Sarah Whatley

Professor, Director, Centre for Dance Research

    Accepting PhD Students


    Research activity per year

    Personal profile

    Research Interests

    Dance analysis; Dance and disability; Dance and digital technologies, Intangible Cultural Heritage, Dance and somatic practices



    Sarah Whatley is Director, Centre for Dance Research. Her research focuses on the interface between dance and new technologies, dance analysis, somatic dance practice and pedagogy, and inclusive dance. The AHRC, the Leverhulme Trust, Wellcome Trust and the European Union fund her current and previous research, which is broadly focused on the impact of digital technologies on tangible and intangible cultural heritage. She led the AHRC-funded Siobhan Davies digital archive project, RePlay, and has since partnered with a number of other leading artist organisations. She was founding Principal Editor of the Journal of Dance and Somatic Practices (JDSP) and now sits on the Journal's Board as well as several other Journals.

    Sarah was a panel member in REF 2014 (Panel D35) and in 2021 (Panel D33) and is a Strategic Reviewer and member of the AHRC Peer Review College. She is also an Evaluator for the European Commission.


    Vision Statement

    My research is inspired by my deep interest in how dance artists document and publish their choreographic thinking in different modes, and how audiences become co-creators in art making practices. The collaborations that I have with researchers and artists, arts companies and organisations, both in the UK and overseas, are very important to me because it stimulates productive dialogues and leads to new insights about dance as a creative cultural practice.

    Research Interests

    Research Projects and Grants awarded

    2017     Social Choreography – AHRC Network project (Co-I)

    2016     Resilience and Inclusion: Dancers as Agents of Change- AHRC (PI)

    2016     Identity and Governance of Bodily Extensions: The Case of Prosthetics and Avatars – Wellcome Seed Award in Humanities and Social Science (partner)

    2016     People Dancing: changing perceptions through inclusion and interventions – AHRC CDA (PI)

    2015     Error Network: AHRC (Co-I)

    2015     Whole-Body Interaction Learning for Dance Education (WhoLoDance); EU (partner)

    2014     In the Dancer’s Mind; Creativity, Novelty and the Imagination; Leverhulme  (Co-I)

    2014     Civic EpistemologiesDevelopment of a Roadmap for Citizen Researchers in the age of Digital Culture; FP7 Capacities Programme (partner)

    2013     EuropeanaSpace; FP7   CIP-ICT-PSP-2013-7 (project lead)

    2013     Renewal, Innovation and Change: Heritage and European Society (RICHES) FP7 Cooperation Theme 8 Socio-Economic Sciences & Humanities  SSH.2013.5.2-2 Transmitting and benefiting from cultural heritage in Europe (STREP) – (Researcher – Coventry leading).

    2012     Enhancing Choreographic Objects (EChO); AHRC (Researcher)

    2012     Labo21; European Commission – Culture Europe (partner)

    2012     In-visible Difference: Dance, disability and law, AHRC (PI)

    2011     The Library of Processes; Collaborative doctoral award, AHRC

    2010     D-TRACES (Dance Teaching Resources and Collaborative Engagement Spaces):  JISC (PI) 

    2010     Capturing Stillness; visualization techniques and motion capture:  AHRC Creative Fellowship – Ruth Gibson

    2010     Digital Dance Archives: AHRC DEDEFI scheme  (Co-I)

    2009     Screen Dance Network; AHRC (Co-I)

    2009     Transformations; Cultural Olympiad; People Dancing (lead researcher)

    2008     Choreographic Objects; traces and artefacts of physical intelligence; AHRC – Beyond Text (Co-I)

    2007      Moving Matters; HEA PALATINE Development Award 

    2007     Establishing movement standards and injury reduction for dancers; Leverhulme (Co-I) 

    2006     CURVE- learning objects for dance; JISC (Work Package leader)

    2006     Siobhan Davies Dance Online; AHRC (PI)

    2005     Fracture; Dance and the Moving Image; Arts Council England (project lead)

    2004     Body Realities: strategies for inclusion in dance in HE; Coventry University research fund (PI) 


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