Project Archive

Dispatches from the Source

Choreographic Research Project

It was a green – veined white, its wings, tributaries of a river, flowing towards the source.

An extended period of choreographic research thinking through river banks, river sources and source materials.

Paper works and Project Blogs

 Approaching Choreography – a work on paper

An Action Score for Place Making Blog

 Dispatches from the Source:Writings from Improvisation

The project was undertaken in collaboration with dancers Tim Rubidge and Merav Israel, film maker Christo Wallers and composer Matt Collings.


 Stone Lives

Video Projection / Drawing / Audio / Objects

by Kate Foster and Claire Pencak

How do you know the shape of your skull ?

By placing a stone on it, maybe?

Merav Israel (Dancer)

An exploration of a riverside habitat through a process of improvisation.

Improvisation encourages thinking on your feetIt is about responding to and being in relationship to –a person, a place, an object or an idea – at a given time, season and place. It is a process towards finding ways to move around, over, under and through that might offer opportunities to be in a slightly different relationship to place. Claire Pencak

The work  emerged from a series of riverside meetings – the meeting of the Yarrow and Ettrick Waters, the meeting between an environmental artist and dancers and the meeting between artists and social anthropologists.

All these rocks are underneath our feet as we walk and move around on top of them – but carrying a rock on your head? Well the river can carry these rocks, and yet the river is so loose and flowing and fluid and here today and gone tomorrow, yet it can carry rocks with such a lightness of touch. Whereas when we carry the rocks on our heads I didn’t feel there was a lightness of touch, because one had to adopt a lightness of touch – otherwise the rock got too rocky! Tim Rubidge

The development of Stone Lives was supported by the University of Aberdeen as a Speculative Ground project.

Acknowledgements to Philiphaugh Estate, Jen Clarke, Rachel Harkness, Merav Israel and Tim Rubidge.

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Working the Tweed

river ways

A Year of Natural Scotland 2013 collaboration between artists and river specialists.

An exploration of the contemporary river culture of the Tweed Catchment through human and other influences, bringing to the surface some of the less-known worlds, maps, voices and languages of the Tweed.

Full documentation of this place making project can be viewed by visiting the dedicated blog page Working the Tweed

Between the Web and the Loom

A moving image, textile and sound installation

‘Beautiful work, so exact in execution, precise in feel. Fantastic.’ 

Audience comment

Tabula Rasa Collaboration between tapestry artist Joan Baxter, moving image artist John McGeoch, choreographer Claire Pençak, dancer Shamita Ray and composer James Wyness.

The  installation brings together choreography, textiles, film and video mapping and sound.

I found myself very moved – a beautifully realised work placed in a fantastic setting – spiritual and profound. Audience comment.

Here is a vimeo link to one element of the work that was projected into a weavers sample from the Hunters of Brora Mill. Between the Web and the Loom




Chartless Rudderless Night

A  moving image installation and 4 channel sound piece

Really loved this piece. So imaginative and very clever. Simply wonderful   (Audience comment)

Collaborating Artists

 Choreographer Claire Pencak               Dancers Merav Israel and Will Thorburn

Moving image artist John McGeoch   Composers Helen Papaioannou and Alessandro Altavilla

Technician Brian Gorman.

The work was inspired by the eleven major lighthouses of Orkney.

It expresses the collision of wave on rock, ships that pass in the night, the scanning beam of a lighthouse on dark seas and the smallness of humankind in the face of the elements.

The sound composition for saxophone and double bass draws on the mapping, individual light characteristics and rhythm of the  lighthouses.



The Pollination Project 2012 – 2013

 A creative residency in The Centre for Rural Economy, Newcastle University

The residency has opened me up to all sorts of possible ways of developing relationships with people and doing research at the same time,through a creative process….. it was a residency of small transformations

Dr Karen Scott, Research Fellow, CRE

The Leverhulme Trust funded residency was specifically linked to The Hidden Work of Beekeepers an independent research project led by Dr Karen Scott, Lord Richard Percy Research Fellow and Sue Bradley, Research Associate, The Centre for Rural Economy.

The aim was to bring a cross disciplinary approach to a project around beekeeping which would explore new ways to recognise, interpret and represent beekeeper’s experiences and would engage with the public and University staff through creative projects and performance events.

 ….it made me think about knowledge exchange through a completely different lens.

Amy Proctor, Research Associate

You wedged your door open with a very delicious smelling chunk of bees wax which meant there was a glorious smell emanating from that room, which meant the room was full of promise! When you opened the door then there were things in that you room that you wouldn’t see in other offices on this floor. I loved that. I found it very stimulating. They were interesting, they weren’t immediately explicit, they were triggers to the imagination.

Sue Bradley, Research Associate

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Test Trenches

A creative dialogue between archaeologists and artists

The term ‘test trench’ is borrowed from archaeology and refers to an exploratory trench dug in response to a geophysics survey to investigate whether it is worth proceeding with a full excavation of a site.

Over the span of a year a dialogue between choreographer Claire Pencak and archaeologists Antonia Thomas and Dan Lee developed into a cross disciplinary collaboration between artists and archaeologists.

Test Trenches Collaborators

Brian Hartley Visual Artist
Dan Lee Archaeologist
Claire Pençak Choreographer
Glenda Rome Film maker
Antonia Thomas Archaeologist
Bill Thompson Sound Artist

Cheryl Gill and Lindsay Allan: Student Placement Dancers from the Scottish School of Contemporary Dance

Read an extract from  ‘Creating Contexts: Between the Archaeological Site and Art Gallery’, by Antonia Thomas that discusses Test Trenches here  Test Trenches Project

The paper is published in IA Russell & A Cochrane (eds), Art and Archaeology: Collaborations, Conversations, Criticisms. New York: Springer-Kluwer.

Click here to read a review by Catherine Turnbull in Northings.Test Trenches Review Northings

Dance Works

1999 – 2009

To get an overview of choreographic work prior to 2010 please go to the archive site