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Welcome to TaPRA 2019 at the University of Exeter!
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Stephen Hodge

TaPRA asides: Where to build the walls that protect us
TaPRA asidesWhere to build the walls that protect us 

Originally commissioned by Kaleider, Exeter, and later reiterated for Compass Festival, Leeds, Where to build the walls that protect us borrowed its title from an Exeter Express & Echo newspaper headline relating to the city's future flood defences. Participants were encouraged to look again at the fundamental fabric of the city and envisage it afresh. Literal and poetic drift underpinned the work, intervening into the process of city planning by holding space for imagination-fuelled conversations between a mixed set of participants (including selected MET Office scientists, architects and long-term city residents) out on the city's streets. An architect or planner might call this sort of process a 'charrette' – an intensive, collaborative enquiry that seeks to solve a complex design issue. Perhaps that sounds rather dry and dusty, but you should be assured that this was an exercise in serious play – mining the ground between the Possible and the Imaginable. 
 
TaPRA asidesWhere to build the walls that protect us is a response to a request for a conference contribution that might emerge from my Practice Research, engage with the city (now Exeter, but originally Guildford), and facilitate exchange between delegates. It is rooted in the original work, and its focus on imaginatively modelling liveable and sustainable future environments. But perhaps it also holds the potential for delegates to tease open the title a little. To wonder about the landscape of theatre and performance within which we all operate. 
 
In your conference pack, you will find an envelope containing a set of stimuli. Designed to be used between timetabled conference events, they are gentle impetuses for interactions with other conference goers (e.g. in a conference break), and moments for individual contemplation (e.g. in your bed last thing at night). Use and/or abuse them as you see fit. 
 
Stephen Hodge is Associate Professor in Live Art + Spatial Practices, and Director of Arts and Culture at the University of Exeter. He generates Practice Research across a range of contexts, e.g.: Where to build the walls that protect us, Exeter/Leeds (2013-16); 4 x 4 Screens, Live Art Development Agency commissioned DVD (2013); The Master Plan, Book Works/Situations (2012); Slarristokaupunki, ANTI Festival, Finland + Second Life (2009); for piano solo, NRLA (1994). He is a core member of Wrights & Sites, four artist-researchers whose work focuses on peoples' relationships to places, cities and walking. Their work has included site-specific performance, structured walks (e.g. Stadtverführungen in Wien, Vienna Festival, 2007), published Mis-Guides (e.g. Mis-Guide To Anywhere, 2006 + The Architect-Walker, 2018), public art (e.g. Everything you need to build a town is here for Wonders of Weston, 2010) or installations (e.g. mis-guidedBelluard Bollwerk International Festival, 2008), and public presentations/articles.