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Thinking Space Reflections

Tue 19 October 2021
Part of: Dance Transports 2010s-2023 | Artist Support
Thinking Space website

As part of the Cultural Recovery Fund awarded by Arts Council England, Yorkshire Dance supported 20 dance artists, working in participatory dance, through a programme called Thinking Space. Three practice groups were established focussing on dance for children and young people, dance and disability and dance and older adults. Each practice group comprised 6 – 8 independent freelance dance artists who came together for workshops and zoom sessions in an artist-led exchange. Each artist received £600 to enable them to take time out to reflect on their experiences of leading dance during the pandemic, share ideas and practices in a supportive peer group and plan for the future. Many of the Thinking Space artists created reflections to share with a wider peer group of dance artists and we are delighted to share this with you.

– Hannah Robertshaw, Programmes Director


Below is a collection of thoughts, expressions and ideas collected from the dance artists who participated.


Dance artists Bobak Champion and Jemma Mae share some of their best games for working with children and young people:


Artists Adrienne Melling, Alex Mettam, Louise McDowall, Lucy Haighton, Minoti Parikh and Sara Giddens came together in the studio to commence Yorkshire Dances ‘Thinking Space’ project.

Each artist shared a rich variety of experiences, bubbling ideas and creative tasks. This day also left space for the artists to share their fears, anxieties and methods of how they cope and sometimes don’t cope with them.

Read following include notes, reflections and resources that were made from or inspired the journey of the day in the studio.


Dance artists Maiya Leeke and Karen Bartholomew are dance artists with strong roots in the North of England, whose work is underpinned by a commitment to accessibility and celebrating diversity. They used Thinking Space as an opportunity to explore and consolidate their thoughts and experiences over the course of the pandemic. You can read their reflections here.

You can also read reflections from Katy Hewison and watch a video on her personal blog here.

Thinking Space feedback


“Thank you once again for the opportunity, it has been & continues to be a really rich experience & I feel sure that contacts made & relationships built will have longevity.” – Sara Giddens, Thinking Space Artist


“I would like to thank Yorkshire Dance for supporting me through the Thinking Space programme. It has been invaluable experience for me. Through this I got an opportunity to meet new people in the creative sector which was not from Indian classical dance fraternity. During our studio session, we explore and share so many ideas with each other. It was wonderful to learn something new and creative which is not my style and later on experiment it in my dance practice. This space has given me a chance to look at the activities, exercises and movement vocabulary from others perspective which is very helpful for me when I teach dance to my students. It really helped me to think out of the box and extend my creative boundaries. The session was very inspiring and uplifting. It has helped me to extend my network of contacts and given me different insights into how other things work apart from Indian dance sector.

I could not thank any more to Yorkshire Dance for giving me the best opportunity for shaping my creative skills. It was a wonderful learning experience for me which will definitely benefit me in achieving my short term and long terms goals.

Special thanks to Hannah Robertshaw and Ione Barton for all the help and support.” –  Jyoti Manral, Thinking Space Artist


“I also wanted to say a huge thank you for accepting me on the programme, it has been truly wonderful to connect with such a range of artists it’s left me feeling so inspired and grateful. I’ve began developing my own Dance for Older People group at a local organisation, and I wouldn’t have had the confidence to go at that without my Thinking Space/Dance On experience first! So again, thank you!!!!” – Ren Melling, Thinking Space Artist


“Some of us from our group met last week for a lovely day two of reflection and conversations, it was amazing! Thank you so much for putting Thinking space together, it is safe to say that each of us has immensely benefitted from this experience”- Minoti Parikh, Thinking Space Artist

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