Development Work

”Method book” by Lena Stefenson

Researcher: Lena Stefenson

Method book is a development work by Lena Stefenson, assistant professor of mime arts.

Research summary

In February 2019, I, Lena Stefenson, choreographing director and associate professor of Mime-acting at Stockholm University of the Arts (Uniarts), completed a longer research project within Uniarts. My work on the project started in 2014 and I initially gave it the title "Process Handbook and Sets". The intention was to direct two performances to reflect on and describe different methods in the work of choreographing / directing movement-based performative art. The goal was to produce a kind of method book.

Eventually, I abandoned the idea that the text should be based on an ongoing set of work. Instead, I focused on reflecting on a number of directing jobs I had done earlier in my professional life, as well as on my own and others' teaching. This path turned out to be as accessible as the idea I had envisioned earlier. The research project was now called "Method Book".

The writing process has in itself brought with it insights that were both new and have deepened my perspectives. Working methods that have previously seemed obvious because they "just work" have found a deeper meaning solely by working to describe them. During the writing process, phenomena that have been able to present challenges (problems) have become more understandable. Causal relationships have emerged.

During the writing process, I tested different parts of the text on student groups and also worked on the different methods during lessons. I have discussed the text with my two supervisors, Professor Ingela Josefsson and Professor Maria Johansson, which has deepened and improved both my own thought work and the design of the text. Reference literature has further contributed to widening the horizon beyond one's own. Librarian Olof Halldin has helped with language review, and directors Lena Nylén Tyrstrup and Anne Jonsson have had valuable views on the content.

The work eventually led to the book Movement First, directing  of movement-based performing arts, released in February 2019 and  now available for purchase on Uniarts website. It can also be downloaded for free from the research portal DIVA and accessed on the Research Portal Research Catalogue.

I have now begun my work on reaching out with the book to both the college world and the performing arts industry. The book will be a textbook within Uniarts. Other universities have also included it in their reference list and I continue my work to reach more. I participate in seminars and courses as soon as possible. The book will eventually be translated into English. As the mime actor training at Uniarts is working to strengthen its international contact network, this will be one of several building blocks in that work.

The book Movement First, about directing for movement-based performing arts

In the spring of 2019, my book Movement First, about directing for movement-based performing arts, was released.

The book is aimed at anyone who is, or wants to become, a choreographing director or actor in the movement-based performing arts with forms such as dance, mime and circus. It is also aimed at those who generally want to make their scenic work more physical.

I have written on the basis of my own experience as a choreographing director with examples from various set works as well as my own and others' teaching. The text is about how to create the elevated movements in a performance. How to work with theme? With story? What is the relation between movement and text? What does it mean to be a choreographer / director for a movement-based performance? How are the last rehearsal weeks going?

The book is created as an artistic development work with the support within Uniarts. It has been a long and winding effort that has resulted in a book text whose content I continue to disseminate in my teaching, at courses and conferences.

In addition to working on reaching out with my book, I am involved in a couple of smaller research projects that are all about movement.

Lena Stefenson, Stockholm 190819

The book

uniarts shop

Research Catalogue