Compass Commissions Q&A Summary from 29 Oct 2014

A Question & Answer session for potential Compass Commissions 2015 applicants was held at the Laban Building, at 6pm on the 29 October 2014, and was led by Kat Bridge and Brian Brady.

The session began with a brief introduction to the Greenwich Dance & Trinity Laban Partnership by Kat Bridge.

‘The Partnership was established in 2011 when we could do more by working together, bringing together our separate skills and strengths as organisations. Through the Compass Commissions a trio of new works were commissioned under three separate strands, which championed high production quality and a very clear aesthetic. As a Partnership we have the facility and the funding from the Arts Council to offer substantial sums of money which can genuinely make a difference and have an impact. We anticipated an appetite for Compass, and indeed we received more than 140 applications last year.”

Brian Brady added:
‘We are very interested in artists with high production values, and those who are engaged in examining their process of creating work, and how they make dance.’

Kat also mentioned that dialogue with the audience has been a regular concern for both Greenwich Dance and Trinity Laban as programmers, and therefore it is imperative for applicants to consider their audience in their proposal.

Tara d’Arquian and Lina Johansson, both Compass commission recipients in 2013, talked about their Compass application and experience.

Tara emphasised how she received the Commission very early in her career, soon after graduating, and how Compass offered her the opportunity to do something much more ambitious. She also mentioned how she used the guidance of the Commissioners whilst taking risks with her work.

Brian added that Tara’s written proposal was succinct yet detailed, and compelling enough for the Commissioners to want to meet her in person.

Lina commented on the challenges of translating her artistic vision into words for the written proposal. She also spoke about pitching (for the next stage) and how she approached this is a structured way and planned exactly what she wanted to say. Lina also talked about how she approached other organisations to tell them that she was applying for the Commission and ask them whether they would make a commitment to booking the work should she be successful with Compass. This raised awareness of the project and gave her partnerships to follow up once she was informed of the news.

Brian and Kat indicated that all three successful proposals were specific and clear in writing, demonstrated inventive ambition, the video submissions enhanced the ideas expressed and helped bring the potential work to life and that all three interviews/ pitches were authentic and clear in their vision. The three works selected in 2013, In Situ, Bench, and The Point At Which It Last Made Sense, explored a clear aesthetic, were explicit about their creative process which evidenced an innovative approach and spoke intelligently about who the audience for the work might be. These aspects combined made for extremely compelling proposals.


How many new works will be commissioned?
At least 3.

Is it possible to apply for more than one strand?
Yes, though the applications must be different.

Can I apply for additional funding?
Yes. All three Compass ‘14 artists levered additional funding, including Grants for the Arts awards from the Arts Council.

At what point should I look for additional funding?
It is advised that additional funding applications will be much stronger if a Compass Commission has already been awarded.

When does the work need to be premiered?
By March 2016. The making phase however, needs to be completed by December 2015.

What if the work has been performed at a ‘scratch’ night?
If it is genuinely scratch work it would constitute R&D, which would be fine.

Is there a particular length of work you are looking for?
This isn’t specified. However we do stipulate a ‘standalone’ piece- an entire experience in itself. We would not expect a work to form half of a double-bill.

Do I need to propose a budget for my work in my application?
The application stipulates that you application includes ‘What you propose for this commission – your idea, who it involves, how you will make it happen, the site etc’.

Can the work for which I apply for a Compass Commission be inspired by my previous work?
Yes. We think that all work is inspired by what an artist has produced previously.

Would it be a disadvantage not to have produced a work before?
No. Tara d’Arquian’s work was only the second piece she had created after graduating.

If I am applying for a site-specific Commission, do I need to have identified a site before applying?
Being very clear about the site your work is to be presented in (or inspired by) may make your application more compelling.

Can the work be a solo?

How much of my video will be watched?
Up to 10 minutes. Please note videos which are longer than 10 minutes will not be watched in their entirety.

What should I include in my video?
Please include video which is integral to the communication of your idea. You can make reference to the video in your written proposal.

Do I have to include video in my application?
No. In fact if you feel that the video may not be a very clear example of your work, including it may undermine your proposal.

Information on Compass Commissions

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Creative Thinking: Creative Teaching: Creative Practice

StudyThe Learning & Teaching environment at Trinity Laban Conservatoire focuses on the creative and innovative. Our tutors are focussed on developing and embedding approaches within their teaching that enable our students to become emboldened in creative practice. When you walk around our distinctive buildings and experience the vibe of the learning culture what is obvious is that creativity in its multifaceted guise is the foundation, whether you are involved in historic performance practice or devising contemporary choreography. Alongside this, part of our ethos (as highlighted in our Learning & Teaching Plan) is celebrating engagement with the broader creative and Higher Education communities to enable our expertise developed in teaching and creative practice to benefit those wider audiences. Recently, two members of the Faculty of Music have been disseminating their work, at external events. Both promote the harnessing of creativity within educational and creative parameters and their presentations reflect the philosophies and strategies that underpin their teaching.

Tim Palmer, Senior Lecturer in Music Education, recently took part in an HEA sponsored seminar at the University of York. The event, ‘Creative teaching for creative learning in higher academic music educationheld on May 13th 2013 bought together experts in the field to discuss creative teaching approaches and strategies for developing creativity in music students.  Tim’s paper titled ‘Deconstructing and Reimagining Repertoire in Teacher Training’ was presented with the assistance of a current PGCE student and explored strategies to flip the conventional approaches to using repertoire as a teaching tool. Details of the seminar, including resources can be found on the HEA website: here

In another creativity focused event, Trinity Laban’s Creative Director of CoLab, Joe Townsend, presented at the Culture Capital ‘s ‘Research, Creativity and Business 2: Making the Extraordinary’ held at the Cass Business School on May 22nd 2013. Joe led a workshop called ’CoLab – Risk, Flow and supporting collaborative work’  which reflected on his experience from the past two years in leading the annual CoLab fortnight and explored the question of how organisations and artists can nurture a meaningful exchange as a part of a creative process. The workshop explored the challenges faced in leading collaborative processes and what competencies can be developed through this approach.  For further details of the event, please explore the Culture Capital website here.

Creativity comes in all shapes and sizes of endeavour, and the work our colleagues are contributing to the field excites and challenges us. In a time when pressures on creativity and space for experimentation is threatened, it is more vital than ever that we promote new ways of thinking, seeing and doing  to ensure that the 21st Century is as creatively rich as possible.