Reflecting on Reflection

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South East Dance have asked Dramaturg in Residence Lou Cope to share some thinking on how artists might approach their own reflective thinking…

As we all know, when a project or event reaches completion it’s incredibly important to take time to reflect on it, in order to learn from what happened and also in order to allow what happened to shape what’s coming next.

We created The Red Line because we believe that articulating reflective thinking helps everyone – the artist doing the reflecting, the artist listening to that reflection and also South East Dance, an organisation that wants to grow with and learn from the artists we support.

So all South East Dance supported artists are asked to engage in some reflective thinking on our flagship website –  The Red Line.

The following questions or tasks are intended merely as suggestions in the hope they might get you going. We hope they might help you frame your reflections in a way that is truly useful to you.

In General

  • Which phase or moment of the project made you feel most energised and most inspired by the process you were involved in? Why?
  • Having identified that, is there any way you can shape future activities to play to those strengths or desires?
  • Were there any moments of uncertainty, confusion or lack of direction?
  • How did you respond to those moments?
  • With hindsight, can you think of different, perhaps more useful, ways you could have responded?
  • What were you trying to achieve? How did that go?
  • Did you hurry anything, or take too long over anything?
  • Were you brave at any point, and could you have ever been braver?
  • Were there any aspects of this project that surprised you, either positively or negatively?
  • Can you extract any learning from that?
  • Dare you pat yourself on the back for anything?
  • Are there challenges you would like to lay down for yourself and your next project?
  • Are there ways in which you could usefully embed reflective practice into your processes?
  • Did you have all the knowledge you needed to pull this off?
  • Is there anything you would like to learn before/for your next project?
  • What positive things do you suppose your collaborators might say about you?
  • What constructive criticism do you suppose your collaborators might give you?
  • How did you engage with your audiences on this occasion? Are you having the impact/conversation you want to have?
  • Did you get the right amount of feedback during your process? Is there anything you can do to develop or push this?

Research

  • Did you do the right research? Did you do the right amount of research? Did you do it in the right way (from a book or in a studio etc)? Is it possible you did too much?
  • Note to self for next time?

Preparation

  • As you entered the studio – what did you know? What did you not know? Was that the right balance?
  • Is there anything you wish you had prepared – in terms of content, tasks, form, working with different performers/forms etc?

Creation

  • What were the phases of creation? Did anything take too long? Did anything get neglected?
  • Where did ideas come from?
  • How did ideas get evolved, selected, rejected?
  • How did you manage different performers’ needs?
  • How did you work with your production team/collaborators?
  • How did you know you’d found the piece you wanted to make?
  • Who did you ask for outside feedback (dramaturg, outside eye, producer)?
  • What might you learn about all these elements and relationships?

Articulation

  • How did you talk about, promote and write about the show?
  • Are there other ways you could have done this?

Tasks to give yourself:

  • Describe this project/process in 3-5 words
  • Congratulate yourself for 3 things you did well
  • Give yourself some advice about how to approach your next project. Perhaps write 3-5 ‘Notes to Self’ on post-it-notes. And keep them!
  • Or write a letter to yourself, acknowledging all that was great or needs work, and encouraging your future self to grow. Make a note in your diary for when to next read it, and put it away till then.
  • Describe your desires for your next project – film yourself talking. Save it and watch it when you begin work on it.
  • Write the review you wanted for this project. Write the review you want for the next one. File them.
  • Name a person or a group of people you want to have dialogue with/impact on with your next project. Figure out a middle/long term plan about how to do that. Know what your very first step will be.

the red line hiccup project-99.jpg_effected

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