Saturday, 6 August 2011


The Open Dialogues manifestos talk of how and why we do things, and of the changing nature of these hows and whys (made, as several of them are, from previous mission statements). The manifestos are cumulative, exchanged between Rachel Lois and Mary, each being worked on in our respective homes before being swapped, annotated by the other and sent again through the post.




MAKE TIME (reverse)


All material c. Open Dialogues 2010

Trinity Laban: MA Dance Practice

Open Dialogues was invited to lead a day-long session for Trinity Laban MA Dance Practice students, as part of their ‘Writing the Body: Text as Interface’ course in March 2011.

‘Writing the Body’ is an exploration of writing the body; of what it might mean for writing to be a porous, informed and reflective interface between performance and text. It explores issues surrounding critical engagement with performance, and examine writing as practice within evolving dialogues between text and performance, and the expansion of new mediums and spaces for writing.

Following the structure of our Samtalekkkenet (Dining Kitchen) presentation, Mary spoke about Open Dialogues’ work. She was interrupted by textual interventions supplied by Rachel Lois Clapham, in the form of A4 sheets of paper with words, phrases or symbols on them.

Following our potentially wayward presentation one of the students asked Mary: ‘But what are you teaching us?’ This question is central to Open Dialogues' long term pedagogic project NOTA ...


Mary and Rachel Lois first spoke at Trinity Laban in 2007 as participants on Writing From Live Art – a professional development course aimed at increasing the quality and profile of writing about performance.

More on our critical model here

Open Dialogues Critical Model

Open Dialogues is a UK based collaboration, founded in 2008 by Rachel Lois Clapham and Mary Paterson, that produces critical writing on and as performance. We define critical writing as an intellectual encounter between writing and art. And the way we do things is deeply indebted to performance – to collaboration, documentation and the politics and processes of making and showing live work. Our model is also resistant to resolution, it is a living contract with our performance collaborators and an ongoing work in and of itself.

Here are some Open Dialogues manifestos.

Our critical model has been tested with partners such as Performance Saga, New Work Network, Performa, Spill and The Live Art Development Agency and features in several publications and symposiums. Below are a selection.

Open Dialogues are developing a pedagogic tool for writing on and as performance both in and out of academic institutions, called NOTA. More details soon.


Rachel Lois and Mary work together as Open Dialogues, and apart as writers and artists, to explore, stretch, test and experiment with the relationships between text, performance and criticality. Read more about us here and here.