The Touch Diaries

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The Touch Diaries is a research project led by Bristol based choreographer, Lisa May Thomas that looks deeply into the themes of touch, connection and community. It is also exploring how human contact can have an impact on our physical and mental health and wellbeing.

Project research is being carried out via a series of workshops across the South West open to all ages and mobilities that are exploring the project themes of touch and connection through movement, sound, rhythm and discussion. So far, Lisa and her team have led workshops in Bath and Dartington. The next workshop will be in Bristol on Wednesday 21st January 2-5pm at Trinity Centre open to 55+ of all mobilities, with workshops following at various locations across the South West. If you are interested in taking part in the Bristol workshop or would like to find out more about the other workshops, please contact production assistant Katherine Hall.

My favourite activity was standing with a partner, making eye contact, holding hands, then releasing the hold and, with our eyes closed, gently turning in a circle until we found the hand again, opened our eyes, looked at each other, smiled then moved onto the next person. When my eyes were open and I could see everyone gently turning in circles, arms outstretched to find the lost hand, re-connect, it was like a beautiful slow dance. I think if everyone did this at the start of their working day it would go a long way to building trust, breaking barriers and hierarchies.

(Jan, Workshop Participant in Dartington)

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Anyone interested in the project research is invited to complete a Touch Diary!

The diary has space for each individual to track and record moments of physical contact through each day over a maximum of a 7-day period via a series of set questions as well as free spaces in which to record their thoughts and experiences. There is also space for people to recall and write about past moments or periods of life remembered through touch and connection.

If you would like to complete a Touch Diary please contact Katherine Hall with a preference for print or digital versions. Currently a mobile app is being developed!

Research collated through the workshops and touch diaries will inform the project team’s creative process leading to the production of a film and live performance experience. The film will address ideas, questions and work with real-life stories and memories that are significant to the research. Some of these ideas will be taken into more physical movement with a team of professional performers.

As part of this process Lisa is working with the Physical Cultural Studies Group at the University of Bath to reflexively evaluate the project process and outcomes.

The film will premier at ICIA, University of Bath on 9th July 2015 with accompanying talks delivered by Lisa May Thomas and the Physical Cultural Studies Group.

For more information and to keep updated with project blogs please visit: www.touchdiaries.co.uk

Lisa May Thomas: www.lisamaythomas.co.uk

To enquire about The Touch Diaries workshops or to request a Touch Diary please contact Assistant Producer, Katherine Hall: klhall90@gmail.com

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This project is supported by Arts Council England, Bath Dance, Theatre Bristol, ICIA, Jniversity of Bath, Trinity Centre, The Marine Theatre, Dartington, West Dorset District Council, Activate.

Photography: © Paul Blakemore 2014

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