Music Seminar: Dancing with Pain: Ecologies of Pain

Music Seminar: Dancing with Pain: Ecologies of Pain

This past event was cancelled

In this performance lecture artist-researcher Sarah Hopfinger will discuss and reflect on her ongoing project Ecologies of Pain, which is a performance research project that creatively explores the insights between living with chronic pain and living with, and relating to, wider ecological pain. Living and working with chronic pain can offer insights into what it means to live with fragility and uncertainty, as well as involving expertise in relating to loss and despair. These processes are arguably key at this time of ecological catastrophe and environmental emergency. Ecologies of Pain investigates how the particular 'pain' knowledges of people living with chronic pain can be explored and developed as creative practices of resilience for living in a 'wounded earth' (Haraway, 2016). As part of this performance lecture, Sarah will also discuss her current performance project, Pain and I - a diversely accessible body of work that includes a live performance, digital audio piece & graphic score. Sarah has lived with chronic back and neurological pain for over 20 years, and has largely related to her pain as a barrier to her life and work. For this performance she turns towards her pain as a creative collaborator, exploring it as an unwanted life partner and intimate companion. Pain and I playfully and unashamedly acknowledges the hardships and celebrates the richness of living with chronic pain. It invited audiences to reflect on what it means to care for our bodies, ourselves, each other in times of personal and collective pain.

CONTENT WARNING: Some sensitive subjects will be discussed in this talk. For further information, please contact Dr Christina Ballico

Please contact Dr Christina Ballico if you wish to attend via Microsoft Teams.

Dr Sarah Hopfinger (She/Her) is an artist-researcher, working across live art, choreography, theatre, disability and crip practices, queerness, ecology and environmentalism. She is a researcher at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Sarah makes collaborative, participatory and solo performances, often working with diverse collaborators including children and adults, trained and non-trained dancers, disabled and non-disabled performers, and nonhuman objects and materials. Her performances are presented nationally and internationally, with organisations such as Festival Quartiers Danses, Take Me Somewhere, Made In Scotland, Battersea Arts Centre, South London Gallery, Buzzcut. 


Sarah regularly publishes her research in peer reviewed journals and books. Journals include Performance Research, Research in Drama Education (RiDE) and Studies in Theatre and Performance. She has chapters in books such as Diffracting New Materialisms: Emerging Methods in Artistic Research and Higher Education (Palgrave 2023), Cambridge Companion to Theatre and Ecology (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2024) and Routledge Companion to European Theatre and Peformance (Routledge, 2023). 


Her performances and practice-led research respond to her lived experiences and she creates performance as a way to practice alternative and ethical ways of living and being in the world. Her work is philosophically based in, firstly, a crip politics that embraces and celebrates disability as a valid and valuable lifeway, and, secondly, ecological and posthumanist thinking that acknowledges human's unavoidable entanglements in nonhuman life. Her aim is to practice crip politics and ecological philosophy through how and what she creates. She approaches performance-making as a way to ask difficult questions, to be in the unknown and complexities of those questions, and to practice curiosity and openness. 

Dr Sarah Hopfinger
MacRobert Building, MR055

Please contact Dr Christina Ballico