‘Judaica Lab: An outsider’s perspective’

“Judaica Lab: An outsider’s perspective” (11:20). Documentary video by Garry Cook with Nazlihan Eda Ercin, Agnieszka Mendel, and Ben Spatz. Recorded at the University of Huddersfield and the University of Manchester. Judaica: Embodied Laboratory for Songwork, 2018.

It is not easy to explain the project “Judaica: An Embodied Laboratory for Songwork.” Funded by a Leadership Fellow award from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (2016-2018), the core of this project was six months of full-time embodied practice research involving three skilled practitioners working closely together, first in a studio and later in a variety of other places.

The aim was to test a new kind of research design that would realise contemporary theories of embodiment, identity, and knowledge through experimental practice. The three core researchers brought training and expertise from theatre, dance, music, somatics, and other forms of physical culture and embodied practice into the studio. Drawing on ethnomusicology and Jewish studies as well as performance studies, speculative materialism, and critical identity work, we approached the studio as a laboratory in which songs, bodies, and identities interact in unexpected ways.

Gradually we invited guests to join us in the lab and eventually we took the research to other sites and locations including theatres, universities, and Jewish cultural centres in the United Kingdom, United States, and Poland.

As the project was officially coming to an end this summer, I asked guest photographer and videographer Garry Cook to create a short documentary that might help introduce our research to a wider audience. I am happy to officially release Garry’s video here.

This video and blog post was originally published on the AHRC blog.