Lorraine Smith (Other), Daphne Karstens (Designer)

Research output: Non-textual formDigital or Visual Products


SESSIONS # 1-4 explored new approaches to devising costume performance, leading to the creation of three costume pieces used in a video exhibition, video flash talk and video conference paper, as part of the conference Critical Costume 2020: Costume Agency. Innovations in the costume design process were expanded via the use of unconventional manmade materials, leading to a new understanding of the importance of the ‘sculptural essence’ and agency of the material. The devising process was explored through the lens of agency and the working ethos of ‘the material directs’. The concept of shared agency was then used to examine the relationships between the material, wearable art/costume, designer and performer/choreographer, building on previous research into the porousness between the haptic body and costume (Driscoll, 2011; Machon, 2013). Investigation into how costume performances are devised, combined theories on collaboration in dance making (Heddon and Milling, 2006; Tahko, 2016), the concept of ‘emergence’ (Crickmay, 2015) and ‘embodied subject’ (Mitra, 2015), and the ‘mimodynamic’ process of costume making (Lane, 2019).

Smith uses her practical work and specialist skills and awareness as an experiential costume performer and choreographer, to bring a unique analytical perspective to research that invites conversation between performers, performance makers, costume designers and scholars. Combining practical and theoretical research, Smith has developed new knowledge in the devising of costume performance to expand on Barbieri’s costume-based approach to methods of devising performance (2012) and Jacques Lecoq’s creative approaches of the Laboratoire D’Étude du Movement.

This research has led to the re-evaluation of Smith’s original term ‘costumographer’ (Smith, 2018), and the creation of a new costume performance methodology and working terminology: ‘costumographic synergy’ and ‘choreo-costuming’. This work traverses the boundaries of costume, somatic practice and performance, and gained high praise by international scholars and artists at Critical Costume 2020.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 22 Aug 2019

Bibliographical note

Lorraine Smith is a dance artist based in the North East, where she is currently working as course leader in BA Performing Arts at Teesside University. Lorraine was the artistic director/choreographer of Silversmith Dance Theatre (2006–14) and a member of UK Arab dance troupe Al Zaytouna (2007–14), touring contemporary productions in the United Kingdom and internationally. Her main passion is devising dance theatre and costume performance. Lorraine graduated from the University College Chichester with a first-class degree in dance studies and holds an MA in choreography from Trinity Laban and a PGCHE (HEA Fellowship) from Teesside University.

Daphne Karstens (NL), combines sculpture and costume to create experimental performance, films and wearable art, using unconventional materials to experiment with shape and structure. Her work has been exhibited internationally, with costume performance piece PING winning the Silver Award in Costume Design at the World Stage Design 2017. Daphne is currently creating costume for a children’s theatre version of Oskar Schlemmer’s Triadic Ballet.


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