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Feb 22nd 2017:

We arrived at Critical path jet-lagged and jaded, not least due to the fact that we are in 3 day old clothes (we made it to Sydney the day before our luggage). I am struck by the equally jaded feel of the studio that will be our home for 2 weeks, unlike us, however it is a jaded beauty, there is an immediate sense of the history of this place, of what has come before and the potential of what might come next.

The huge space has two personalities, initially it is a big, black cave of a room, intimate and private despite its vast dimensions. As we open each of the black curtains that keep out the outsider view, each old wooden sash window (that you have to jiggle to close properly) floods light into the space, suddenly, the space and the outside connect, the light, the warmth and the breeze and the big, big high room feed each other.

We (Welly O’Brien and I) are here to facilitate a creative lab for Australian artists at various points in their practice, we have deliberately asked not to know details about their ideas and experience prior to the fortnight we will work with them. We are delaying our curiosity about them, allowing ourselves to wonder about who they might be and what they might want to do. There is something in this that relates to making space for their own inquiry, the more we, as facilitators know, the greater our assumptions might be about the direction they may take.

Welly and I note after day one, the difficulty of not intervening. The notion of ‘giving space’ is thrown about often in ‘our work’, but what is the realty of this? Is it just sitting back and shutting up, or something else?

I think there is something valuable in just being ‘in there, peeking into people’s practical inquiry, earwigging on their conversations what we see and feel might never be articulated, but it’s there if needed. In this sense Welly and I are sort of caretakers in this process, holding onto things that may or may not be shared, but holding them anyway.

As the group drift in this morning, we can feel that familiar excitement of meeting new dancers, the potential of new exchanges, new dancing, new ideas, new conversations over lunch. This is a wonderfully eclectic group; anticipating what they might do, individually and collectively feels like such a treat… and then of course there’s the sun and the blue skies…