Claire Cunningham is a performer and creator of multi-disciplinary performance based in Glasgow, Scotland. From 2017-2019 she was Factory Artist with Tanzhaus NRW Düsseldorf, Germany and is current Work Place Artist with The Place, London. One of the UK’s most acclaimed and internationally renowned disabled artists, Cunningham’s work is often rooted in the study and use/misuse of her crutches and the exploration of the potential of her own specific physicality with a conscious rejection of traditional dance techniques (developed for non-disabled bodies). This runs alongside a deep interest in the lived experience of disability and its implications not only as a choreographer but also in terms of societal notions of knowledge, value, connection and interdependence. A self-identifying disabled artist, Cunningham’s work combines multiple art forms and ranges from the intimate solo show ME (Mobile/Evolution) (2009), to the large ensemble work 12 made for Candoco Dance Company. In 2014 she created Give Me a Reason to Live, inspired by the work of Dutch medieval painter Hieronymus Bosch and the role of beggars/cripples in his work, and the full length show Guide Gods, looking at the perspectives of the major Faith traditions towards the issue of disability. Awarded one of the Unlimited Commissions in 2016 she created with choreographer Jess Curtis a duet The Way You Look (at me) Tonight, which has since toured world-wide and has been selected in 2018 for Tanzplattform Germany and nominated for an Isadora Duncan Dance Award. Claire is a former Artist-in–Residence at the Women of the World Festival at the Southbank, London and of the Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queens. In 2016 she was Artist in Residence with Perth International Arts Festival, Australia and Associate Artist at Tramway, Glasgow. In July 2019 Claire premiered a new ensemble piece, Thank You Very Much, at Manchester International Festival- commissioned and produced by Manchester International Festival and National Theatre Scotland, co-commissioned with Dance Umbrella, Perth International Festival and tanzhaus NRW.
Nina Mühlemann completed her PhD at King’s College London in Disability Studies and Performance Studies in 2017. She has taught at King’s College London, ZHdK and is currently teaching at the University of Basel. From 2018-2019 she was co-director of the Future Clinic for Critical Care, a socio-culturally animated theatre practice project, with performances at Gessnerallee Zurich and Impulstanz Wien. Since 2020 she is co-director of Criptonite, a queer-crip theatre project at Gessnerallee Zurich.
The focus of this mentorship will be the sharing of experiences, trajectories and strategies for working with one’s own body. In particular, it will create a space where particular expertise and knowledge around our disabled/crip bodies is shared, including our relation to mobility tech. This is a practice that currently is not accessible to most disabled people in Switzerland, who are either excluded from spaces where professional knowledge around bodies and movement is shared, or have to adapt to those spaces that expect and prioritise only non-disabled bodies. As such, this project is rare opportunity to focus on the specificity of movement and to develop a personal bespoke vocabulary around crip movement and bodies.