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Matthew Fenton

Formerly at Lancaster University

Current Teaching

Currently teaching across the Masters programme in Contemporary Arts Practice for Lancaster Institute for Contemporary Arts. Teaches on modules covering Cultural Entrepreneurship and Arts Management, as well as supervising practice-based postgraduate students.


Live at LICA Director Role

Matt Fenton is responsible for all aspects of artistic programming, commissioning, staffing and funding of Live at LICA, Lancaster University's public arts organisation. Combining Nuffield Theatre Lancaster, the Peter Scott Gallery and Lancaster International Concerts, Live at LICA plays an important role in presenting and developing contemporary practice across artforms. The organisation is currently a National Portfolio Organisation of Arts Council England, and commissions a significant amount of new work, including for national and international touring.

As well as the public artform programming activity on campus, Live at LICA delivers a range of artist support, residency and particpatory activity. Much of this takes place off-site from the Lancaster Universty campus, engaging directly with specific locations and communities.

Matt is a practising theatre director, and currently teaches on the LICA MA programme in Contemporary Arts Practice, a programme he developed in response to the needs of early career artists.

Research Interests

1. Nuffield New Works Programme (2003-2008); Languages of Process - Contemporary Performance Practice

Nuffield New Works is a major 5-year, international artist commissioning and co-production programme, funded by Arts Council England. The project has generated £340,000 of external funding, and developed over 20 innovative performance works of the highest calibre for national and international touring from some of the leading names in contemporary UK experimental theatre, dance and live art (see below). Curatorial selection responded to the following research strands: What kinds of performative responses are theatre and dance artists making to contemporary culture? How might we extend the territory of writing for performance? What is participatory practice and how might the artistic process be opened out to non-performance makers? The programme has worked with key international and UK co-production partners: Royal Opera House, Sheffield Theatres Group, Battersea Arts Centre, the British Council, Sophiensaele (Berlin), Kunsten Festival Des Arts (Brussels), Wiener Festwochen (Vienna), Centre Pompidou (Paris), Tramway (Glasgow). The programme's central concern is the facilitation of risk-taking artists in researching and developing works which, without the time, resources and opportunities to reflect afforded by the programme, would not otherwise have been made. Each piece also received significant subsequent public funding to develop and tour. As such, the Nuffield Theatre is defined as a 'safe-house' for such research and development activity by Arts Council England. Forced Entertainment (The World in Pictures) Vincent Dance Theatre (Punch Drunk, Broken Chords) Lone Twin (Alice Bell) Ursula Martinez and Mark Whitelaw (OAP) Walker Dance Park Music (Silence of the soul, 5-2-10) Scarlet Theatre (Chair Women) Marie-Gabrielle Rotie/Katsura Can (Incarnate) imitating the dog and Pete Brooks (Hotel Methuselah) Uninvited Guests (A Pastoral) Small Change Theatre (Red Velvet, Making the Difference) Niki McCretton and Kathy Hinde (Relative) Deer Park (Years, years) Goat Island (Untitled) Kazuko Hohki (Wuthering Heights) Details available at www.nuffieldtheatre.com/projects

2. Practice Reflected Conference & Symposium programme (2006-2007); Languages of Process - Contemporary Performance Practice

Practice Reflected provides artists with a formal academic context in which to reflect on process and practice, alongside invited papers from practitioners and academics. The artists featured are nationally significant in the field of new performance. Core research questions: What are the politics and problematics of the collaborative creative process? How might performance-makers collaborate across time, space, even generations? What is the role of narrative in performance? What place do traditional narrative forms/structures take in contemporary performance, and what new kinds of narrative might it explore (especially in the light of filmic experimentation and new technology)? What is writing for performance? What kinds of writing does devised practice enable? How might we expand the notion of writing for theatre and dance? Events foreground languages of process, research and performance as expressed by artists and are targeted at emerging artists, postgrad students and early-year academics. From a small internal grant (£3,800), Uninvited Guests, Lone Twin and Goat Island successfully applied for public funding for the reflection enabled by Practice Reflected. Details available at www.cascpp.lancs.ac.uk Creativity and Collaboration (September 2006) Matt Fenton, Anna Furse, Carl Lavery, Lawrence Bradby, Alice Booth, Matthew Goulish, Lin Hixson, Karen Christopher, Bryan Saner, Mark Jeffery. Middle, End, Beginning: Adventures in Narrative in Contemporary Performance (October 2006) Matt Fenton, Richard Gregory, Dee Heddon, Lena Simic, Carl Lavery, Jackie Stacey, Cindy Weber, Gerry Harris, Jonathan Munby. Between You and Us: A Symposium with Uninvited Guests (November 2006) Matt Fenton, Paul Clarke, Jess Hoffman, Richard Dufty, Sarah Gorman, Simon Jones, Fiona Wright, Tom Marshman. I Can't Go On Like This: Approaches on Lone Twin and related practices (February 2007) Matt Fenton, Gregg Whelan, Gary Winters, Anne Bean, Augusto Corrieri, Sylvie Gilbert, Emma Govern, Teresa Grimaldi, Carl Lavery, Patrick Primavesi, Nina Tecklenburg, These Horses, David Williams, Niki Woods, Mary Oliver.

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