2011 Kate Freer interview with researchers at Harvard who study traumatic brain injuries (TBI)

Research: a verb, a noun, an activity, a way of noticing, a way of cataloguing. Research a way of moving with others, a way of moving ideas forward. Research, now at the core of so many of my activities.

The dance field is full of artists busy with research. They mean many different things by using the word even as some of our champions beg us not to use it in public because they think we employ it out of defensiveness; somehow we are trying to prove our knowledge has worth if we call it something recognizable to the intellectuals.

But I don't feel defensive. I feel full of passion for the many forms it takes and for the delightful discoveries that ensue. And I certainly don't feel we have any problem holding our own ideas and thoughts accountable in a universe that constructs a hierarchy in which the body and its concepts are at the bottom. As I have often said, movement artists, performers and choreographers alike are some of the most articulate and original thinkers anywhere.

So check in here for all kinds of things.

A note from Kate Freer about her work with Liz and the TBI researchers at Harvard:

In the fall of 2011 Dave Tennent and I were brought to Harvard by Liz Lerman as visiting artists both to work with her class, but also to begin the development process for our most recent collaboration "Healing Wars." Liz had been deep in research and rehearsal for some time, but this was the first time Dave and I really got to dive in.

While I would classify myself as a theatrical video designer, my roots are in documentary filmmaking. I find that most of my research is done by asking questions in front of a camera. There are things that come out during conversation that could be lost if it were not for the camera keeping record. Which is why I was so excited when Liz introduced us to Josh Goss and Matt Hemphill, Traumatic Brain Injury researchers at Harvard's Disease Biophysics Group.

The video posted at the top of this page is a selection from my conversation with Matt and Josh. After our conversation I began questioning the other ways in which medical advancements during wartime not only benefit society, but also change its course. While this is only the beginning of my side of the research, it is a very exciting beginning.


In early 2008, Liz and small team of dancers visited CERN to do research for Liz's piece "The Matter of Origins." Many physicists at CERN were game to spend time with us, and they helped us tremendously, but they weren't necessarily clear about what we intended to do with our research, and what "research" means for dance. So we made this video for them.