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Name: Matthias Sperling

PhD:  Dance

Thesis Title:  

A practice­-based investigation of the event of choreographic performance as a site of embodied knowledge­-generation


Thesis Description:

My practice-based research investigates the event of choreographic performance as a site of embodied knowledge-generation, a project evolving from my 20 years of professional artistic practice and research as a choreographer and performer. Drawing on perspectives from cognitive science and philosophy, I am developing my articulation of what particular kinds of knowledge I consider to be generated in the making, performing and spectating of my choreographic work. Informed by the writings of Guy Claxton, Andy Clark and others, I approach knowing as an embodied process inclusive of a range of different modes, spanning the tacit (felt, intuitive) and explicit (languaged, rational), with particular emphasis on the necessary continuity and interdependence of these modes in the embodied process of knowledge-generation. On this basis, my research will also draw on two other types of embodied cultural practices that traverse tacit and explicit modes: the scientific practice of hypnosis and ritual practices of shamanism. I will explore how these ideas and practices inform the development of new ways of practicing choreography, focusing on creating choreographic work that positions the relationship between choreography and knowledge-generation as its subject matter.


Supervisors and Institution(s): 

Ramsay Burt (DMU), Sally Doughty (DMU), Paul Russ (Dance4)

Partner organisations:

Dance4 (

Siobhan Davies Dance (

Artist website:

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