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Male and female dancer in red jump suits standing on point with one leg raised high.

The Mechanics of Life

Northern Ballet & University of Leeds research project receives Ingenious Award

The Mechanics of Life: Movement, Mobility and Me, our pioneering research project in collaboration with the University of Leeds, has been awarded an Ingenious Award from the Royal Academy of Engineering.

The project brings together engineers at the University of Leeds and creatives at Northern Ballet to engage a diverse audience with the mechanics of movement through dance.

Through creative exploration of motion, this project aims to inspire an understanding of medical engineering and its impact on health and wellbeing in society. The project will culminate in an experience day for high school students where they will codesign an engineering-inspired performance, which will be choreographed and performed by Northern Ballet dancers, and digitally captured on film. Through this unique collaboration, the project seeks to create lasting relationships across arts, science, and engineering.

The Mechanics of Life: Movement, Mobility and Me is one of 16 projects selected to receive this year’s prestigious awards. The Royal Academy of Engineering’s Ingenious programme started in 2007 and is funded by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology to support public engagement projects with grants of up to £30,000. The programme intends raise awareness of the diversity, nature and impact of engineering among people of all ages and backgrounds as well as inspiring creative public engagement with engineering projects.

"The Ingenious programme provides engineers with opportunities to further develop their communication skills, enabling them to illustrate their work and inspire the public in new, creative ways. These Ingenious projects can help change the perception of engineering and encourage more people to engage with the profession - and maybe even aspire to become an engineer."

Ingenious Panel Chair Professor Lucy Rogers FREng

Male and female dancer in red jump suits standing on point with one leg raised high.

"We are delighted to be working with Dr Briony Thomas on this unique project, bringing engineers, artists, and young people together to explore the mechanics of movement through dance. Bringing these concepts to life through dance will enable us to engage with new and diverse audiences and help us to further understand how developments in mechanical engineering help dancers, and the general public to live longer, stronger and healthier lives."

Leanne Kirkham, Northern Ballet’s Director of Learning

"I am looking forward to continuing the collaborative process with Dr Briony Thomas and picking up from where we first began, evolving our work together at the cultural institute. This is a fantastic opportunity for science and art to come together to affect grass roots education."

Kenneth Tindall, Northern Ballet’s Associate Director for Digital & Choreographer in Residence

Header image taken by Emma Kauldhar.

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