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Katrina McPherson

Personal statement

Katrina is an award-winning director and screendance artist whose creative, scholarly and educational work is at the forefront of the international field. Having trained as a dancer and choreographer at Laban in London, an early career fascination with the collaborative possibilities of dance and the moving image led her to complete a post-graduate in Electronic Imaging (video art) at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, laying the foundations of what would become a life-long, multi-faceted and influential engagement with dance on screen.

Katrina’s collaborative films, installations and on-line works have been presented at venues and festivals worldwide. Since the early 1990’s, she been regularly awarded funding from public and private organisations, institutions and arts councils, including in 2002 being a recipient of the prestigious Creative Scotland Award of £25,000 to an individual artist. A number of works that she has directed are held in collections including Lux Artists’ Moving Image UK, Routledge’s on-line Performance Archive and the British Council. Over a period of 15 years, Katrina was a director of arts programmes for UK television, making films for the BBC, STV and Channel Four.

Over the 30 years, Katrina has collaborated with numerous international dance artists including Sang Jijia (China/Tibet), Crystal Pite (Canada), Marc Brew (UK/US), Simon Ellis (NZ/UK), Harold Rheaume (Quebec) and Kirstie Simson (UK/US). Her approach remains at the cutting edge of concepts and technology and yet of great interest to the wider public. Katrina has recently been appointed as an Associate Artist at Dance Base and is a Dance North Associate Artist.

Katrina is the sole author of 'Making Video Dance – a step-by-step guide to creating dance for the screen', published by Routledge in 2006, with a new edition released in 2018. This workbook is used as a core text on university courses worldwide. She is a much sought-after teacher and workshop facilitator, and is currently Visiting Lecturer of Screendance for Bath Spa's MA Dance course, and for the BA and MA courses in Dance Performance at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, University of Limerick, and Visiting Instructor of graduate Screendance in the Department of Dance at the University of Utah.

Academic qualifications

  • BA (Hons), Dance Theatre
  • PGDip, Electronic Imaging 

Artistic commissions/directed works (selected)

  • Paysages Mixtes/Mixed Landscapes (2019). Co-directed and performed in this new screen dance collaboration with Quebec choreographer Harold Rheaume. Funded by British Council (BC), the ministère de la Culture et des Communications (MCC) du Québec et le ministère des Relations internationales et de la Francophonie (MRIF) du Québec
  • And that is what you see us by (2018). A screendance installation with live performance work funded by Creative Scotland. Made in collaboration with Simon Ellis (ResCen) and Natalia Barua and presented at The Workroom, Glasgow
  • In Motion (2018). Katrina directed this series of four short documentaries showcasing Scottish dance films for the BBC on-line which, in the first month of being on-line, had 68,000 viewings.
  • we record ourselves (2016). A single screen dance film and 22-monitor screen dance installation commissioned as part of a residency at the Margaret Morris Archive. The work was re-worked for the 10-meter high MediaWall at Bath Spa University as part of the Journal of Media Practice and MeCCSA Practice Network Annual Symposium in June 2017
  • Dance Explosion (2015). Co-directed and filmed this 40-minute documentary funded by Creative Scotland about how art can change lives, featuring choreographer/teachers Royston Maldoom and Tamara McLorg as they return to Scotland, 30 years after introducing modern dance to a whole new community and generation.
  • In February 2015, Pace, a screen dance work directed by Katrina McPherson was curated by John Akomfrah to be part of the History is Now exhibition at the Hayward Gallery, London. Pace was commissioned in 1995 for the BBC/Arts Council of Great Britain’s prestigious Dance for the Camera series, was broadcast on BBC2 and has had many international festival screenings 
  • Hyperchoreography (2014). As interactive screendance installation, made in collaboration with Simon Fildes and Chinese Tibetan choreographer Sang Jijia. This work was installed at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Beijing where, over 2 months, it was interacted with by over 80,000 members of the public.
  • The Time It Takes (2013). Received individual artist funding from Creative Scotland for this award-winning screendance work which has had had over 40 international screenings including in Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Montreal, Tokyo and Stockholm
  • Force of Nature (2012). Directed and filmed this 70-minute dance documentary featuring the internationally renowned improvising dance artist Kirstie Simson.
  • There is a Place (2010) Made in collaboration with Chinese Tibetan dancer/choreographer Sang Jijia, this film won Jury Prize for Best Screendance at San Francisco Dance Film Festival in 2011
  • Move-me.com (2007) A co-production with Ricochet Dance and featuring 8 top-flight international choreographers. Toured to venues across the UK, Holland, Australia and New Zealand. It was nominated for a Webby award.

Conferences, symposia and professional contribution

  • Form, Freedom and Finding your way - the use of improvisation and manifestos in developing a screendance practice, at the VI International Congress of Dance, Researcha and Education, University of Malaga, Spain (2018)
  • Presented a paper on Manifestos in Screendance and on a panel on screen dance pedagogy at Regards Hybrids conference, Montreal, Canada (2017)
  • Keynote Speaker at the Gathered Together International Inclusive Dance Conference, Tramway, Glasgow (2016)
  • Co-investigator on Arts and Humanities Research Council funded project to establish the International Screen Dance Network and co-founder of the International Journal of Screen Dance (2008)
  • Opensource: (Videodance). Co-produced these two influential symposia for screendance artists, academics, producers and curators. Funded by Scottish Arts Council and Dundee University. Presented a paper on the outcomes on Opensource: (Videodance) at the Screendance: State of the Art conference at the American Dance Festival, Duke University, North Carolina.   

Publications

  • McPherson, K. Making Video Dance – a step-by-step guide to creating dance for the screen (Routeledge 2006), with a new edition released in 2018 
  • McPherson, K. Watch film, watch dance films, watch more dance films, International Journal of Screen Dance (Vol 6, 2016).

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