Welcome to the Innovative Conservatoire

ICON Seminar 8

Dartington Hall


Theme of the 8th Seminar: The Craft of Collaboration

Last updated August 8, 2016

For the 8th seminar, ICON will return to Dartington Hall, Devon, England, for a seminar that will be centered around the theme of The Craft of Collaboration.

Collaboration is becoming more important as we find ourselves moving from a single discipline to working across disciplines, moving from separation between performer and audience to co-creation, and extending approaches to teaching and learning from one-way transmission to shared work.

These all depend on ‘The craft of collaboration’.

Collaboration is everywhere. Increasingly it seems to be a normal professional demand, including collaborating across disciplines. As musicians we have a lot of experience of collaborating with other musicians, in chamber music, orchestras and so on. On the other hand interdisciplinary collaboration, for example, may be much more unfamiliar and challenging.

The whole idea of collaboration is of course already deeply rooted in the Innovative Conservatoire, in the working forms that we use together and in themes that we address. We have already explored and will continue to explore, for example, interactions between students and teachers, searching for ways in which we can encourage more two-way traffic and transformational exchange, and discover ways in which to extend collaboration.

We have also begun to examine a growing interest in how as artists we can work on collaborating with our audiences. In many contexts, it is becoming clear that the traditional paradigm of being on a stage and delivering what we have to offer, with something of a one-way flow from “us” to “them”, is not fulfilling people’s needs and desires sufficiently. In many contexts there is a thirst for more interactive or participatory experiences, or for us to open the doors to co-creating work with audiences. This raises all kinds of questions and possibilities about can we make more of an exchange in performing.

This seminar will be driven by three big sets of questions:

Is all this just a fad? Why do we want to explore interdisciplinary collaboration at all? Why disturb our focus? Beyond satisfying current trends and making the most of funding opportunities, what do we hope to achieve, what do we want to learn? What are the bigger stories for us as artists and as human beings. What motivates us?

Where are the real meeting points between disciplines, between musicians and actors, music and visual art for example? How can we discover these meeting points, shared working spaces and practices? What do we each need to bring to the table? What processes and approaches open the door to collaboration? Similarly how can we collaborate with our audiences? What are our responsibilities.

How do collaborative processes take shape? What patterns are there, beginnings, middles, ends? What kinds of environments, skills, approaches and interactions are useful at each stage? What challenges come up, and who can help?

To view the draft programme visit the resources area.

Please click here to view a blog on Collaboration by John Sloboda, Research Professor at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama.

Event Resources

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Last updated August 8, 2016


Each participant is invited to bring an inspiration with them to the seminars. This ranges from a quote from a book or a piece of poetry to a score or an image, relating to the seminar theme.

Last updated August 8, 2016


Each institution sends between 2—4 participants to each seminar. ICON members associated with this seminar are shown here. Click on a member’s photo to be taken to their profile page.

Last updated August 8, 2016