In a room, five adults standing in a line one behind another, all facing the left of view. They are dancing, copying the movements of the person in front with their right arm raised above their heads.

Ise City, British Council

About the Ise City Residency programme 

In October 2019, Ise City in Mie Prefecture and the British Council invited seven artists from the UK to participate in the Ise City Residency programme. During their two-week stay, the artists visited Ise Jingu and other famous sites to deepen their understanding of Ise's deep-rooted history and nature.

More than three years later, in January 2023, Matthew Rosier, Nicole Vivien Watson, and Jane and Louise Wilson revisited Ise to create new works. The three groups, who have garnered attention in Japan and abroad, gained inspiration from their interactions with the local people.

In February 2023, we spoke with Nicole Vivien Watson, about her experience in Ise and its influence on her work.

About Nicole Vivien Watson

Nicole Vivien Watson is the director and founder of Surface Area Dance Theatre. She uses creative projects to communicate ideas through multiple platforms. She works in collaboration with communities with and without hearing impairments in the UK, Japan, Greece, and North America. She has a deep knowledge of Japan, and in 2021 she earned a master's degree from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) University of London for her research on East Asian Buddhism and Shogun Iconography.

Being inspired by Ise and its influence on new work 

How did the 2019 visit to Ise affect you?

The visit introduced me to the Ise Ondo Folk Dance Society (Houkakuren) and the Mie Prefecture’s Deaf community. There I learned the Ise Ondo folk dances, and that experience had a great influence on my subsequent choreography. Echoes of the dances are found in the choreography I arranged during my 2020-21 residency at the Barbican Centre in London.

What were your impressions of Ise after returning three years later?

My second visit to Ise was both a new and familiar experience. I collaborated with Tom White, an accomplished sound artist, to conduct research that included elements I hadn’t considered during the 2019 visit. I was able to sit in the sounds of Ise’s extraordinary natural environment.

Please tell us about your new work.

During my stay, I held workshops with people with hearing impairments using "SubPac", a wearable device that allows the body to feel sound. The film and music are composed not only from that workshop, but also from interviews, the soundscapes of Ise, and inspiration from the Ise Ondo folk dances. The title of the work is ‘Shore, Sea, and Land – Lines’. Key concepts include the feeling of sound, Deaf culture, the natural world, heritage, new technology meets ancient culture, and accessibility.

About ‘Shore, Sea, and Land – Lines’ 

Read more about ‘Shore, Sea, and Land – Lines’and enjoy the film online from our dedicated webpageas well as the artist’s website.

See also

External links