- Test emergent theory against diverse practitioner accounts of their practice
- Foster innovative theory-building around non-verbal group improvising in all contexts.
- Develop proposals for translating research findings into new arts practice, pioneering novel directions within and between art forms
- Develop new proposals for large scale psychological and interdisciplinary research to enhance understanding of group improvisation as currently practiced
Concurrent was established with an award from the Royal Society of Edinburgh to Dr Graeme Wilson and Professor Raymond MacDonald in the Reid School of Music. Through public events and online dissemination, the network aims to inform and involve a wide range of creative improvisers, academics and audiences interested in transcending disciplines and genres.
The first public event in January 2016 brought together collaborators from the fields of music, dance, visual art, psychology, arts therapies and artificial intelligence, including Dr Sophia Lycouris and Dr Cath Keay in ECA and Dr Adam Linson in IASH, for a day of radical interactive performances and provocative dialogue with an audience of 130 attendees.
Future events will establish Concurrent as a crucial hub for innovative improvised performance; for novel inquiry into the unique social and creative process of improvisation; and for the wider application of current thinking on improvisation, for instance in community music or other spheres of social interaction.