To make Figuring possible, the project calls upon the support and input from many talented collaborators of varying disciplines.

Lisa May Thomas

Lisa May Thomas

Artistic co-lead
Bio
Lisa May Thomas is an award-winning dance and film artist. She received her professional dance training at Laban in London (1995), and has since continued to train in contemporary dance techniques, improvisation and somatic practices. She delivers classes and workshops for professional dancers, community and inclusive groups of dancers and non-dancers, older people, children and young people, and inter-generational groups. Her screen-dance work has won numerous awards and has been screened at film festivals across the globe. Her film There is a Shipwreck in My Bones (2011) was presented in Taiwan and Shanghai as part of the On Site Impromtus programme (2016-17), and Tea Time (2006) was screened on Channel 4, BBC & ABC. Her recent community dance project The Touch Diaries (2015-16) combined dance workshops with ethnographic research toward the production of an award-wining dance film and live performance: The project was presented at the Arts and Health South West International Health and Wellbeing Conference (2016). Lisa has worked extensively in the intersection of performance and technology; working as lead dancer for danceroom Spectroscopy (2012-15) and creating Dances with Avatars: Embodied Turing Test as part of her MPhil practice-based-research project (2016). Lisa is currently taking a dance-somatic approach to a multi-person, interactive Virtual Reality framework as part of her practice-as-research PhD project with the University of Bristol, joint between departments of theatre and computer science. She is supported by a University of Bristol Arts Scholarship and funding from the Leverhulme Trust. She is a Pervasive Media Studio resident and member of cross-disciplinary research group Glowacki Group at the University of Bristol.
Dr David Glowacki

Dr David Glowacki

Scientific co-lead
Bio
David R. Glowacki (DRG) is a Royal Society Research Fellow at the University of Bristol, a Philip Leverhulme fellow, and visiting scholar at Stanford University. He is recognized internationally for his work developing high-performance computing frameworks to model physics in nanoscale systems. In addition to publishing widely across a range of scientific and artistic disciplines, he also works as an artist. His multi-award-winning artworks, which combine digital aesthetics with state-of-the-art interactive computing, have been experienced by over 200,000 people across three continents. In Bristol, DRG leads a cross-disciplinary academic research group whose members have expertise spanning molecular physics, computer science, human–computer interaction, virtual reality, digital audio processing, performance, and contemporary dance. DRG is a resident at Bristol’s Pervasive Media Studio & co-founder of multi-award winning software company Interactive Scientific Ltd. He is the recipient of multiple prizes, including the 2014 Royal Society of Chemistry Harrison-Meldola Memorial Prize, the 2016 Philip Leverhulme award, and the Molecular Graphics and Modelling Society’s 2017 Silver Jubilee Award.
Adam Laity

Adam Laity

Documentation & Cinematography
Bio
Adam Laity is an award-winning cinematographer and filmmaker working in documentary, fiction and experimental shorts and feature films. His work has been screened at international festivals and galleries round the world and in 2014 he won the Royal Photographic Society’s DepicT! Cinematography Award for his short film, The Peace of Wild Things. His work often focusses on the relationship between human figures within a landscape, and explores how ‘we, the human’ interact with and see ourselves within an environment. This passion for landscape is reflected in his practice-led research PhD- working within the Digital Cultures Research Centre at the University of the West of England- looking at the relationship between the cinematographer and the emergence of a contemporary eco-sublime landscape, and how this functions as a way for humans to visually understand or re-frame ourselves within the landscape of the Anthropocene.

He worked with Lisa May Thomas on her last film project The Touch Diaries, where they developed techniques and methodologies for exploring and documenting movement on video in affecting, expressive and intimate ways. Building on this work Adam will be working closely with Lisa, the Figuring dancers and the designers of both the physical and virtual spaces to tell the story of this research in an authentic and engaging way that enables the work for both a public and an academic audience.

His project outputs will include the production of creative video documentation as an invaluable tool in practice-led research; production of high quality video as promotional material that can be used online to generate interest in the project, increase public awareness of the research and can function as an important method to access future funds for the research project; and he will also be serving as cinematographic advisor on the project as a whole, specifically with a mind to developing the relationship between VR and cinematography by investigating what both mediums share, as well as what each can learn from the other. In particular, he is interested in the use of lighting, lens function, the place of the horizon as a way of grounding oneself in VR and the role of ‘camera perspective’ within VR.

