Bristol Interaction Group

The Touch Diaries

I have been developing a body of work called The Touch Diaries the premise for which was initially driven by my observations of people around me that seemed isolated from physical contact and at points ‘taken over’ by technology. I fostered a growing interest in this shift that is taking place around the experience of human connection and interaction. I wanted to investigate what ‘being in touch’ means and what value physical and non physical touch holds for people now and how a shift in ‘relating’ may have an affect on both our internal and external connectivity. The Touch Diaries focused on personal stories around touch, it was qualitative and semi-longitudinal in its style of analysis, participant-led with intergenerational communities coming together to explore ideas around touch. The project looked at human-to-human touch in the everyday lives of participants and those around them and research was driven via a diary study and workshops. ‘Findings’ (data, ideas, movement, choreographic ideas etc) were developed and re-told through the production of live and screen-based dance.

I am Lisa May Thomas, I am a dancer (trained at Laban London), film-maker and teacher and I have specialised over the last 15 years in working with and utilising the moving image to grow an understanding around the ‘connected body’; both in its internal and external environments, through somatic enquiry and improvisation techniques. I have a curiosity around inherent stories, memories and experiences that are contained the human form and how these things inform how the body moves and how this is shared – related and communicated – and ultimately how I am able to capture this for others. I have worked with professional dancers; inclusive dance companies; youth groups; disabled artists; older people; community groups; intergenerational groups; in hospitals and in schools in continuing to observe and make sense of the transient human form. I have an award-winning portfolio of screen-based dance which has been presented across the globe and broadcast for TV. I have worked substantially with new technologies, specifically with Interactive Scientific on project danceroom Spectroscopy multi-award winning Sci-Art collaborative project which explores new languages and crossovers on the interface of physics research, interactive arts, education, performance and technology.

In 2015 my film There is a Shipwreck in My Bones was exhibited at the National Museum of Taiwan in Taipei and The Touch Diaries film won an award at Lightmoves International festival of screen-dance. I am currently a resident at the Pervasive Media Studio at Watershed in Bristol and undertaking an MPhil in Dance/Theatre at the University of Bristol 2015-16.