"Victoria has given me the most sensitive and meticulous external response to my work that I have ever received"
Maj Britt Jensen – Independent artist & PhD candidate (The University of British Columbia)
I offer one-to-one mentoring to artists, practice-led researchers and students working within the contexts of performance art, dance, theatre, fine art, and writing.
By identifying a clear project or set of aims, mentoring supports a range of issues, for example:
- developing artistic projects
- dramaturgy / rehearsal direction
- funding applications
- applications to higher education (MA / PhD progression)
- dissertation supervision
- editorial feedback on writing and research
- relevant pastoral support
Mentoring can been conducted at a distance using online platforms such as Skype, and/or in person. Dialogues can be short-term (over a period of weeks/months), or long-term (over a period of several months /years).
I have experience of, and a special interest in, working with artists, students and researchers who identify as neurodiverse and/or have a diagnosis of autism. I am currently engaged in mentoring autistic artists as part of a research scheme at University College London, Centre for Research in Autism and Education, led by Ellie Buckley.
Mentoring relationships are often initiated by students within institutional contexts. I also work with individuals who seek mentoring support independent of institutional affiliation.
Teaching & Workshops
As a visiting lecturer I deliver on practical and theoretical courses in Further and Higher Education contexts, in performance art, dance, choreographic, and fine art subjects. Most recently I have delivered on the MFA Choreography, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, and MA Performance, Leeds Beckett University.
I have facilitated artists' workshops to both institutional and non-institutional groups, nationally and internationally, including; Chelsea College of Art and Design, University of the Arts, London; Nottingham Trent University; Northumbria University, Newcastle Upon Tyne; Concordia University, Montreal; and Zurich University of the Arts.
Workshops are both practical and discursive, with a fluid balance between performative and theoretical elements. The content of each workshop is developed in dialogue with the specific group or individual. Much like performance, workshops are responsive, relational, and singular events.
Given this approach, I do not repeat syllabi or workshops. However, the following areas underscore my approach:
- somatic awareness
- affective attunement
- somatics in creative contexts
- writing embodied knowledge
- intuition in solo and group performance
- the politics of the body
- neurodiverse perception / autistic perception
- sensory sensitivities in autistic spectrum conditions
- performance (as) philosophy
As well as movement-based explorations, workshops often incorporate philosophy, poetry, literature, sculptural objects, sound (aural and oral), automatic writing, automatic drawing, and open discussion.
In this workshop we will draw on the somatic practices Body Mind Centering (BMC) and Authentic Movement (AM), to focus on the inner structure of the body as a “kinaesthetic universe.” Through guided movement explorations, often performed unsighted (with eyes closed) and for extended durations, we will experience “moving in stillness,” developing a cellular attunement to the micro-movements or “minor gestures” at the cusp of awareness.
Through kinaesthetic attention to the various systems of the body (musculoskeletal, respiratory, nervous, fluid, organ, endocrine), our aim is to eschew dominant modes of aesthetic experience (more often located within the visual sense), and dominant modes of communication (more often semiotic and linguistic), for a language of the body. Learning to privilege (not denigrate) embodied experience as a legitimate way of knowing, listening and speaking, based on intuition and sentience.
In addition to solo, duet and small group movement explorations, we will participate in discursive exercises, such as open discussion and timed automatic writing. Through externalising inner experience, the intention is that each participant will discover new languages and new strategies for making, such that these somatic methods can be applied to each person’s unique art practice.
Embodied Knowledges in/as Practice-led Research
Through specialist, somatic methodologies, in particular, Experiential Anatomy, we will regard tacit, sensory experience as an embodied form of knowing. As such, your body is positioned as the sensory locus of research.
In dialogue with a physical practice, selected readings will be given that contextualise the paradigm of
phenomenological approaches to practice-led/as research, in artistic and academic contexts. Moving fluidly between theory and practice, we will unpick the critical difference between embodied knowledge “in theory” and embodied knowledge “in practice.”
These sentient knowledges might require expression in various forms, such as written and spoken word, sound, live action, gesture, movement, object, drawing, image and video. Participants are encouraged to map autoethnographic and transgenerational experience onto somatic pathways, as entangled modes of embodied knowing.
In summary, these somatic approaches to research are regarded as feminist strategies, foregrounding the way in which situated knowledges and somatic epistemologies have a stake in transforming generalised and received (read as patriarchal and essentialist) knowledges.
“In 2013, I was beginning my path as both a performance artist and academic, trying to navigate the complexities of both of these fields. As a mentor, Victoria is someone who understands the theoretical intricacies of movement studies, while engaging with practice on her own terms. She has continuously supported and guided my professional work and personal growth with generosity, clarity, and sincerity. Her involvement in my development has had undeniable impacts on my approach to both performance and writing.”
Didier Morelli – Independent artist & PhD candidate (Northwestern University, Chicago, USA)
“Working with Victoria has enriched my practice. Professionally, working with Victoria is a clear, organised and considerate process, one that I hope continues into new projects.”
Sam Williams – Independent artist (London, UK)
“I'd like to take this time to say a massive thank you for your support, advice and influence over the last year. Without your guidance I would have struggled, and your insight has helped me to nurture my performance practice and my line of research.”
Carla May Morrill – MA Performance student (Leeds Beckett University, UK)
“Victoria has given me the most sensitive and meticulous external response to my work that I have ever received. Through carefully engaging with my work, she was able to offer multidisciplinary recommendations and mentoring advice that I revisit to this day. No other mentor has taken the time to nurture my practice in this way, balancing thoughts and feelings with intellectual exchange. Victoria has also assisted in my successful PhD application, giving a thorough reference, and precise and encouraging feedback.”
Maj Britt Jensen – Independent artist & PhD candidate (The University of British Columbia, Canada)
“Victoria delivered an Interlude workshop at Northumbria University for students, lecturers and professionals of BA and MA Fine Art, Drama and Animation. We were introduced to theories and techniques of intrinsic body movement, and explored this through individual and collaborative actions. Victoria's approach made the group feel comfortable, relaxed and able to take part in all discussions and activities. Each participant was able to apply something of the workshop to their own practice.”
Georgia Bates – MA Fine Art student (Northumbria University, UK)
“It was a very enriching and joint experience of exchange between peers, thank you so much for the quality of your presence, presentation and trust.”
Laura Von Niederhausen – PhD candidate (Zurich University of the Arts)
To contact me about mentoring, teaching and workshop delivery, please email me