Alex Jones

Alex Jones

Sound Technology
Bio
I have worked on numerous research and performative projects relating to digital audio, HCI and performance. I’ve completed a BSc(Hons) in Audio Music Technology at the University of the West of England (UWE) in 2017 and I’m currently a PhD student at both the University of Bristol and UWE. I’m also a resident of the Pervasive Media Studio and perform occasional improvised electronic music when the opportunity arises.

In general, I will be working on all audio related parts of the project. I will be taking specific responsibilities for sonification strategies for the data produced by the molecular simulations that we are using. Sound can serve as a bridge between the real and the simulated molecular worlds. The challenge is in designing auditory representations of molecular phenomenon that provide intelligible clues as to mechanics at this level.

Ania Varez

Ania Varez

Dancer
Bio
My name is Ania Varez. I am a Venezuelan artist based in Bristol, UK. Migration is at the centre of my life and my creative practice. I work within the dynamics between people and the place they inhabit. Using the experience of being in our bodies, I aim to facilitate spaces for people to exercise care, choice and attention, collectively creating new ways of being together and being here. My work appears in different mediums, from one-to-one conversations to interventions of the public space, immersive performances, improvisations and books.

I trained and have worked as a professional dancer for a long time. Since last year, I have begun directing my individual practice towards community- engaging and context-specific work, so my dance background is currently feeding an interdisciplinary practice.

Bamboo (2017), a performance that unravels the fragile threads of our connection to dying forms of existence, it appeals to the potential of intimacy, curiosity and individual will to invite people back to awareness and remembrance. Created as a part of the Tree Tree Tree Person II Art Residency. Showed at the Taipei Contemporary Art Center.
Instructions for leaving and arriving (2017) an installation in the form of one-to-one conversations about the notions of home, Tainan city. As a part of the Tree Tree Tree Person II Art Residency. Showcased in Howl Space, Tainan City.
Wolves will be watching (2015-2017), it channels the feelings of uncertainty and excitement of (…) deciding which path to take at the crossroads of our lives. A strong critique to the dance industry, a revealing glimpse into struggle and a manifesto of friendship and togetherness. Performed in it as a member of The Sparse Collective, which collaborated with Igor and Moreno, London based ground-breaking choreographers, in the creation of this work. Most recently performed at The Bunker Theatre, London 07/12/17. At the race (2015), a performance exploring the effects of constant movement in our bodies. What remains in our physical being after movement has occurred? Using the act of running as a metaphor for migration, Ania Varez attempts to reach the limits of her physicality (…). Choreography by Ania Varez, music by Aleph Aguiar. Performed at the Bolivar Hall the Venezuelan Embassy, London.

Beyond my experience and curiosity as a dancer, I’m hoping my thoughts regarding the relationship between people and landscapes will nourish our collective process around the different ways people relate to virtual spaces, which is an exciting a new landscape for me to explore!

Anne-Gaëlle Thiriot

Anne-Gaëlle Thiriot

Dancer
Bio
I am an independent dance artist interested in improvisation, composition, performance, community and architecture, and hungry for bodies and collaborations. Educated via the non-violent martial art form of Aikido, I self-trained in contemporary dance for a few years in my late teens/early 20’s: Limon, release-based, Contact Improvisation, Instant Composition, as well as in Butoh and Body-weather techniques from Japan. I moved to the UK in 2007, entering a post-graduate programme in Dance and Community and then a Specialist Diploma in Choreology both at Trinity Laban.

Making work, performing and collaborating with choreographers and artists in the UK and in Europe (Annie Lok, Simonetta Alessandri, Lisa-May Thomas, Tara D’Arquian, Laura Doehler, h2dance, Laila Diallo, Joe Moran, Noa Zamir, amongst others.), I have been an associate artist with Candoco Dance Company since 2010, leading many educational and artistic projects, and I have a particular interest in the empowerment that can be achieved through dance. I follow a poetic research weaving perception, form and feeling into my movement language and made and performed a solo called Vertigos in 2013/14. In the past years I have been involved in Lisa-May Thomas’ vast research and performance projects Grassblades and The Touch Diaries, recording and investigating poetic contents of and people’s relationships to touch, across many backgrounds and generations. I have also made a solo work called Vertigos and have created and co-run the Contact Improvisation @ Goldsmiths (SE London) with students for the past 7 years.

