Janice Parker is an award-winning independent artist and choreographer. In the past 40 years she has created a vast body of work. Based in Edinburgh, Scotland, working locally and internationally, her primary passions are threefold: to develop and strengthen each person’s innate movement potential; to create art works that deepen the possibilities of feeling, thinking, imagining and questioning; and to create a more just world through creating work that proposes and supports possibilities for positive personal, social, environmental and cultural change. All art has the potential to be an act of quiet, or noisy, activism.
Starting out in the late 70’s Janice was part of the then radicle new practice of Community Dance and became a significant driving force in the development and prominence of current disability-led arts practice. She is known for her collaborations with people, of different ages and abilities, from all walks of life, many of whom are new to dance, mixing together the community and the professional dance worlds, regarding them with equal value. Janice brings dance and people together in different ways, spaces and places, often working outwith the main-stream developing partnerships and collaborations across different disciplines, art-forms and media.
She makes live performance, film, publications, installations, gatherings and events. Her work has been on mainstages, in theatres, art galleries, living rooms, museums, libraries, offices, in fields, village halls, public parks, health centres, gardens, buses, factories, hotels, historic houses, canals, care homes and dance halls, involving a few hundred people in large scale works or an intimate solo. Her work can span anything from a number of years to a few hours at a time.
Her way of working is responsive, co-created and socially engaged. Each process is unique to the people, the place and the context in which it is happening. Janice holds space for people to bring themselves to, listens, guides and facilitates, to create agency in people as movers, thinkers and makers. She also develops projects, leads workshops and residencies, is a vibrant generous teacher and mentor, gives talks and lectures, occasionally writes and has recently started to perform. The politics of care and support are intertwined within her artwork along with a questioning of how we might more cohesively live in and amongst one another. Her work sits across a variety of art-genres, often changes in form, is propositional and aims to create direct action, intervention and hoped for change.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic her work has seen her in collaboration with the land, in particular green-space within the city that she lives. She has developed a simple outdoor embodied movement practice, open to everyone, that works to create resilience, resource and courage in people and communities, providing spaces and places of sanctuary and belonging in body and place that bring us into closer connection with nature, land, self and each other. Her outdoor daily live practice, which draws on sociologist Richard Sennett’s thinking around how the sense of the body enters the built environment, is a quiet act of resistance to the gentrification and commodification of both our built environment and to the ways we are allowed to move, whose and what movement we value, and where the body and its movement are placed in the hierarchy of Western cultural norms. At the heart is a desire to bring people into a deeper connection with body and movement, land and weather, simply, accessibly, with ease and joy, as our natural born right.
Her work has been recently commissioned by Neccessity Social Justice Network, The Edinburgh Art Festival, The Edinburgh International Festival and The Travelling Gallery
In 2005 Janice was awarded a Creative Scotland Award; in 2010 her work Private Dancer received a Herald Angel; and in 2018 she was inducted as an Outstanding Woman of Scotland by the Saltire Society. Janice was recently a Trustee of Luminate: Scotland’s Creative Ageing Organisation.