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Tidmarsh, A., 2021.

To Instruct

Output Type:Journal article
Publication:Text: for the Study of the History, Art and Design of Textiles
Publisher:The Textile Society
Pagination:pp. 64-70

I think back to a dance workshop held in 2019 with two professional dancers guiding us, a large
group of multidisciplinary MA students. We were encouraged to move our bodies and 'let
ourselves go'. Not one person wanted to move. Very few people had an instinctive feeling to follow
where their bodies took them. The workshop felt stilted and awkward, too many glances over
shoulders, uncertain sniggers and smirks at friends. In comparison, half-way through the session
they gave us a set of clear yet simple instructions that meant we behaved in a certain way. Whilst
this experience still held moments of painful shyness, I no longer felt inhibited by my body. I was
entering into a physical act with a level of reassurance. Firstly, everyone else around me was doing
the same action; we were following the same instruction. Secondly, the way my body reacted
became less of my responsibility; if I moved in a certain way, it wasn't my fault. How can this
experience of dancing make me think about the process of working with a physical handcraft? In
this way I have begun to see instructions as an integral part of a larger creative process. They
provide me admission into, and a guide of, a new physical experience and way of thinking.