I am a dancer/collaborator on the Figuring Project.

Becca Rose

Becca Rose

Physical Material Design
Bio
Becca Rose is an artist, designer and educator. She makes playful work at the intersection of craft, education, and technology. She combines textile techniques, traditional crafts, and smart materials to explore how age-old knowledge in the hands can inform the way we think about new technologies, and often runs educational workhsops to explore these processes.

Becca works on creative education projects, and in the past worked on projects with NuVu, Exploratorium, Playable Cities, Code Liberation Foundation, Interactive Scientific, Maker Ed, and San Francisco Center for the Book. She studied Design Education at Goldsmiths, and currently works as a senior lecturer in Creative Media Design and is a member of the DCRC at the University of the West of England.

Ben McEwen

Ben McEwen

Dancer
Bio
I’m Ben and I’m a dancer. I graduated from TrinityLaban before going on to complete the training cycle at P.A.R.T.S. (BE). Now I regularly work as a performer and researcher for, among others; Charlotte Spencer Projects, Vera Tussing, Francesco Scavetta/Wee and Benjamin Pohlig & Sunniva Vikør Egenes. Alongside performing I teach at conservatoires, universities and professional classes throughout Europe. I also practice Aikido at Tetsushinkan/MovingEast and enjoy wandering amongst mountains and running barefoot.

I’ll be contributing many of my very best moves to Figuring.

Bryn Thomas

Bryn Thomas

Dancer
Bio
Bryn Thomas trained at London Contemporary Dance School, winning the Charlotte Kirkpatrick scholarship for exceptional potential. He then joined VERVE, the postgraduate performance company that toured internationally. He then completed an MA in dance performance, entitled: “The Complicit Virtuoso-Analysing the relationship between virtuosity and neoliberal ideology, and the implications of this for the contemporary dance artist” through the Northern School of Contemporary Dance in partnership with the University of Kent. Since completing This, Bryn has performed with Julia Thorneycroft dance, Humannah productions, About NOWish, Bitter Suite, Luca Silvistrini’s Protein, Lisa May Thomas and Myrtle Theatre Company And has Choreographed for Tessa Bide, Myrtle Theatre Company, and Vic Llewellyn & Kid Carpet.
Emma Hughes

Emma Hughes

Creative Producer
Bio
Emma’s background is in theatre and film: she has a degree in Drama from The University of Bristol and has facilitated performance workshops with older adults since graduating. Alongside this she has worked for Oxfam’s festival’s team and been production designer for a number of short films and music videos. As Creative Producer for VR curation and consultancy company Limina Immersive, Emma’s highlights have included managing the VR Diversity Initiative Bootcamp, conducting an in-depth audience research study on immersive genres and formats for a major Digital Catapult report and producing the Limina VR Weekender, a sell-out VR arts festival at Watershed in Bristol. Alongside this, Emma is a community arts facilitator currently working with Redcliffe Residents Action Group and Neighbourhood Forum and Wyldwood Arts.
Fernanda Munoz-Newsome

Fernanda Munoz-Newsome

Dancer
Bio
My name is Fernanda Muñoz-Newsome, I was born in UK of English and Chilean descent. I live and work in London as a dance artist and choreographer, working independently and collaboratively since 2009. Working with composers, visual artists, music producers, pop/punk bands, writers, architects, choreographers and dance artists takes my work into galleries and alternative performance contexts.

My work is concerned with experience and transformation between public and private bodies and spaces. A movement towards re-experiencing and reorienting inside our entangled, inherited political and experiential bodies.

