Studies Project Notes: Dance and Publish Salon

On March 3rd, 2015, The Movement Research Performance Journal and Critical Correspondence hosted a public salon, inviting interested parties to break into groups and discuss how to optimize the Circulation, Design and Content. Below we share with you some of the notes and thought that came up. Our goal at CC, is to continue to provide a platform for engaged inquiry and dialogue in contemporary dance and performance. We welcome any further thoughts and prompts on how to continue and improve this discussion. Please email us at [email protected]

The Salon invitation:

Dear Reader,
It is with pleasure and anticipation that we invite you to an upcoming Studies Project sponsored by Movement Research. As Movement Research's two publications-The Movement Research Performance Journal (semi-annual print edition) and  Critical Correspondence (monthly web edition)-move into their respective 3rd and 2nd decades, the editorial teams hope to enter into a more robust dialogue with you.  
The two-hour event will bring together agents of the dance publishing world in New York and members of the interested public. Buoyed by wine and modest vittles, we will break into three working groups focused on three themes: Design, Circulation and Content. Each working group will have auxiliary prompts and exercises to guide a hands-on, brains-on practicum leading to a larger, group conversation. The salon will be facilitated by Moriah Evans, Editor-in-chief, The Movement Research Performance Journal, and Biba Bell & Will Rawls, co-Editors, Critical Correspondence.  
Although the discussion took place in focus groups around the themes of Design, Circulation and Content, the results showed lots of overlap between these categories. Rather than separate these results into categories again, we've published the notes as a stream of conscious collective statement. CC will continue to find ways of improving its viability and implementing the suggestions that came up during the Studies Project.
Dance and Publish Salon, photo by Movement Research
Dance and Publish Salon, photo by Movement Research
Studies Project Notes: Dance and Publish Salon
Thoughts on the event itself—
The group discussion format of the Studies Project was successful way of generating multiple answers to editors questions. Raising questions from readers is an important practice.
Discussions and Questions—
What do readers want from a dance publication?:
- a filter
- a newsletter
- contextualization as a RESOURCE
- an opinion, a review
- a community
- an art project
- a trade magazine
- a history
- an archive
- advertising space for own work
- a platform
- content sharing with network
- research hub
- collection of different writings on dance by artists, academics, producers, curators
Dance and Publish Salon, photo by Movement Research
Dance and Publish Salon, photo by Movement Research
How does one produce writing or text if one isn't a writer? How does one approach dance if one isn't a dancer?
This salon is as much about finding new ways of writing and thinking and reading about dance as it is about contextualizing the publications that already exist.
Some dancers visit cultural publications that are not focused on dance, in order to see how dance is treated and framed in contexts outside of Movement Research.
How to separate or distinguish Critical Correspondence's identity, as a monthly newsletter, from Movement Research's website, since MR's website host's CC?
For Critical Correspondence, there are easier ways to embed our content in other sites. Journal, in theory, has more cumbersome circulation.
Next phase of research for CC: soliciting visitors from other sites, entering university curricula?
Both MR Performance Journal / Critical Correspondence: these publications are major a RESOURCE. Few other examples of them in the field. How do we collaborate with other publications in the field and circulate discussions and artist's ideas more widely?Movement Research Performance Journal is oldest print publications experimental dance in the country. How to situate it better as a resource?    
Dance and Publish Salon, photo by Movement Research
Dance and Publish Salon, photo by Movement Research
Academic researchers (PhD's, professors, art historians) use CC and MRPJ as primary source of artists discussing their own work. CC and MRPJ contribute to the scholarship with wide-reaching impact. How do we track this impact? How do we solicit further interviews and content from these academic users?
Approach to content—When covering a story or an artist or object of inquiry what about using a 2nd and 3rd degree distance from the 'object' or site of inquiry? i.e. Two artists talking about two other artists, or another project altogether. Deflect, reflect. Herko dialogue model (See Critical Correspondence's Herko Dialogues series from December 2014)
Online platform vs. Online content
- the platform, as a structure, feels like its own object. It brings up questions ofcontemporaneity, how does this object persist in time/age/endure?
  - the immediacy of online publication, addresses urgency or quick back-and-forth discussion/arguing/gossip. Gawker/HyperAllergic examples. Bomb magazine.
How do we navigate questions of insularity within dance? Contemporary dance often accused of being too insular - and accusation that comes from inside as well as outside the field. What do we gain from becoming more accessible, either through different circulation strategies or different content?
Is accessibility defines in terms of content, popularity in Google search, digital versus print modalities? Who are the voices that dictate our discussions?
As we work on capturing and synthesizing our own history, are we reading or publishing enough of what younger dancers and dance makers have to say and write? What about diversity of voices? What is the primary demographic of Movement Research? Who do we want our readers to be?
Dance and Publish Salon, photo by Movement Research
Dance and Publish Salon, photo by Movement Research
  Print publication takes time, delay for publication can take weeks, years. But, the print object is held in the hand, returned to again and again, whereas digital content is meant to be buried everyday by new postings and requires advanced searches to locate.  
Contextualization without criticism vs. the importance of Criticism/ criticality.
- publication is not just to support artists but be challenging
- how to define "support"—veneer of support vs. critical engagement with an artist's work
- negativity vs. challenge - what is positive criticism?
- how can we redefine the idea of a dance review?
- the "Critical" in CC is necessary, how to enhance the potential of criticality?
- the importance of embedding dance discourse in other fields, disciplines, platforms
What is dance's OWN critical language? from the body? Knowledge that comes from its embodied history—a history of dance education, performance, body to body transfer of information?
Readers are oversaturated with content/publications. Do people actually READ the Performance Journal? Reading, skimming, glancing. How can one engage with it? A question of design and platform, of accessibility.
What is missing content-wise? Artist's may not go to dance texts to fill their gaps (read instead philosophy, New Yorker, poetry, etc.).  What is missing for the field, whether you read it or not, what needs to be there??
Dance and Publish Salon, photo by Movement Research
Dance and Publish Salon, photo by Movement Research
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