Constructing Collaborative Dialogues

CONSTRUCTING-COLLABORATIVE-DIALOGUESWhat can experts in Piano, Violin, Composition, Improvisation, and Choreography learn from and with the Director of Cass Learning Laboratory, an Informatics specialist, a walking academic and an authority in cultural studies? On July 1st, A group led by Joe Townsend from Trinity Laban and Clive Holtham from the Cass Business School welcomed colleagues from across Trinity Laban, Cass Business School and Middlesex University as part of the first in a number of short collaborative projects for staff aimed at broadening understanding of collaboration and enriching curiosity and practice whilst learning from and building relationships with other institutions.

Interaction was the key word of the day and participants explored and critiqued each other’s practice whilst the process was documented for reflection and progression at the next session.

Joe describes the concept and his experience:
Words like mastery, performance and creativity have common synergies with both the arts and business worlds.  Working with experts in business is not about finding ways of making money but exploring what we can learn about each other and possibly finding new and better ways of being creative. The most interesting aspect for me as a musician was gaining insight into the way choreographers think and through the actual experience of doing some dance exercises with the space to openly reflect with a group of academic and creative people. I really look forward to future collaborations as a way of understanding the potential for cross faculty interaction as well as with outside partners.”

We will follow up with Joe and the others after their next session. For more info on the work of Clive Holtham visit his profile.

Marina Collard: Practitioner of the week


Hi Marina, how are you this week, what do you do at Trinity Laban Health?

I’m well thank you. I am a Craniosacral Therapist.

Tell us about your background? Have you always been a Craniosacral Therapist? How did you get into it?

No I haven’t, I was a contemporary dancer for 20 years; I then became a dance teacher for Contemporary. I discovered Craniosacral while I was a dancer and had many treatments. The treatments really helped me and were very effective when I was a dancer. I now balance my teaching work and my Craniosacral practice.

What are the three main benefits of the treatment?

  • Craniosacral integrates the body as a whole and increases vitality as well as addressing specific problems.
  • Can slow the nervous system down to help anxiety, stress and emotional trauma.
  • Can produce an overall sense of wellbeing.

What do you love about treating at Trinity Laban Health?

There is a mixture of clients who visit Trinity Laban Health, including dance students. It is a very nice environment to work in and the clinic is open to anyone which I love.

Describe yourself in three words?

  • Reliable
  • Consistent
  • Wide interest in the Arts culture

What is the best way to look after your body?

To do some daily exercise which you enjoy and do not take it to the extreme.

What is your favourite ‘healthy’ food?


If you could meet anyone who would it be?

I would love to meet Hans Josephsohn he makes the most amazing and beautiful sculptures.

Finally… tell us something interesting about yourself?

I went to Lisbon recently and visited the Gulbenkian Museum.  It was stunning seeing a video of the volcanic vibrations on the Galapagos Islands. I also recently performed in a contemporary piece entitled The Modulated Body at an art gallery. I performed this between three paintings by Francis Bacon and Rodin sculptures. The theme of the piece was based around Rodin’s sculpture Iris

Investigating Cultural Diversity

investigating cultural diversity

What can we learn from other cultural understandings of the body, movement and dance? Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance has been asking this in a variety of ways and now Louisa Pestell, a Projects Manager for Learning and Participation (Dance), has been awarded a Lisa Ullman Travelling Scholarship to travel to East Africa this summer and work with three established dance organisations to promote knowledge exchange.  Laura Mercer (Administrative Assistant, Learning and Participation (Dance)) will be travelling with Louisa and both will visit Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda, where they will be hosted by key dance organisations including Guerrilla Arts (Uganda) Dance Forum Nairobi (Kenya) and Wesley Ruzibiza in Rwanda in connection with Amizero Dance Kompagnie and the National University of Rwanda.

The visit aims to exchange knowledge of the dance sector in East Africa with a view to developing further collaboration with key contacts in the future.  A particular focus on community and education work will be made because of Louisa’s particular area of interest and expertise in it. It also aims to research the ecology of dance in the East African geographical area in order to establish methods of working across a cultural divide in a mutually beneficial, ethical and productive way.

Key activities include:

  • Observation of grassroots engagement and  young dancers’ development and training support provided by partner organisations so as to identify areas with potential for future project collaboration.
  • Exploration of who the partner organsiations work with, how they find dancers from a young age and then how they train them and offer continuing professional development.
  • Research the potential of future cultural exchange projects and how they may (or may not) be of benefit to the key contact organisations and the British partners they work with.

Louisa and Laura’s visit to numerous dance organisations across Eastern Africa will provide an opportunity to profile the work of Learning and Participation (Dance) at Trinity Laban on an international platform.  Additionally, Louisa’s research project will offer her an opportunity to widen her knowledge and perspective of diverse activity in the international community dance sector, directly impacting on her role in Learning and Participation (Dance) and informing Trinity Laban’s understanding of cultural diversity within the Dance subject area. We will follow up with Louisa when she returns in the new Academic Year.

Louisa, who has a research interest in the manifestation of cultural identity in dance and contemporary and creative dance in education and community settings, is also artistic director of Arts Odyssey, a London Based Community Arts Organisation that ‘celebrates Unity through Diversity’.

To find out more about our Learning and Participation departments, visit our web pages here.

Further Information about the Lisa Ullman Travelling Scholarship Fund may be found here.

Bowen Technique


Our intern Robyn Thwaites describes her experience of her first Bowen session at Trinity Laban Health.

My second taster treatment was of Bowen, again another therapy I knew little about.

The session started with a consent form asking about my injury history. Seamus, the Practitioner, asked for more details. I did not have any recurring injuries but have suffered with back pain on and off for a couple of years; sitting for long periods has not helped.

Seamus explained what would happen in the treatment; he would gently roll ‘over’ the muscles rather than push or massage the muscles. I laid on the treatment couch with a blanket over me. Seamus then administered a couple of gentle rolling movements on my back. He then left the room. I admit I felt a little weird and apprehensive, I expected the Practitioner to be in the room and continually apply pressure, not leave the treatment room.  The concept behind the therapy is that the cells in the body do not react to pressure applied for ninety seconds: the Practitioner leaves the room for the body to react.

The treatment continued in the same way, Seamus returned asked a couple of questions and administered some more movements before leaving the room. At the end of the session, Seamus handed me an after-treatment care sheet and warned me that I might feel achy and to keep moving, but nothing too strenuous. If I did start to ache, this would be normal and not to panic. Some of the do’s and don’ts include not to cross your legs but to drink plenty of water.

I left feeling relaxed but not much else. That evening I started to ache as if I had just completed a strenuous workout, the feeling lasted all evening – I even had to sit down while I was cooking dinner!

Over the next couple of days the achy feeling stopped, and I generally felt better: I had less stiffness in my back and generally did not have any pain while I was sitting for a good few weeks after. I think with a couple of recurring sessions this treatment can be very beneficial.