In the last two years I have made: something purple: my whole body overflows with thought at Palais de Tokyo, Paris and Block Universe, 2018. something orange: our bodies slip slide through knowing, performed with Jamila Johnson-Small sound by Nicholas Owen (Pumarosa)at Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2018 and at David Roberts Arts Foundation for the exhibition opening of (X) A Fantasy and at Oval Space with Pumarosa, 2017. OURNESS collaboration with sister Isabel Muñoz-Newsome for Art Night, Phillips auction house, London 2018. WE take the NIGHT walk by night through London for women and non binary people. instant fragments a solo performed at GUSH 2017. A new solo a body rites itself at Siobhan Davies Studios and Chisenhale Dance 2018. Performing 2DiveIn a solo, sound by Nena Zinovieff with CAMPerVAN at Tate Modern and D.R.A.F 2017. something purple: my whole body over flows with thought, to be performed at Calvert Foundation for launch of The Six Sense of the Avant-Garde and at London Topophobia 2017. Passage a group work and collaboration with Pumarosa was performed at ICA, 2016. let the body, a commission made with music producer Shelley Parker, performed with Jamila Johnson-Small at Arnolfini Bristol, 2016. Performing with Helm and Alice MacKenzie at South London Gallery and (33-33), 2015 and made Naked Nude a solo part of Airbomb at Royal Academy of Art, 2015. In What I Am Seeing the Sun was a collaboration with Savages and A Dead Forest Index, performed with Rosalie Wahlfrid-Shaw for Station to Station at Barbican, 2015.

Diving into Lisa’s work again and joining the group will be an honour. I look forward to bringing my practice and voice into this multi layered, multi dimensional research. Some of my current questions:

> How can dance continue to allow us to enter a sense of other in a shared space?

> Can dance continue to transport us further into our own bodies and help us shape understanding?

> In which ways can dance continue to open debate, challenge and stimulate our thinking bodies moving us into the 21st century?

> Why is presenting diversity, queerness and cultural difference essential right now?

Helen Deeks

Helen Deeks

Human-Computer Interaction
Bio
Helen is interested in applying computational methods to problems within pharmacology. After gaining an MPharm and qualifying as a Pharmacist, she consolidated her knowledge of in-silico drug design during an MSci in computing science (including a bioinformatics research placement at the Earlham Institute) at the University of East Anglia. Funded by the EPSRC and joint between the departments of chemistry and computer science, her research sits at the interface of biochemistry, molecular simulation, and human-computer interaction. She is investigating how the power of interactive virtual reality frameworks developed within the group may harnessed to solve problems in pharmacology. 
Joseph Hyde

Joseph Hyde

Sound Technology
Bio
I’m a composer and sound artist – I’ve made all kinds of music but have primarily specialised in using electronics and computers. I collaborate a lot, and primarily with dancers. I’ve worked with big companies like Rambert, Netherlands Dance Theater and the Royal Ballet, but I’m more interested in working on more experimental projects with small companies and cross-disciplinary collectives. I worked on danceroom Spectroscopy and – in particular – Hidden Fields for a number of years. I’m currently doing a fair bit of work with immersive environments and (separately) analogue and obsolete technologies. I work at Bath Spa University where I run our MA Sound Arts programme.
Laila Diallo

Laila Diallo

Dancer
Bio
Laila is a dance maker based in Bristol working and presenting work across the UK and internationally. Recent pieces have explored ideas around impermanence, traces and our experience of time passing. Alongside independently and collaboratively devising work for live performance, Laila often works as movement director in theatre and opera. She also frequently works as an educator within the university and vocational sectors, with children, youth and other community groups as well as with emerging artists and peers, through commissioned work and the delivery of workshops, classes, public talks and mentoring.

In 2017, Laila created SOMETHING ABOUT WILDERNESS and several other attempts at taming beauty in tandem with choreographer Mélanie Demers. The work, commissioned by Skanes Dansteater, responded to the site of the company’s home theatre in Malmo, Sweden. Beginning outside, the piece (and public) journeyed through an especially built 50-meter-long walled garden linking street to building, and then in to the belly of the theatre.

Other recent projects include: Countless Yellow Chairs, created and performed with composer/songwriter Jules Maxwell and many yellow chairs; In This Moment, a solo for Laila; Husk, for Candoco Dance Company; Owl Light for mapdance, University of Chichester’s postgraduate dance company; Near the place where your feet pass by, created with Nafisah Baba for the BBC Young Dancer 2017 Final which Nafisah went on to win; Every day Everyday Dances, a sound installation and London College of Fashion commission; movement direction for Verity Standen’s Undersong, an a cappella choral piece premiered at Mayfest, Bristol in May 2017.

