Devising, Arranging, Composing....

By its very nature, Interdisciplinary Collaboration demands the integration of different knowledges, histories, practices and even languages that have evolved over time within the sometimes hermetic spaces of individual artistic disciplines. One barrier to collaboration is the strangeness and lack of confidence that artists feel when engaging with a new discipline, particularly around the most fundamental question of how do we talk about each-others' work. In the spirit of opening up possibilities for understanding (rather than attempting to force conformity towards any one set of terms) we offer some provisional definitions...

2014-06-05 12.26.13.jpg

Interdisciplinary Collaboration


A process where different disciplines come together to create new work.

Sometimes this can mean that a group composed of artists from many different disciplines all create a work in a single discipline (a film, or dance, or sound score.)  It can also mean that the same group builds a work that includes elements from some or all of the disciplines represented in the group. Most exciting is when artists collaborate across their disciplines, each contributing substantially to what is created, regardless of their specific training or expertise.

Discipline based work depends on a single stream of historical thought, methodology, norms, and relationships from which to create new work. It need not look outside of its discipline for inspiration or knowledge, nor does it hope to speak outside of the context of its discipline.

Interdisciplinary work accesses multiple disciplines simultaneously and attempts to engage these disciplines in a conversation.

To begin with, a discipline can be conveniently defined as any comparatively self-contained and isolated domain of human experience which possesses its own community of experts. Interdisciplinarity is best seen as bringing together distinctive components of two or more disciplines. In academic discourse, interdisciplinarity typically applies to four realms: knowledge, research, education, and theory. Interdisciplinary knowledge involves familiarity with components of two or more disciplines. Interdisciplinary research combines components of two or more disciplines in the search or creation of new knowledge, operations, or artistic expressions. Interdisciplinary education merges components of two or more disciplines in a single program of instruction. Interdisciplinary theory takes interdisciplinary knowledge, research, or education as its main objects of study.
- Moti Nissani, 10 Cheers for Interdisciplinarity (1997)

Interdisciplinary Collaboration provides way of developing a new language and new modes of performance. Post-discipline, undisciplined, indescribable.

Collaboration is mutual involvement, co-creation, exchange, co-authorship, mutual aid, compromise, an ecology of creativity.

In collaboration:
  1. Create a question to investigate that matters to everyone in the group.
  2. Find an anchor that will be used to investigate the question –this could be any method or approach.
  3. Determine a structure that best holds your ideas together.

- Viewpoints, Bogart & Landau



Art practices that occur in time share many common notions of composition - but so do forms that are less obviously working with time like painting or sculpture. Foreground, background, gesture, texture, density, abstraction, the relationship of the gesture to the body, etc..

Theater and Dance:

A process of building a work in time and space

A way of identifying the science behind art making

A structure for working with our impulses

A method for being in dialogue with other art forms

Structuring the relationship between tensions

The practice of selecting and arranging the separate components of theatrical language into a cohesive work of art for the stage...
In composition, we make pieces so that we can point to them and say: “That worked” and ask “why?” so that we can articulate which ideas, moments, images, etc., we will include in our production.

- Viewpoints, Bogart & Landau


A definition of music that has gained traction in the past hundred years is "organized sound". Thus, composition can be defined as the act of organizing sound, with the assumption that the act occurs prior to performance. 

Visual Art:

The elements of composition in art are used to arrange or organize components in a way that is pleasing to the artist and, hopefully, the viewer. It helps give structure to the layout and the way the subject is presented. It also encourages or leads the viewer's eye to wander around the whole space of the artwork, taking in everything and ultimately (in most instances) coming back to rest on the focal point.


In cinematography, composition refers to the frame of the image and how the elements of the mise-en-scene appear in it. Composition guidelines must be observed when telling stories visually, as in filmmaking.

Stage Production:

Both the craft and art of producing space and the sensorial world of the work. It is the individual elements that comprise the 'design' of a performance event (such as light, environment, costume, etc.) as expressed through the 'scenography' - an artistic perspective concerning the visual, experiential and spatial composition of performance.