Body of/as knowledge




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Peer reviewed



This performative presentation focuses on a strand of my practice that considers my body as an archive that has the potential to give rise to new performance work. Memory and archive are considered synergistically to create meaning anew from prior experiences and is a process defined by André Lepecki as one that generates rather than imitates (2010: 29). Treating memory as a mechanism with which to document previous experiences (that include movement training and techniques) allows me to trace the lineage of certain ideas, preferences and skills that are present in my performance making. Logging or tracing such influences and experiences offers me a valuable insight into the nature of my practice(s) and acts as an underpinning for new work.
I will make reference to three of my performances (a dance for radio (1994); Hourglass (2015) and Hourglass: Archive as Muse (2015)) as examplars of how knowledge and experience housed in my body have been ‘used, cited, or re-appropriated […] for new purposes’ (Burt 2003: 34) and thus, how the body can be conceived of as a 'non-material museum' (Lista 2014).

I will draw also upon a current research project that I am working on in collaboration with dance artists/academics Rachel Krische and Lisa Osborne. Invited by Dance4 to engage in a dialogue that focuses on the body as archive, we three will engage in monthly conversation about our practices and the role that our personal archive plays in our work. This presentation includes preliminary findings from our discussions thus far to elucidate the concept of the The (Moving) Body as Archive.



Archive, Documentation, memory, Contemporary performance making


Doughty, S. (2016) ‘Body of/as Knowledge’. Performance presentation at the Body^Space^Object^Memory^Identity conference, Coventry University, Friday 20 May 2016


Research Institute

Institute of Drama, Dance and Performance Studies