We welcomed Laura Bradshaw and her family, Murray, Jude and Rowan in June 2021 for the first part of a SSW x Counterflows Caregivers Residency. Here Laura reflects on the first two weeks of the residency and shares questions that will inform the next half of the residency in August.
In June I completed half of a 4 week Caregivers Residency with Scottish Sculpture Workshop and Counterflows. I took my family to SSW to work together for 2 weeks in the Communities Room. We are Laura (37), Murray (37), Rowan (4) and Jude (10 months). (Currently) 3 of us are male and 1 of us is female, 1 of us is disabled and 3 of us are non-disabled, 2 of us are caregivers and 2 of us are the recipients. We are all at different stages of learning about care.
The residency is an opportunity for us to begin a process of researching our interdependent relationships. I (Laura) am an artist who works with movement and choreography and Murray is an artist who works with performance and film. As a family we spend a lot of time engaged in learning about movement- how to move across distance, how to lift objects, how to lift each other, how to throw, how to eat, how to push, how to roll, how to go alone, how to go together. We experience interdependence with each other’s bodies, a walking frame, an all-terrain buggy, a wheelchair, a non-slip placemat, a supportive chair, a baby carrier, a yellow therapy bench, breasts and their milk, cups with a lid and 2 handles.
I have noticed how these caring experiences challenge and sometimes arrest my movement. I am interested in how we can understand them as a series of duets, trios, small group choreographies. When I am thinking about and tending to the bodies I care for what is happening in my body? What shapes are we making together? What are the rhythms and repetitions?
During the first two weeks of our residency we:
Covered the floor in soft duck-egg coloured mats.
Travelled from one corner to another
Travelled between crosses marked out on the floor
Carried those smaller than us with our bodies – on backs, in arms, rolling over, up high.
Listened to songs about carrying.
Pushed the buggy
Moved the walking frame
Went for walks
Talked about trespassing and identity, about trespassing into an identity that isn’t ones own, about trying not to overstep.
Thought about interdependence and independence and if one is possible without the other.
We fed each other; washed each other; kissed each other; communicated through words, signs, sounds, pointing and gesturing.
We felt frustrated with each other, we needed our own space, we went to the shops and did the washing.
So much of the residency echoed, mirrored and was our normal life but to place it within our soft duck-egg matted making space allowed our everyday to be a little illuminated. Our usual roles began to shift and slide into each other. We began to create our own performance vocabulary full of carrying, rolling, walking, kneeling, supporting, dueting, solo-ing and quartet-ing.
And now we have paused for a while ready to return in August. I have some questions that we will carry into the next 2 weeks:
What is the relationship between care and control?
How do I help ( _ ) find his agency?
What is his movement?
What about ( _ )?
How can our bodies be in conversation?
Whose story is this?
What is my territory within the conversation about disability?
Who can act as a critical friend for us?
What are my assumptions here?
We are looking forward to returning and continuing.
For more information about the SSW x Counterflows Caregivers Residency see: