Originating from ‘Answer the Question’ in the Theatre, Dance and Performance Training journal, this new section, The Practice Diaries Exchange, offers a chance for all people who have experience or are interested in performing arts training, including practitioners, artists, researchers, students and readers to (re)think about, explore, and discuss issues related to practice/training. It aims to emphasise the significance of long-term training and practicing processes in the performing arts.
In order to enable people to have a common ground to share and exchange varied training experiences, The Practice Diaries Exchange focuses on topics related to concepts of “practice” in diverse backgrounds and contexts. The Exchange, will periodically raise particular themes such as: What is training? What is a practice or practicing? What does training/practicing mean to you? What is the most difficult in training/practicing? How do you face difficulties in practices? These discussions may expand into a myriad of creative questions that could begin artistic explorations or small practice-as-research projects. For instance, what would you want to ask or tell “Practice” if “Practice” was a person capable of responding to you? Similarly, how might “Practice” teach?
While the Exchange will hopefully provide useful discussion, answering a question does not imply the end of a discussion but rather marks the beginning of a new exploration in training/practice. The approach of practice as research tends to see research not only as a way to arrive at answers but also as a way to explore, a pathway to future enquiry. Practitioners may never find an answer that is forever right for some questions. They have to persist in questioning themselves so their training will continue. In other words, because there are always hidden aspects of meaning to uncover that differ from stage to stage of training, practitioners can never see the end of their practice, regardless of how long they have been practicing.
The Practice Diaries Exchange aims to serve as a global, interactive, and open space for knowledge exchange, exploration, and discussion in a fashion more akin to a forum than a one-way question-and-answer session. Blog readers are encouraged to suggest and present questions on this webpage. Similarly, all readers are welcome to respond to the questions in a range of ways which may not necessarily be in the form of an answer, but might take the form of thoughts, ideas, arguments, or even other questions that expand from the original one. Beyond being an open forum, invited guests will be asked to respond to specific themes so that readers can also learn valuable embodied knowledge from experienced practitioners.
Because we regard training/practice as a long-term, ongoing learning process, all readers from diverse cultural backgrounds, training approaches, fields, experiences, and training stages are equally valuable on this platform for knowledge exchange. Emerging artists and performing arts students are encouraged to use the questions proposed here in the Exchange as exercises or provocations for one’s own artistic research methodology, and to share their findings or arguments rather than try to arrive at “correct” answers. By means of inviting dialogue amongst varied artistic areas, training methods, cultural contexts and perspectives, and practice phases, we can expect that the ensuing multi-layered constructive debates and rethinking will lead to broader conceptualizations of training/practice as research. The Practice Diaries Exchange, with its emphasis on sharing embodied knowledge, holds the ethical premise of respecting the rich knowledge of masters, yet at the same time maintains equality by recognising that anyone could potentially be our teacher.
Every two months, The Practice Exchange Diaries will pose a question to initiate a discussion session. Prior to posting the question for each two-month period, the TDPT blog News Page will post a call to solicit proposals for the question to be discussed in the next session. A proposal could include a short description to expand on the question.
In addition to articles, contributors are encouraged to present their findings to merge various methods including text, speech, sounds, pictures, videos, actions, and other forms of documentation specific to their practice-as-research projects to illustrate innovative methods of training. Because the projects will be displayed on a website, please carefully consider how your ideas might be presented in ways that are suitable to displaying online.
To submit a proposal for a question or a response to a posed question to The Practice Diaries Exchange, please contact the section’s editor I-Ying Wu at firstname.lastname@example.org