Ten DARE Sandpits create forums for debate, discussion and creative endeavour.

The sandpit is  a round table discussion for around 15 people from diverse fields on a theme of shared interest. Part of the process is to tease out unexpected connections and overlaps from participants who present a five-minute provocation at strategic moments during the discussion.  Perspectives are wide-ranging from specialists including, for example, psychologists and poets, medievalists and theatre directors, to biologists and scenographers.

“At the DARE sandpit ‘World Without Antibiotics’, it was fascinating to see how the issue could be approached from a range of perspectives – historical, medical, artistic. I had never thought about how much the use of antibiotics had revolutionised medicine in the past century. It shows what exciting things can happen when you put different people together who might not normally meet to discuss a topic” Dr Marta Cobb, Senior Congress Officer International Medieval Congress.  This sandpit inspired DARE Cultural Fellow Becs Andrews to create the installation Phase Revival: an Optical Harmonica with artist Dave Lynch.

The sandpit “Music and Mental Health; Autism and Opera” gave me an opportunity to see how the academic research work I was doing might connect to non-academic communities. Sharing ideas with artists and scientists led to me co-creating a new opera ‘A fortnight of Autistic Bedtimes’ with DARE Fellow Cheryl Frances-Hoad, something that could not have happened without the sandpit.” Professor Stuart Murray, Professor of Contemporary Literatures and Film, University of Leeds.

Aware of the success of the DARE Sandpit model, we invited Opera North’s Dominic Gray to lead a sandpit for Phoenix Dance on the theme of ‘The Nature of Tears’, including chemists and medievalists.  As a result we have initiated a new partnership with the University on the topic of Grief.”  Sharon Watson, Artistic Director, Phoenix Dance.

Themes of other sandpits include: Benjamin Britten; Centenary of the First World War; St George; Berg’s Lulu; The Music of the Spheres; Music and Violence; Carnivalesque

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