Exploration at the involved stage



Exploration at the involved stage



Artistic research is crucial for us. Our performances and teaching activities feed directly from our investigation—and the other way around. We are committed to a practice-based form of inquiry, where artistic creation is a fundamental part of the processes of acquisition and articulation of insights.




Two focal points define the way we conduct research. First, there is our relationship with ourselves in the context of the world we live in, a link we explore in terms of our potential to think and feel. Then, there is our relationship with others, living or inanimate, a well of possibilities that we examine in a reflexive manner. Along these lines, we organise and take part in different kinds of research-oriented activities. 

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Using diverse methods, we approach social groups that are relevant for the development of our artistic projects. The goals of these activities range from understanding the meanings and practices that characterise a given community, to becoming aware of our attitudes towards them, to gaining insight into our own meanings and practices as social beings. Depending on the project, social engagement activities could make way for group members to become participants in the creative process.


work in progress

One way to enhance artistic research is to share and discuss one's work in progress in the public sphere. The interaction with fellow artists and researchers, as well as with the audience in general, invariably helps us to clarify key aspects of our artistic exploration while unlocking perspectives  and possibilities previously unavailable to us. The format of this discussions is based on stage performance and as such contributes to the promotion and dissemination of our creative work.


Reading groups

An important part of our research process is theoretical. After all, our work on stage and in the classroom is, to a significant extent, the manifestation of our own ideas about art. That is why we collaborate with academic institutions to organise reading groups about subjects that are relevant for the development of our artistic projects. This activities are open to everyone; no academic affiliation is required.

Up and running

ongoing research activities


Up and running

ongoing research activities

From  Dancing in the Library  (2016), an earlier dance project by Michailidou and Heller which, as  Belonging  (forthcoming), focuses on social engagement and participation.

From Dancing in the Library (2016), an earlier dance project by Michailidou and Heller which, as Belonging (forthcoming), focuses on social engagement and participation.

Moments of meeting

social engagement

artist-researchers: Marianthi Michailidou and Natalie Heller


This is the first phase of a larger project called Belonging (forthcoming), whose goal is to engage individuals from the immigrant community in a creative project culminating in a public performance.



Before committing to this longer-term project we would like to create the opportunity for the prospective participants (members of the immigrant community) to get to know us and our work. Additionally, we would like to uncover our own pre-established ideas towards the community and discover what we are unaware of about their way of life, stories, and everyday concerns.

For this we require a 6 week research period (starting around September 3rd) where we can come into contact with the individuals from the immigrant community of Leiden. We would like to set up weekly meetings where we offer a variety of free events to establish initial contact. These events will include Talk & Tea and Moments of Meeting.

  • Talk & Tea are hourly sessions where we meet with asylum seekers, drink tea together and talk about our work. We discuss who we are and what we do and show elements of our working methods (through video, photo, small animated exercises). We always have time for dialogue and exchange in these sessions. 
  • Moments of Meeting are 90 minute workshop-like sessions where members of the immigrant community come to the studio (Webster or Leiden University) to play theatre games and engage in simple movement exercises.

We hope to:

  • Introduce our ways of working and our creative practice to potential participants of the performance project. This is then provide us with the possibility of extending an invitation to work with us for a longer period in phase 2 of Belonging.
  • Bridge the gap between ‘us’ and ‘them’ (destabilising the subject-object distinction in preparation for the performance project, so we are not making a performance piece ‘about’ the immigrant community’ but ‘with’ them)
  • Better understand our own attitudes towards the immigrant community and how we relate to the individual members of that community.
  • Develop an understanding around the network of meanings of this specific community. What drives the individual members? What concerns them? What are they dealing with on an everyday level as well as on a more profound existential level? What is lacking from their current life situation?

Expected outcomes:

  • To build a genuine person-to-person relationship with the individual members we would like to work with for the performance project.
  • To produce a creative journal, for our own use in phase 2 and possibly for publishing. The journal will be a collection of materials drawn from our interaction with members of the immigrant community. It may include drawings, photos, creative writing, analytic articulation of our insights, informal interviews and more.