Current projects include ongoing research with visual artist/maker Helen Carnac, continuing on from a collaboration instigated by Siobhan Davies Dance and a subsequent commission (Edge and Shore, 2015) as well as research towards the making of a dance work exploring the politics of togetherness.

The recipient of a Rayne Fellowship for Choreographers in 2006, Laïla also was an Associate Artist at ROH2, Royal Opera House, between 2009 and 2012. She is currently the recipient of a 2018 Leverhulme Art Scholarship through Bristol Old Vic Ferment.

‘I’m looking forward to joining this research team and to immersing myself in the work that is already underway and that I know relatively little about at the time of writing this. I bring along my curiosity, an open-mind and a willingness to find myself in a patch of unknown.’

Photo: Adam Laity.

Mark Wonnacott

Mark Wonnacott

Visual Virtual Design
Bio
I’m a digital technologist with an interest primarily in making and using simple tools for creative expression. I co-run the Bristol Small Games Meetup which aims to bring together creators of these tools, and I also help organise and build the international community of Bitsy authors. For my day job I work at Interactive Scientific as one of the development team for NanoSimbox which forms the base of the technology used for the virtual reality aspects of Figuring.

Within Figuring, my role is centered primarily around the virtual reality aspect of the project. I am collaborating to help discover and develop aesthetics for the virtual space, the dancers and strings within it, and the influence and residue of their occupation of the space. I also handle the software implementation to achieve this.

Mike O’Connor

Mike O’Connor

User Interface Design
Bio
I’ve Developed high performance algorithms for the danceroom Spectroscopy project, and contributed to the development of the virtual reality application Nano Simbox VR for molecular visualisation. I’m Currently pursuing a Computer Science PhD at the University of Bristol.

I’ll be contributing my skills in Scientific programming, high performance algorithms and VR interaction design to the Figuring project.

Philippa Thomas

Philippa Thomas

Physical Material Design
Bio
Philippa Thomas is an artist and designer based in Scotland. She has worked on a wide variety of theatre, performance and installation projects and also creates original pieces as a printmaker.

One recent project, DATAMINE (2016), was a collaboration with Phd researchers from Bristol University Epidemiology department. Creating a new installation for the Einstein’s Garden area of Green Man Festival, she designed an interactive space within which researchers could engage with the public and have conversations about their work on the human genome and genetic data. The project was used by Bristol University as an example of best public engagement practise.

Another commission with a strong public engagement element was Suspension and Disbelief, a collaboration with musician and sound artist Hector MacInnes. Suspension and Disbelief explored the identity, ambition and cohesion of Hebridean island communities through semi-fictional alternative histories. Across two separate exhibitions, the work took visitors on a visionary cable-car ride around the Isles of Lewis, Harris and Uist as they awoke from the Second World War.

Philippa recently took part in an international residency in Iceland, where she explored ideas of land ownership through modelmaking and printmaking. Work from this residency was incorporated into another collaboration with Hector MacInnes and presented in St Giles Cathedral for the “Scot:Lands” event, part of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations.

Philippa is joining the Figuring company as set designer and her role will be to give form and function to the spaces used during the piece, and to help the audience and performers navigate them. She is interested in making work that occupies the gaps between artforms, and is looking forward to learning more about the ways in which performance, graphic arts and installation can interact with Virtual Reality technology, and is particularly looking forward to joining an exciting new team of fellow performers and makers on that journey.

Her work and projects can be seen at www.philippacthomas.com

Silvia Carderelli-Gronau

Silvia Carderelli-Gronau

Camera Assistant
Bio
Silvia is a Brazilian movement artist and filmmaker currently living in Bristol. She is part of the Institute for the Study of Somatic Communication (U.S) and an Associate Lecturer at Bath Spa University Dance Department. Her work has been screened in the UK, Italy, Mexico and Brazil.
Her involvement with Lisa’s research started in 2016 during a residential at Bath Spa University and has been evolving since.
Stephen Ingram

Stephen Ingram

VR
Bio
I’ve worked with Dave and Lisa for a few years now at Bristol University and came to know of the project through our shared interest in virtual reality. I’m currently studying towards a PhD in Chemistry, researching the reactions that take place and the particles that are formed in the atmosphere. As part of the PhD I’ve done outreach events using VR, for example at science fiction conventions. I also worked alongside climate scientists in Irvine in California earlier this year.

