Training Artists in Times of Crisis

Research output: Contributions to journalsArticlepeer-review


This article is co-authored by lecturers on the Contemporary Performance Practice BA (Hons) Programme (CPP) at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS) and offers a response as to how to train artists in this current moment of ecological, political, social and health crises. The CPP programme aims to develop socially engaged artists who contribute to the world as performance-makers, educators, advocates and active citizens. In these months where there was a palimpsest of crises, all clamouring for our attention, we had to consider what it means to make art and educate artists in the context of a pandemic. When the UK-wide lockdown happened at the end of March our working practices as we knew them ceased and we had to find ways to deliver our curriculum online and encourage our student artists to be responsive, creative and curious about what the move to digital platforms could offer our artforms.

Conceived through the conceptualisation of online spaces as utopias/dystopias, this article disseminates the way in which our learning and teaching has adapted to respond to the challenge of social distancing and isolation and how we have found new ways of working, training and being a community of artists in these unprecedented circumstances. CPP is an interdisciplinary performance-making degree focused on the generation of new and original performances that sit outside of traditional theatre and is committed to exploring the ecological and social function of performance and how performance can be an ‘act of community.’ Here, we reflect on how making art in an emergency is necessarily as much about creating the kinds of spaces and experiences that that are needed as it is about directly engaging with the politics, issues and wider ideas of crises.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-50
Number of pages8
JournalPerformance Research: A Journal of the Performing Arts
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished or Performed - 31 Aug 2021