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Re-Reading the RSVP Cycles: Scores in a Climate Emergency

the original book of The RSVP Cycles

‘We are facing a period ahead when the very essence of our lives together will rest on how we deal with change in a positive and creative way. That is why we need new ways of looking at change: neither as good nor bad, not judged as whether to allow or not allow, but ecologically, which means existentially. Change is going to be. Now how do we work with it?’ (Lawrence Halprin, 1969)

‘Re-reading the RSVP Cycles: Scores in a Climate Emergency’ is a cross-disciplinary symposium on 6th November to bring together professional practitioners, academics and students from performing arts, visual arts, planning, architecture and landscape architecture; sustainability and climate change and, more broadly, the humanities, political and social sciences.

The starting point for the event is The RSVP Cycles: Creative Processes in the Human Environment by Lawrence Halprin, published 50 years ago in 1969, seven years after Rachel Carson’s ‘Silent Spring’. ‘RSVP’ is an acronym for Resources, Scores, Valu-action and Performance. The book brings together Lawrence Halprin’s landscape architecture practice with the choreographic scoring practice of dancer Anna Halprin and describes how open scores operate, how they can be a process for collective creativity and civil participation, rooted in a concern for environmental issues and social justice.

50 years on the need for scores for change are even more urgent today and the symposium, in revisiting the RSVP Cycles, considers their relevance to the context of living in a time of Climate Emergency by bringing them into contact with the Deep Adaptation Agenda of resilience, relinquishment, restoration and reconciliation. The paper ‘Deep Adaptation: a map for navigating climate tragedy’ by Jem Bendell (Professor of Sustainability Leadership, University of Cumbria) was published on July 27th 2018 and has been downloaded more than half a million times. Deep Adaptation starts from the premise that near-term societal collapse due to climate change is inevitable, and most likely already happening. The Deep Adaptation paper can be found here

Through a programme of presentations, experiential and reflective activities, a group workshop and dialogue interspersed with live readings from the RSVP Cycles we will be considering themes around change and planning for uncertain futures that will open up more questions than answers.

Contributors and collaborators in this event are:

Audicia Lynne Morley, Co-Director and a Senior Practitioner for Tamalpa UK branch and a certificated Planetary Dance facilitator who has studied with Anna and Daria Halprin and the Tamalpa Institute since 1999. She has over 30 years experience in the field of the performing arts and health and is artistic director of State Theta Galleries – an international centre for the development of movement, health and the arts in East Lothian. Audicia will speak from her direct experience of the RSVP Cycles and of co-directing City Dance Edinburgh 2011, a place-specific dance based on Anna Halprin’s City Dance (San Francisco, 1977).

Lisa Mackenzie, Senior Lecturer in Landscape Architecture at Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. Lisa’s research, teaching and practice unite in seeking strategies that explore the potential of indeterminate, open practices to empower people in processes of landscape change. Her work is localised and site-specific but universal and determined in its pursuit – calling on students and communities to become responsible member of the bio-community.

Alex Lockwood, Senior Lecturer in Journalism and a member of the Centre for Research in Media and Cultural Studies at the University of Sunderland. His current research work explores relations between animals, identity and affect; veganism, vegan practices; lines of running- the cultural, social and spiritual experiences of running; and an ongoing interest in the processes of writing, especially in relation to animals and affect. Alex has been exploring Deep Adaptation for some years and is one of the Deep Adaptation Advocates – an international roster of people who are working with Deep Adaptation in different and interesting ways.

Sarah Rubidge, Professor Emerita (Dance) at the University of Chichester, artistic and academic consultant is a practitioner-scholar whose participatory installations, which emphasise the interlay between the participant and their environment have been presented internationally and nationally since 1994. She co-edited and wrote for Choreographic Dwellings: Practising Place (2014) with Gretchen Schiller, and has written for books such as Dance Spaces (2013) and Contemporary Choreography: A Critical Reader (2009), as well as having journal articles published in in Choreographic Practices, Dégres and Ballett International, amongst others. Sarah will be exploring the themes of embodiment, place, scores and uncertainty in a performative presentation.

The event is facilitated by Claire Pençak, a dancer and choreographer with a collaborative practice, and a PhD student at Northumbria University. The symposium brings together many strands of her research interests including choreographic scoring, place practices and Deep Adaptation.

The event is free but a place must be booked in advance through the Eventbrite link.

Programme Outline
9.30am-10.00am Registration and Refreshments

10.00am–1.00pm Morning Session with Comfort Beak/Refreshments
Audicia Lynne Morley, Lisa Mackenzie & Alex Lockwood

1.00pm–2.00pm A vegetarian and vegan buffet lunch

2.00pm–5.00pm Afternoon Session with Comfort Break/Refreshments
Sarah Rubidge, Group Workshop facilitated by Audicia Lynne Morley & Claire Pencak and an (un) panel with everyone

Please help us to run this event sustainably by remembering to bring your own drinking mug.

For more information please contact

With many thanks to Gallery North at the University of Northumbria for hosting the day, and to both the Post Graduate Research Events Support Scheme and the Department of Arts for funding the event costs.

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This event was posted by Northumbria University.

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Claire Pencak


Gallery North, Northumbria University
Sandyford Building, Sandyford Road
Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 8QE United Kingdom
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