I’m interested in how how placing humans within a molecular simulation and allowing feedback between them can drive new discoveries, accelerate reactions or help find new ways of understanding the science. We’ve found that dancers and other embodied individuals are especially good at this and can ‘feel’ the natural frequencies and tolerances of the system. The Figuring project is a larger scale attempt to explore that and I hope to help on the back and front end in whatever ways I can.

Tanuja Amarasuriya

Tanuja Amarasuriya

Dramaturgy
Bio
My name is Tanuja Amarasuriya. I’m a Director, Dramaturg and Sound Designer who works across theatre, film and digital sound. I’m a resident at Watershed’s Pervasive Media Studio, a Leverhulme Arts Scholar attached to Bristol Old Vic, and co-Artistic Director of Sleepdogs, which is a wide-ranging collaboration with writer/composer Timothy X Atack, making theatre, film and audio work characterised by imaginative storytelling and visceral, emotional, sensory aesthetics. www.sleepdogs.org

I’ve worked with playwrights, theatremakers and artists including Selina Thompson, Eno Mfon, Timothy X Atack, Sookie Greene, Chris Thorpe & Rachel Chavkin, Sam Halmarack and Raucous. My work has been developed and presented nationally and internationally, including at: the National Theatre (London), Bristol Old Vic, Seattle International Film Festival, Manchester Royal Exchange, Channel 4 television, Brighton Festival, NexT International Film Festival (Bucharest), BIOS (Athens) and Sura Medura (Sri Lanka).

I’m the Dramaturg on this project. That can mean different things on different projects. For Figuring, this is about working with Lisa to help her hone and shape the experience for an audience. It’s about helping her sift through the rich and detailed research, and orchestrate all the different elements and processes in a way that moves towards creating a really exciting, active, surprising and affecting experience for audiences. As a director, I think about my role as designing audience experiences – whichever form I’m working in. I’ve never worked with VR before, so this is a really exciting adventure for me.

Tom Mitchell

Tom Mitchell

Sound Technology
Bio
Dr Tom Mitchell is a Bristol-based computer scientist, interaction designer and musician/artist.

With a degree in electronic engineering and PhD in AI and music, he is currently appointed as Associate Professor in Creative Technologies in the Department of Computer Science and Creative Technologies at UWE, Bristol. Mitchell publishes across a range of disciplines centred on music and technology, including HCI, sonification and AI. He currently supervises 6 PhD students, leads the Creative Technologies Research Laboratory and is a member of the Bristol Robotics Laboratory and Computer Science Research Group. He is also an honorary visiting scholar at the University of Bristol and resident at the Pervasive Media Studio.

Mitchell has worked on range of interdisciplinary projects combining science and the creative arts to produce novel and inclusive representations of the art, science and technology.

Previous work includes: danceroom Spectroscopy: an innovative science-art public engagement project experienced by tens of thousands of people across multiple continents. The work has received support from ACE, EPSRC, RSC and has appeared at multiple premier cultural venues including the Barbican Arts Centre, the ZKM | Center for Art and Media Technology, the London 2012 Olympics.

Mimu gloves: a multi-award winning music interaction project exploring music and composition with the latest gestural interaction technology. The work has featured in hundreds of international performances and enjoyed by over a million music enthusiasts across and led to the spin-out tech startup Mimu Ltd which was incorporated to develop the research into a commercial system.

http://mimugloves.com/

TRANSMISSION: a live audiovisual digital-arts performance and installation within an interactive room-sized immersive epidemiology simulation. The work premiered at York Festival of Ideas 2014 the interactive installation formed part of Manchester Science Festival 2014.

In Figuring, Mitchell will work closely with composer Joseph Hyde and sonification researcher Alex Jones designing and developing interactive auditory experiences that create a seamless and immersive connection between physical and virtual worlds.

Will Dickie

Will Dickie

Dancer
Bio
Artist & performance maker. Creating with actor training, martial arts, interactive experiences, autobiography, public spaces, Djing and dance.

I’ll be bringing and contributing all of my experience to Figuring.