We catch up with Ali Baybutt ahead of the new term teaching Performance Practice on the new BA Creative Arts & Humanities.
1. Briefly introduce yourself and what you will be teaching on the Creative Arts and Humanities BA.
Hello, I am Dr Alexandra Baybutt. Since 2004 I have been working internationally in the field of movement, dance and performance as an artist, researcher and educator. I joined the team in July 2023 and will be teaching performance practice on the BA Creative Arts and Humanities. In 2021-2022 I was a post-doctoral research fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies, exploring equity, diversity and inclusion through embodied practices, and co-editing the IAS journal Think Pieces with Dr Lo Marshall (Bartlett) on the topic of 'complaint'.
2. What are your academic interests, creative expertise and achievements?
My expertise is in somatic movement education and a system of movement analysis derived from the work of Rudolf Laban and Irmgard Bartenieff, as well as interdisciplinary performance, improvisation and spontaneous composition using body and voice. I'm interested in the politics of space and inclusive practices and am currently completing a research commission for the European Dance Development Network on improving equitable working conditions in dance.
My monograph 'Contemporary Dance Festivals in the Former Yugoslav Space: (In)dependent Scenes' was published with Routledge in the Advances in Performance and Theatre series in 2023.
3. What are you most looking forward to with the launch of the programme at UCL East?
I am most looking forward to supporting a group of students in developing trust and collaborative skills through intensive physical play and techniques. I am very curious what they will achieve over the programme and beyond.
4. What kind of student do you think would thrive on this degree?
The kinds of students who would thrive on this degree are the ones who can shift between being immersed and moved by aesthetic experiences as well as create them, as well as reflect critically, situating practices amongst social discourses. Students for whom it is important to understand how to make across many modes of story-telling and the possible effects of what is made will relish this degree.
5. What most excites you about this course at UCL East?
What excites me about this course at UCL East is working with such interesting colleagues and getting to meet many other people because we share Marshgate with different departments. It is also a treat to be so close to Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond's ArcelorMIttal Orbit sculpture. I often catch glimpses in my peripheral vision and think it's falling. To be reminded of motion and change reminds me of London's many layers of histories on which Marshgate stands.
6. What is your journey to UCL East like?
I sometimes bike, sometimes take the DLR. In 2014 I worked with former UCL Geography department resident Artist, Carolyn Deby, on a performance around this area, and being by the Lee navigation canal is very evocative for me.
Photo credit: Ilme Vysniauskaite ©