Performance Action Improvisation Research School

Between 2010 – 2012, Oui Performance initiated P.A.I.R.S. The primary aim of P.A.I.R.S was to establish a place and platform for group action, experimentation and improvisation with a view to reflecting upon, with practicing artists and students, the nature of improvisatory and collaborative practice, the variety of its forms and, most importantly, the impact such practices might have on artistic and pedagogical research.

The overarching principle of P.A.I.R.S was the proposition that improvisation is not simply another subject (or component of a subject) to be taught within the curriculum. Rather, P.A.I.R.S represented something of a challenge to the problematic economy of many existing pedagogical models, and to the dominant (self)-conception of group improvisation as a practice in itself. The intention was to develop artistic strategies that positively inform, radicalise and synthesise with arts pedagogical practice.

P.A.I.R.S was initiated by Oui Performance (York) and was supported by York St John University, Faculty of Arts through an EBL funded research project (2009-10). The EBL Project, 'Improvisation as pedagogical strategy' led by Professor Gary Peters and Dr Robert Wilsmore involved Nathan Walker, Victoria Gray, Samantha Murphy, Christopher Mollon & Claire Greenwood.

As a result of this research, Victoria Gray & Nathan Walker were awarded Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.

P.A.I.R.S 1
2010 – 2012 – P.A.I.R.S facilitated bi-monthly group action meetings in York, occurring in both indoor and outdoor spaces, functioning as a social space for experimentation.

P.A.I.R.S 2
April 2010 - P.A.I.R.S participated in the Spring Meeting at PAF (Performing Arts Forum) in St Ermes, North France.

P.A.I.R.S 3
May 2010 - 1st P.A.I.R.S Symposium, 24th May 2010, York St John University. P.A.I.R.S delivered a seminar on improvised pedagogy, a workshop on scored improvisation and a performance improvisation.

P.A.I.R.S 4
January – June 2011
P.A.I.R.S, led by Victoria Gray, delivered a series of 12 workshops, with 20 participants resulting in 1 indoor group performance, 1 outdoor group performance and a collection of performance scores.