Dance development organizations in Europe are diverse constellations of structures and professionals. They engage with and are part of the contemporary dance sector's transformations. Constantly moving forward, they work by trial and error to explore how best to support the art form and its professionals and to find new ways to develop the relationship with audiences and citizens. Responding to changes and challenges within society is the basis of ongoing work that seeks to build more diverse, equitable, and sustainable models.
In 2023, all of European Dance Development Network's activities have revolved around the topic of 'Equity' - a grand word that frames a broad range of issues in today's society. To narrow the focus and set a direction, the network started to identify specific topics and issues in 2022 at an EDN Think-In in Barcelona with members and professionals from the dance field, followed by a roundtable discussion at ICE HOT Helsinki. Research started in earnest in January 2023 with Rivca Rubin's Upwording webinar. The aim was to create awareness around how words sustain hierarchies and how changing perspective through words can create more equity between colleagues (and in life). The webinar was followed by three EDN Atelier workshops, a Carte Blanche Artist Exchange, an Encounter, and a Think-in meeting, all bringing together international and local artists, programmers, curators, and cultural policymakers to exchange knowledge and models of practice.
Together, nearly 300 professionals from the broader contemporary dance field contributed their thoughts to the question of equity in working conditions this year. By looking at disabling conditions and systemic barriers, by discussing the periphery-center binary, and by investigating equity in dance practices and collaboration models, we have collectively moved.
In her insightful overview, Dr. Alexandra Baybutt captures the pluralities of our field and the depth of conversation and activity on this topic. With Dr. Baybutt's tools for reflection and tools for practice, we can now make some of the emerging practices and strategies of the European contemporary dance sector accessible to many.
We are thankful to all the contributors to this research and especially to Dr. Alexandra Baybutt for this immense work.
The EDN office team
Christoph Bovermann, Eva Broberg,
Gaja Lužnik, and Gebra Serra i Bosch