At this time it seems essential to work on our Ways of Being Together
Ways of Being Together is a series of workshops, conversations and performances centred around the idea of Belonging. A sense of belonging is intimate and powerful, connected, optimistic, unknown and curious making.
Jo Fong has been gathering people.
This is a choreography for many people, it’s not a dance, it’s a movement
The act of bringing people together
The art of bringing people together
“Beautiful, stunning and life affirming work.” Emily Alden
An Installation of People
Jo is interested in spontaneity, arriving with ourselves and authentic encounters. The interaction is live and people adapt, make room, save, lead, follow, get out of the way, care, grow an energy, grow an awareness, whether that be spacial, a shared joke or about the knowledge of what each human carries with them.
Among many questions that are continuing to be considered are What is Community? We have practiced listening, talking, thinking, moving and even swimming together. We have considered what’s necessary to create a sense of belonging or on occasion it can feel like were simply practicing being with people.
Collaborators consist of expert and non-expert performers, dancers, actors, singers, directors, writers, social workers, aikido enthusiasts, gardeners, visual artists, clowns, pilates teachers, their partners, their children… The invitation is particular its about giving time to be with people, people we individually recognise as being of value to ourselves, people we are curious about, people who we pass in the café and always say, yes we should meet and have that chat and we never do. Yet also the opportunity to hear voices we don’t ordinarily hear. The work relies on and cultivates live connections between people. I’m interested in honest, open, fresh conversation – not our prepared scripts or even saying other’s scripts or liking something on Facebook, but an opportunity to think a fresh, learn or be part of something.
Dance has a special place in this.
Face to face, touch, listening – hearing ourselves, each other, being seen. The value of our bodies, movement, presence, proximity, growing a physical sensitivity and even our own physical power. At this time it seems essential to work on our Ways of Being Together and the project acts as a pathway to celebrate resilient communities that potentially inspire and take action
The performance projects are tailored to each community with an emphasis on difference and are focused on creating experiences that bind us.
The Kitchen Table
We have discussed collaboration, community, participation, inclusivity… All discussion has been lightly centred around notions of belonging. We have also talked about parties, friendship, responsibility, gardens, permaculture and other things. Then there are the huge questions like impact, motivation, culture or sustainability. I’m interested in fresh conversation, empowerment and action, an art action, regeneration, a pledge, something positive however small or potentially groundbreaking.
To join the conversation see News for up and coming events.
This research went on to become Neither Here Nor There created and hosted by Sonia Hughes and Jo Fong
The first performance of Ways of Being Together was presented at Cardiff Dance Festival 2017, Chapter Arts Centre.
The work was performed by 46 people who love to move..
Since its initiation a few hundred people have contributed to the making and presentation of this project. I would like to thank everyone who has given their time and generosity to the work. This adventure would have been impossible without the attention and care of Sonia Hughes.
Angharad Closs is a human geographer she has been following and writing about this process. We will be sharing her work at jofong.com.
Ways of Being Together was nominated for a Wales Theatre Award 2018.
As associate artist of Chinese Arts Now Jo and her team Re-created Ways of Being Together for CAN Festival 2020. Jo is committed to working with a diverse team, bringing difference to the stage and behind the scenes.
Shoreditch Town Hall Feb 2020
In lockdown Ways of Being Together took to zoom, daily dances and gatherings of small groups for conversation, support and check-ins.
The most recent iteration is
Ways of Being Together is an artist led community.
As a community we continue to evolve and share space for creative friendship and arts practice. Our events are layered, centring listening, support, coming out, re-forming community & actioning change.
We think of ourselves as a movement.
14 artists and over 50 guests came together for a shared two-week residency at Toynbee Hall as part of Artsadmin Lab programme 2022. Power, presence, provocation, protest, grief, well-being, motherhood, masculinity, faith and grace.
Our 2022 artists
Jane Chan, Jasmine Chiu, Laura Lee Greenhalgh, Sumi Xiaoméi Cheng 澄晓楳, Elina Akhmetova, Jay Yule, Loe D’Arcy, Dawn Collins, Iris Chan, Jia-Yu Corti, Moi Tran, Linzy Na Nakorn, Hazel Lam, Sophie Nüzel and Jo Fong.
It’s about space and time to reconnect, repair, replenish and explore performance making & co-creation.
Ways of Being Together has been created with support from Arts Council of Wales, Fieldwork, Artsadmin, Toynbee Hall, KindRedPacket22, Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Dance Festival, Hull Dance, Hijinx Academi, Xintiandi Festival, Chapter Arts Centre, Barry Memo, Groundwork Pro, University of South Wales, South East Dance and Mayflower.