Choreographies of precariousness. A transdisciplinary study of the working and living conditions in the contemporary dance scenes of Brussels and Berlin

Start - End 
2014 - 2018 (ongoing)
Department of Art, music and theatre sciences
Research Focus 
Research Period 
Research Region 
Research Language 
Additional tags 
Creative labor
Working conditions
Living conditions
Creative process



Choreographies of Precariousness focuses on contemporary dancers' socio-economical position and its influence on their production processes. Within this frame will be discussed to what extent one may speak of precariousness in the contemporary dance scenes of both Brussels and Berlin, which can be seen as creative capitals of Western Europe.

The focus lays on investigating the dance artists' motivations and values in their career paths and is put on contemporary dance as it appears to be one of the most internationally project-oriented professions, or even the most precarious profession in the performing arts.

The project starts from the hypothesis that crucial choices in a dance artist's career path and working process are made for the sake of developing the artistic self, not the least through variable forms of artistic collaboration. Thus, the social situation and the motivational components of project-oriented contemporary dance artists will be investigated in the contexts of Brussels and Berlin.

Some research questions are: Does the socio-economical position of contemporary dance artists affect the working process and if so, in what ways? And: To what extent is precariousness intertwined with the logics of both project work and collaborative creation that characterize immaterial labor?

The methodological approach is threefold: the working and living conditions will be studied in the framework of recent studies on flexible work formats and creative cities and in the form of a quantitative as well as a qualitative investigation of diverse types of individual contemporary dancers.

This study will deliver crucial insights for theatre studies and the sociology of culture and the arts and with this project we will contribute to a new and necessary approach to contemporary dance work, i.e. the emerging field of sociological theatre studies.

Choreographies of Precariousness is a collaboration between S:PAM (Ghent University) and CeSO (Centre for Sociological Research, KU Leuven).



Phd Student(s)



Rudi Laermans