Dance filmmaking as practice for social change

Karen Wood, Sima Gonsai

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


‘Cultivate’ was initiated to speak to climate change and the industrial effect that mass production has had on soil. Some farming soil has been over-cultivated, doused with fertilisers and no longer has the nutrients required to grow substantial crops. The film combines soil health and South Asian dance that points to ritual with earth and body. The film was made by Sima Gonsai (Director) and Karen Wood (Movement Director), funded by The Space Arts in collaboration with Birmingham Dance Network,

Can we affect people’s behaviour by employing dancefilm to relay a message? According to social proof theorist, Roberto Cialdini (1984), people imitate the actions of others to behave consistently in particular situations. Social proof theory, also called informational social influence, is seen where people follow ‘the herd’ as they are unsure how to behave in given situations. Anastasia Denisova (2023) calls for ‘less doomism’ in media presentation of climate change so that it alleviates eco-anxiety and makes space for more positive stories. Dancefilm is one way to reinforce climate messages and helps the call for positive action.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2024
EventArts and Citizenship: Moving and Belonging - Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Leeds, United Kingdom
Duration: 11 Jan 202412 Jan 2024


ConferenceArts and Citizenship: Moving and Belonging
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • dance
  • filmmaking
  • social
  • change
  • climate
  • soil


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