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Adesola Akinleye. Photo: Lisa Gilby
Adesola Akinleye. Photo: Lisa Gilby

March 7, 2022, 6:00 pm7:30 pm

The event is free and open to the public. MIT will be observing all Covid-19 precautions, and registration is required. You can register here.

Dr. Adesola Akinleye will speak about the research she began at MIT that focuses on a new lexicon. This event serves as a follow up to the first part of her residency (Fall 2020), which resulted in a series of podcasts, called Choreographing the City.

From Adesola:
Amid the interdisciplinary collaborations that are central to my interest in Place-making , I offer contemporary dance as a process that can co-create non-verbal languages and highlight somatic, bodily epistemologies. For me the attraction of interdisciplinary work is in how the habitually unarticulated within a given discipline can be exposed by someone from outside the field. It is the noticing of the omission of communicability, caused by unfamiliarity/familiarity of the use of language and movement, which is so valuable in the shared act of transdisciplinary work. Given these perceptual shifts caused by our (lack of) communication across the disciplines of people who share interests in spatial practices and Place-making, I noticed there have been some repeated words and ideas that seemed to resonate for all of us. I have been looking at these as potential components of a shared lexicon. In this lecture I present ten words from what seems to be an emerging lexicon, and I questioned if the process of crafting the lexicon itself could provide new opportunities to communicate experience through the wider context of transdisciplinary us-ness.

Dr. Adesola Akinleye is a choreographer and artist-scholar. She is an Assistant Professor in the Dance Division at Texas Woman’s University. She is an Affiliate Researcher in the Art, Culture, and Technology program at MIT and a Visiting Artist at the Center for Art, Science and Technology at MIT, and a Theatrum Mundi Fellow. She began her career as a dancer with Dance Theatre of Harlem Workshop Ensemble (USA) later working in UK Companies such as Green Candle and Carol Straker Dance Company. Over the past twenty years she has created dance works ranging from live performance that is often site-specific and involves a cross-section of the community to dance films, installations and texts. Her work is characterized by an interest in voicing people’s lived-experiences in Places through creative moving portraiture. A key aspect of her process is the artistry of opening creative practices to everyone from ballerinas to architects to women in low wage employment to performance for young audiences. Her most recent monograph is part of the Society for Dance Research In Conversation series – Dance, Architecture and Engineering: Dance in Dialogue.

Dance, Architecture and Engineering: Dance in Dialogue was born from a year of exchanges of movement ideas generated in cross-practice conversations and workshops with dancers, musicians, architects and engineers. Events took place at key cultural institutions such as the Royal Academy of Arts, London; and The Lowry, Salford, as well as on-site at architectural firms and on the streets of London. The author engages with dance’s offer of perspectives on being in place: how the ‘ordinary person’ is facilitated in experiencing the dance of the city, while also looking at shared cross-practice understandings in and about the body, weight and rhythm. There is a prioritizing of how embodied knowledges across dance, architecture and engineering can contribute to decolonizing the production of place – in particular, how dance and city-making cultures engage with female bodies and non-white bodies in today’s era of #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter. Akinleye concludes in response conversations about ideas raised in the book with John Bingham-Hall, Liz Lerman, Dianne McIntyer and Richard Sennett. The book is a fascinating resource for those drawn to spatial practices from dance to design to construction.


Delia Duong Ba Wendel is the Spaulding Career Development Assistant Professor in Urban Studies and International Development. Her research engages three main areas: forms of community repair after conflict and disaster; African urbanism; and spatial politics. Her interdisciplinary work draws together Urban Studies, Architectural History, Cultural Geography, and Anthropology.

Ashmi Mridul (SMACT ’23) is a multidisciplinary artist, interested in making art more accessible by bringing it into the public realm. She designs participatory projects to facilitate research and experiential learning. Through her projects, she engages with the everyday to interact with diverse communities and people around the world.

Part of the Spring 2022 Lecture Series | Looking Forward ACT! Intersecting Explorations Across Art-Culture-Technology.

This event is co-produced with the Center for Art, Science, and Technology at MIT (CAST) and with the support of the Council for the Arts at MIT (CAMIT).