L19 Guest Blogs: Meet Hannah Buckley of The Mountain and Other Tales of She Transformed.
Next up in our series of L19 Guest Q&As, we meet Hannah Buckley for her take on L19, and how her event’s pioneering use of dance and movement expressed a feminist message of female interaction with, and command of, space.
Q: How did you find out about Leeds International Festival?
Through my producer – the legendary Anna Turzynski.
Q: Why did you want to get involved?
I had a new solo work that I felt would sit well in the context of Leeds Int Fest, and as a Leeds based artist I always want to find ways to contribute to the arts scene here.
Q: Tell us about your event. What did you submit, and did it evolve before its final iteration at the festival?
My event was a performance of my solo dance performance The Mountain and Other Tales of She Transformed. The solo is a meditation on ‘feminism as the female command of space’ – the many things this could mean and the many ways it could manifest. It is inspired by mountains, fairytales and a 1970s body work book for women. Thoughts and feelings around the ‘female command of space’ are transfigured into movement, sound and imagery.
The solo is always accompanied by a workshop by visual artist Nicola Singh. The workshop explores expanded practices of painting, sculpture and writing in relation to the body. Her workshop combines processes used in the making of the installation, Nicola’s own practice, and the themes of my solo to explore physical and choreographic approaches to making visual art. Through the workshop, the participants complete the set for the performance.
I submitted an event that included the performance and multiple workshops with different artists. When I applied for LIF the solo wasn’t made yet and Nicola and I hadn’t come to the idea of the workshop completing the set. So it did evolve slightly – well, more like a refining of the ideas – in that there was only one workshop.
Q: What did the festival do for you / your brand / your event?
Anna and I worked with Leeds Arts University to host our event.
This was a new connection for me in terms of venue / organisation, which was exciting.
The event was also an opportunity to reach a new audience, and people who haven’t seen my work before.
Q: What do you think of Leeds’ creative landscape?
It’s great! Lots of really hard-working, friendly and supportive independent artists, as well as fantastic independent producers such as Anna Turzynski and Amy Letman who are really making things happen! On top of that we have a lot of organisations and independent festivals who are working their socks off to build and support the creative landscape in Leeds. We also have some great teachers and institutes in the city.
Leeds has supported my practice in lots of ways, so I’m grateful for that!
Q: Is Leeds changing? How are festivals and events such as ours shaping the city?
It’s definitely changing, but exactly how I couldn’t tell you! The same goes for how events are shaping the city…I just know as an artist it’s great to have opportunities to show your own work in your hometown. It’s also really important to have the opportunity to watch the work of other artists – local, national and international ones.
Q: What’s changed, personally or professionally, from you having taken part in L19? How did the event go for you?
My event gave me the chance to connect with new organisations which I hope will lead to fruitful future relationships.
The event went well – it was only the second time I had performed the work and for L19 I tried a different format. So it gave me an opportunity to understand the work more, and I got a lot of really positive feedback.
In terms of upcoming projects, I am actually developing an intergenerational dance project for women, called We Are Now. I am running a We Are Now Summer School in August at Yorkshire Dance, which costs £25 per person for the week. The course will provide space for women across the generations to come together, move, and be creative!
Q: What advice would you give to someone entering the open call for L20?
The same advice I give to students I teach in relation to applications – take your time to think about if what you are applying with genuinely fits the call out. Don’t try and shoe-horn ideas into opportunities!