As artists we find ourselves in challenging times of uncertainty. Some times I feel like I’m in a collective game of overcoming like the huger games The Hunger Games, Squid Game of trying to keep going to pursue my life mission. It’s over whelming and at times exhausting, I need dance to find the lightness, the joy, the oxygen to fuel this desirable dance to change the world. It can feel much heavier than it needs to be. This shifting dance between macro, micro viewpoints is what keeps me going. I affirm to myself that I am still here doing it, despite graduating into a recession, despite never really having the money to do it in the ideal way, despite failing my 11+ at the age of 11, despite my unique way of learning and making sense of the world, despite feeling the noise of media narratives, other voices, and external factors, despite societal conditioning, challenging circumstances at various points in my life and brief moments of burnout where it has felt all too much. Despite all of this, I’m here doing it, and it is hard, but so far, I haven’t given up on myself, ideas, the people I work with, and my optimimistic manifesto which I often doubt. I don’t believe I’m a super hero, I have a loud imposter, and when I’m presented with an opportunity I sometimes let fear take the wheel. This is where I’m grateful for a crew, collaboration and people that see beyond all that stuff, to listen to what I’m not saying and to get to know me on a human level to understand why I might be the way that I am. Stories are nuanced and multi- faceted and I listen for what is not being said, just as much as I listen to what is. At the moment my creative will power is thinner on the ground at present, but I’m doing my very best to continue and to make a difference to people and communities in the Northwest and further a field through my work. I am hopeful for a sea change! In times where I feel I have reached a dead end. The question ‘what can I do in the mean time?’ Has allowed me to follow a path dancing in to the unknown. I am grateful to have such a wonderful network of people around me. Being a creative is a huge privilege, and even though at times I am not satisfied, I am hungry, and unfulfilled, I am aware of the dualities that exist within me, and how 16 year old Lauren would have marvelled at this weird, varied life. I used to feel a great deal of shame for wanting to dance in the extra ordinary parameters of what life could be, and this led me to find a dance between the duality of never feeling satisfied and feeling completely content with the ordinary aspects of life. I’m at a place where I would like to connect some dots, and that’s a wonderful place to be to create catalytic change, and to allow people to find peace and fulfilment. This feels like my own language here. Dancing in the spaces between language, feelings, behaviours, actions, knowledge, the giant gaps of the unknown. This is artistic territory. There is truth in my creative pursuits and I feel like I’m dancing at the heart of this endeavour. The endeavour to embed myself with people and communities, and to listen and learn with them in the hope that
"Chance favours The Connected Mind." Steven Johnson
(Johnson, S. (n.d.). Where good ideas come from. TED: Ideas Worth Spreading. https://www.ted.com/talks/steven_johnson_where_good_ideas_come_from?language=en)
This piece of writing aims to begin to connect the dots and identify emergent themes in my process orientated practice and to free me from the burdens I am facing today. Drawing my practice together sometimes feels like a challenging task. I feel that ‘The Secret Garden’ work is an opportunity to draw some learning together in a creative output, however I am meandering through, connecting ideas in a slow, long incubation period. Every conversation I have is research, every lived experience shapes my thinking around my own story, my creative voice, collectivism and connectivity. This MA is allowing me to map the learning journey of my creative pursuits and to identify common themes that are emerging in all of my areas of practice. Sitting within emergent open systems of cultural learning, creativity, culture and community development to connect with other people’s ideas, to enable ideas, to explore with by and for children and young people.
"Placemaking is both a philosophy and a practical process for transforming public spaces. It is centered on observing, listening to, and asking questions of the people who live, work, and play in a particular space in order to understand their needs and aspirations for that space and for their community as a whole.” (The Placemaking Process. (2022, August 19). Home — Project for Public Spaces. https://www.pps.org/article/5-steps-to-making-places)
All of my work sits within a place making agenda of some sort. I work with a place based approach, and my role shifts depending on where I am, and who I am working with. At present, I am part of ‘Create Place: the placemaking and co-creation leadership programme’ by Staffordshire University. I have attended a ‘Dance in the North’ network meeting, and attended various hyper local placemaking development meetings in towns and cities in my region of the Northwest with a desire to connect my artistic practice to the placemaking agendas. My previous dance development work with Cheshire Dance was instrumental in broadening my perspectives and world views concerning creativity, culture and place. One of my favourite moments was seeing a youth led festival in the town of Northwich, come to life, where children and families got up and danced in their town and children and young people brought that to life.
“As a Dance Artist working with Cheshire Dance since late 2015, Lauren has shown commitment both to her own artistic practice and to the development of the art form and opportunities for others to participate in it.
She is an incredibly passionate artist who is reflexive in her practice ensuring that she is always developing her approaches to create the highest quality work possible.
Her choreography is detailed, engaging and accessible and she works in such a way that she challenges both herself and the dancers so that she gets the best both out of the dancers and the material.
She is very welcoming of feedback and when shaping her work she values the voices of diverse stakeholders including audiences, artistic peers and those engaged in the subject matter she is exploring.
I believe a period of investment in her creative practice will have a profound effect on her practice and the work she will subsequently create. Ideally the model or approach she develops during this time will be replicable and enable her to work with other organisations thus scaling up her practice to the next level.”
Jane McLean- Cheshire Dance
At present I am just working on taking each step as it is presented to me, trying not drown in the noise concerned with the current fiscal climate, arts and cultural investment. I am in this for the long term, despite all of these challenges. I am deeply aware of the impact of our systemic issues, decision making, how we can use our voices to open gates, and to develop our systems to be more inclusive and transparent, to explore and challenge my role and responsibility to the future of the children and young people and our creative sector and Dance in the North. I trust that these tender challenges will remove division and enable freedom. We will dance together, again, again and again! (And as I write this, a spectrum of rainbow light, catches my hands, and I can feel it- The hopeful rainbow I mean!)
This section of the website will include reflections for Lauren's MA Study. This page is linked to Lauren Tucker's studies and creative practice which is broader than the work of Tuckshop Dance Theatre. Please enjoy my reflections in this learning journey.