School of Journalism, Media and Performance
Media Factory, ME107
+44 (0) 1772 89 5340
Subject Areas: Choreography, Site-specific, Performance and Community Practice
As a choreographer and director, Sara’s focus has been upon producing high quality practice and accompanying text-based forms of dissemination. She has created an extensive portfolio of performance and installation works, through a sustained commitment to challenging the borders and boundaries of dance, most recently receiving commissions from The International Centre for Choreography for Life Class (2019), and from Birmingham International Festival of Dance for Still Moving: Moving Still (2018). She is co-director of Bodies in Flight.
Dr Sara Giddens is Reader in Choreographic Practice on the BA (Hons) Dance Performance and Teaching course at UCLan and leads the Dance and Somatic Research Group (DSRG) at UCLan.
Sara has received consistent and significant funding and external support, from within and outside of academia, building long-term, national and international partnerships. She has made over 30 national and international bespoke and touring works, many with Bodies in Flight, who are celebrating their 30th year of making performance with a range of exhibitions and performances across the UK and beyond.
Other recent outputs include a range of site-specific ambulant performance works, The Dream-Walks. Challenging themes of artistic and community engagement with place and space, The Dream-Walks have been made and performed in Singapore (2009), Nottingham (2010), Bristol (2010), Wirksworth (2011), Skegness (2012 and 2013) and most recently as part of two AHRC funded projects, the Connected Communities programme in Cardiff (2014), and a Heritage Lottery Funded project, Know Your Bristol (2016).
A 2012 commissioned project Gymnast, created in response to the London 2012 Games, was made for gymnastics clubs, theatres and galleries and alongside her gallery work Still Moving: Moving Still was taken to the British Council showcase of new works by Dance4, as part of Edinburgh Festival (2012). From June to September (2012) four short films made as part of Gymnast, were screened daily across all 23 of the BBC’s city centre Big Screens erected for London 2012, and broadcast to a footfall of 3.4 million.
Her touring works have always straddled professional and academic, national and international contexts; outputs have befitted a range of audiences and commissioners. Skinworks (2002), toured extensively including, as part of a British Council programme, at The Esplanade Theatre’s Year of Living Digitally (Singapore). Digital outputs; Skinworks for Ears and Skinworks for Ears & Eyes included broadcasts on Braingell and Resonance FM (2005 and 2006). Double Happiness made and performed in Singapore (2000), and as part of Digital Summer, Breathing Space, and Now, was broadcast through Arts Central TV.
Sara completed her Phd ‘Still Small Acts’ in 2015 [Middlesex University] developed within the context of a collaborative doctoral award with Dance4, considering how dance and performance makers might employ stillness to create dynamic space-times as a means of engaging participants and audiences within a live, face-to-face encounter.
Her recent work has foregrounded dwelling as a practice, connected to both outcome and process, across a wide range of research and pedagogical contexts.
Giddens, Sara, Long, Lizzie and Spencer, Ruth (2018) Employing dwelling to reconsider individual and collaborative relationships to pedagogical practice. The Journal of Dance and Somatic Practice. Intellect. Issue 10.1.
Giddens, Sara and Jones, Simon (2015) From Work to Play: making Bodies in Flight's performance walk Dream-work. In: Nancy Duxbury, WF Garrett-Petts, David MacLennan (eds) Cultural Mapping as Cultural Enquiry. Routledge, London, pp. 303-318.
Giddens, Sara and Jones, Simon (2013) Working the Middle Ground: Making Bodies in Flight's Performance Walk. In: Animation in Public Space Through the Arts: toward more sustainable communities. Almedina, Coimbra, pp. 140-160.
Giddens, Sara and Jones, Simon (2001) Flesh and Text [CD-ROM] Far Ahead Publications, Future Factory, Nottingham. ISBN 1842330578 (includes texts, video, photographs, designs, interviews with artists, critical essays and commentaries, with hypertext monograph of 20,000 words).
From 2009-15, as one of seven researchers invited to be part of an international, interdisciplinary research project; Making Artistic Inquiry Visible, Sara extended her research into social sciences through the umbrella of Cultural Mapping. Beginning with a commissioned research residency in Banff (Canada, 2010), and continuing through international conference presentations, and two co-authored chapters (2015 & 2013). This extension into the social sciences built upon Renewed Methodologies (1998-2010), a research project with ethnographer Professor Maggie O’Neill, with women working as prostitutes. This collaboration led to the development of a series of artworks entitled Not all the time … and a range of accompanying critical writings and digital manifestations.
Sara teaches across all years on the Dance Performance and Teaching course at UCLan and specialises in choreography, trans-disciplinary site-specific work and research methodologies.
Passionate about embodied and lived-experience, her consultancy work extends across cultural and educational contexts including Derbyshire Virtual School, Artsmark, QUAD and Dance4.
Sara was one of the first dance-based academics to embrace new-technologies as a means of dissemination through the development of a CD-Rom, Flesh and Text. This charts the development of Bodies in Flight’s aesthetic and methodology, with individually authored hypertext monographs from the co-directors, critical writing from scholars and professionals, interviews with company members and multi-media. Alongside this, a specially commissioned two-screen video installation, which drew upon material from the CD-ROM, was shown at Arnolfini Gallery (2001), Bonington Gallery (2002) and then re-commissioned as part of the National Review of Live Art (2003).
Giddens, Sara (2018) [Conference contribution, paper and facilitation of an experiential workshop] Contra: Dance and Conflict, The Dance Studies Association (DSA) [University of Malta, July 2018].
Giddens, Sara with Spencer, Ruth and Urbanczyk, Justyna (2018) [Conference contribution, paper and facilitation of an experiential workshop] Rethinking Research: Disrupting and Challenging Research Practices Conference [Coventry University, January 2018].
Giddens, Sara with Guiver, Jo, Spencer, Ruth, Tongue, Hannah and Urbanczyk, Justyna. (2017) [experiential workshop] Preston: Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching Conference (CELT) Conference [University of Central Lancashire, December 2017].
Giddens, Sara with Kelly, Paul and Watt, Lizzie (2017) Developing Safe and Nurturing Learning Environments [Conference contribution, paper and facilitation of an experiential workshop] Manchester: ISPA Conference [Manchester Metropolitan University, July 2017].
Giddens, Sara (2017) Dwelling in-between [Conference contribution] Between Spaces Symposium [University of Chichester, June 2017].
Giddens, Sara (2017) Still Small Acts [Conference contribution] Talking, Thinking, Dancing [International Centre for Choreography, Nottingham, June 2017].