Alt Prepping – Hamish MacPherson

Over the last few years Chisenhale Dance Space has supported me to develop workshops that explore broadly political themes through embodied and collective activities.

It started with some short workshops with specific themes (like borders, power and time) and then progressed onto longer events with less specific themes. I tried to turn the latter events into something self generating where the participants could collectively decide the structure and content of the final event. This had limited success but I think it’s something that needs a lot of time because it’s not following the usual hierarchies or economies of dance making. Not that the usual structures are necessarily bad.

So now with some Allotment funding and space from Open School East I’m hoping to carry this on with monthly sessions called Alt Prepping (starting 17 February). Prepping is the practice of making active preparations for a possible disaster or emergency, typically by stockpiling food, ammunition, and other supplies.


It’s something that I’ve been thinking about in relation to post apocalyptic fiction and political philosophy. Things like Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan. Things like The Walking Dead and what that kind of fantasy about the future says and does about present fears, priorities and limitations.

unnamed (4)

But I was wondering if could we think of a kind of ‘Alt Prepping’ that stockpiles aesthetics, movements, relationships and other resources for some unimagined future? Something inspired by Octavia Butler’s postapocalyptic Parable series which describes a social contract based on human dependence and vulnerability. Or maybe even something more pessimistic and hopeless.

In concrete terms we will spend a day trying out different scores that might involve dancing, moving, talking etc. finding different ways to be together and maybe think about what is important and interesting to us. But I want try to nurture something where anyone can propose things, but you don’t have to and we can always come up with new things amongst ourselves. A practice of democratic collective leaning and teaching where over time we can develop a repertoire of scores.

It’s not a rehearsal, it’s not a reading group. It is rooted in dance practices but is open to anyone.

unnamed (1)
unnamed (3)

unnamed (2)

Alt Prepping is free and starts on 17 February at Open School East.