Dr Sarah Hopfinger

Project Title: Chronic pain, Ecological Pain and Performance

Ecologies of Pain is a performance research project that creatively explores the insights between living with chronic pain and living with, and relating to, wider ecological pain. I am an artist-researcher, working in live art, dance and theatre. I have lived with chronic back pain for 18 years and have largely related to my pain as a barrier to my arts practice and research. Recently, I have explored ways of creatively working with my pain through choreographic and performance practices. 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 involves collaborating with artists, young people and adults with chronic pain, in order to investigate how their particular ‘pain’ knowledges can be explored and developed as creative practices of resilience for living in a ‘wounded earth’ (Haraway, 2016).

The project culminates in a public performance at Platform in Glasgow, devised and performed by artists and community participants with chronic pain. Other research outcomes include publications in the Scottish Journal of Performance and Research in Drama Education. The project has also resulted in a grant application to the AHRC to develop a Disability and Ecology network of artists, activists and academics.

Awarded: Research Incentive Grant

Field: Music, Drama & Performing Arts

University: Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

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