Helen Gould – getting ready to deliver her workshop

I returned home from Pittsburgh energised and inspired. The jam-packed programme of ICDS’23 brought together a wealth of expertise from a wide range of disciplines. Day one I was torn where to focus my energy. But, realising potential value of engaging in the unexpected I relaxed and loosely curated my journey between papers, workshops, performances, and keynotes, happening across presentations that offered new insights and approaches.

Reflecting on the experience a few months later I wanted to share three of my most resonant highlights.


Performance has always been a memorable part of ICDS and ’23 was no different. An eclectic programme of work served as a reminder that Dalcroze deals with performance arts. Unfortunately, I couldn’t watch everything on offer but what I did see was very memorable. Tissues were passed around during the exceptionally moving and embodied piece by Marlies Muijzers and John Habron. Marlies provided further insight into her work ‘The Sound of My Ability’ in her presentations, eloquently expressing her journey of adaptation, transformation and discovery. An inspiring story of strength, artistic evolution, and ambition. The energetic solo by Lorretta Foi showcased a theatrical and entertaining multi-disciplinary performance which drew on relevant in-the-moment themes. Michael Joviala and Dawn Pratson’s improvisation was a captivating union between music and dance, enhanced through a symbiotic-like relationship between artists. The young performers brought fresh and playful performances with humour and excellent stage craft. Meridith Monk generously offered insight into her impressive track record of iconic work and how experiences of Dalcroze Eurhythmics shaped her career. ICDS performances encouraged me to ask how I can bring more performance to the local communities I work with who are living with disabilities and long-term health conditions? And how can my practice incorporate more performance?


The impact of sharing physical space with others is unmatched. I embraced the opportunity of ICDS to be present, learn, build relationships and collaborate in real time. Being with international friends and colleagues after a period of disconnection made ICDS particularly special. I benefited from immersing myself in new research, sharing my work with others and hoped that I too was positively contributing to the rich melting pot of current research and practice. Bouncing off the connections with others, I had space to consider new ideas keeping my work relevant and progressive. Whilst opportunities for international relationship building is vitally important, especially in our current environment, it’s challenging to pursue a convincing argument for more international in-person collaboration when the climate emergency needs tackling head on. This was also a frequent topic of conversation at ICDS. How can we maximise international cross collaborative research opportunities at this time?


As part of Ecologies of Practice, the conference raised discussions surrounding the shared experiences of climate change, cost of living, funding, governments policy, mental health and wellbeing. But what I extracted from these heavy and pressing topics was a strong and collective ambition for positive change. This was coupled with an energy to build our Dalcroze community and a recognition that there needed to be more voices in the room. As a creative community I left ICDS’ 23 hopeful that we will grow, progress and evolve in relevant and meaningful ways to help tackle these global pressures through collaboration.