2022 marks the third consecutive year that NAISDA and the National Institute of Dramatic Arts (NIDA) have teamed up for a week of creative collaboration. We were delighted that NAISDA Board of Studies Chair Dr Nerida Blair and NAISDA graduate, choreographer, artist and performance maker Vicki Van Hout helped guide our learning and explore this year’s inspiring creative journey.
Each year’s collaboration builds on the previous one, creating invaluable learning, networking and cross-collaboration experiences for NAISDA and NIDA students. Working in small groups, students from both organisations are asked to explore and share themes, ideas, skills and mediums to develop original creative works, with full creative autonomy throughout the process.
This year, the focus for learning was examining the creative process itself, breaking down the fundamental elements behind creating new works, stories and practice.
The week began with Dr Nerida Blair working with students on the concept of “Lilyology”. Dr Blairs’ sensitive guidance helped frame the important conversations and exchange for the rest of the week. Putting everyone in a space to recognise the point of unlimited potential that sits between Indigenous Knowings and Western knowledge, Dr Blair’s introduction provided a foundation of trust and reflection which allowed students to explore viewpoints and engage in new ways of working.
Vicki Van Hout is an independent, interdisciplinary performance-maker who uses dance as a vehicle to expand her practice to include poetry, prose, set design, and short film formats. Building on Dr Blair’s seminars, she worked with students in the NIDA studios to engage with the process of creating works related to Indigenous Knowings. This included a series of partnering exercises involving pushing, pulling, dragging, collapsing, repelling and counterbalance movements. The physicality of the work building trust between students to explore narrative perspectives in the creative process of storytelling.
NAISDA’s Advanced Diploma Coordinator, Alfred Taahi, commented on how enjoyable it was watching Vicki guide students through the exercises.
“Vicki has such a unique way of including an element of surprise in her teachings. You think you are doing one thing, and that you know what the outcome will be, then there is an unexpected plot twist and suddenly you realise the lesson you are learning is something completely different. It was great seeing her take the students through this illuminating process,” said Alfred.
The collaboration has grown into an important and established part of the NAISDA and NIDA program. Our sincere thanks to Dr Blair, Vicki Van Hout and everybody that helped make this week’s learning happen. It is a valuable and refreshing opportunity to refine skills, build relationships and prepare for the multidisciplinary practice of working within the creative industries.