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Sensing Place: The Labyrinth as Communal Compass

Wednesday, 17 October 2018 , 1pm
COR001 (Creative Campus)

Speaker: Dr Kris Darby (School of Creative and Performing Arts)

This talk will discuss the labyrinth as a symbolic and literal path, from Cretan prison to substitute pilgrimage. At its core, this mysterious pattern is about facilitating transformation through transportation, in which the walker performs the place they are walking to. Such places may be far off in distant lands or they may be internalised journeys into the self. The locating of walkable labyrinths in churches, hospitals and universities provides a particular context for these journeys, acting as the equivalent to a compass on a map. Following this, the walker can orientate themselves, performing their own narrative, all the while conscious that the route they tread has been trodden by others. After the talk, you are invited to walk a labyrinth for yourself and collectively reflect on being-in-the-world. 


Dr Kris Darby graduated from Aberystwyth University in 2007 with a First-class honours degree in Drama and Theatre Studies. He then worked as an actor and scriptwriter for a short period before beginning an MA in Drama Research at the University of Exeter. Kris stayed on at Exeter to complete a PhD, graduating in 2013. His thesis, ‘Pedestrian Performance: A Mapped Journey’, was concerned with theatre and site-based performances that place emphasis on the action of walking. His subsequent research examined the prominence of walking in performer training and the use of the journey motif in theatre, labyrinths and video games. Walking continues to underpin his current research and practice as a sound artist, exploring the possibilities of placial empathy through binaural field recordings. Kris is a member of the Walking Artists Network and Chair of the board of directors for C&T Applied Theatre Company, based at the University of Worcester.


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