Back2School - Breakout! 2018

In October 2018 we delivered a new iteration of our school residency project: Back 2 School - Breakout! Working with our partners at Niddrie Mill Primary School, we have further developed the scope, reach and outcomes of the project, diversifying the content by bringing in new artists, collaborators and partners. Supported by a grant from the City of Edinburgh Council Culture Project Fund in partnership with The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, this project provided the participants with the opportunity to work in a professional theatre space, with professional directors and technical crew, opening the door to new experiences (dance, performance, visual art and design, technical skills) enabling the young people to more fully realise their creative potential. Christine Devaney (Artistic Director, Curious Seed) was joined by Hendrik Lebon (international dance artist), Kim Moore (musician), Katy Wilson (visual artist), Artistic Director Gill Robertson and Technical Manager Craig Fleming (Catherine Wheels). Below is a wonderful documentary film of the project created by longstanding company collaborators, D Fie Foe - enjoy!

Back 2 School Breakout! 2018

Since 2015, we have developed and piloted several projects under the creative learning arm of our artistic programme, CURIOUS. The strands of the programme are designed specifically to enhance understanding and enjoyment of our work, but also crucially to provide new experiences for harnessing individual creativity and inspiring people and communities. We seek to nurture a deeper engagement with the artistic process, allowing participants from a range of ages and backgrounds to explore their own creativity and embedding a sense of ownership in the process. We aim to provide high quality, inclusive and accessible experiences that promote an environment where everyone is valued and can confidently engage with the arts.


Invite: Our Invite workshops (delivered in partnership with Playwrights’ Studio Scotland) are a structured way of sharing our creative processes with other artists, practitioners and students who want to expand their own practice by engaging in our distinctive approach to creating work. Led by Christine and writer/musician Luke Sutherland, the workshops provide participants with the opportunity to explore collaborative and experimental ways of working on the interplay between text, music and movement and what this may bring to the development and direction of their work.

These workshops can be delivered and shaped for specific timeframes and groups; for example, as one-off workshops, weekend workshops or longer residencies. They aim to bring together choreographers, writers, dancers and artists of other specialisms (i.e. composers, designers, visual artists).

 ‘a vivid and inspiring experience’ A participating playwright on Invite

MAKE: Our MAKE workshops are based on a model that has been developed from Christine's research project of the same name (supported by a Creative Scotland Artists Bursary and a residency at Lyra). To date, this research has involved working with young people in Craigmillar (Edinburgh) and in Gent (Belgium) and has focused on the question: how will young people respond creatively when they are given the opportunity to make choices as the dance 'maker' with professional dancers as their 'raw material' to work with?

Back2School – GO!: A creative residency where the artists move into a school, enabling them to literally ‘go back to school’; setting up an artistic and creative ‘hub’ within the school, following the timetable of the children and interacting at various points throughout the day in their familiar environments (classrooms, playground, dinner hall). Having the company within the school allows the young people, staff and artists to engage on the same level, stimulating mutual curiosity about their creative processes and one another. As the residency progresses, the focus shifts to the artists working more directly with the children and teachers to create work together in multiple mediums including movement, visual art and music.

The pilot project took place in September 2016 in partnership with Niddrie Mill Primary School. Joined by some of the company’s long-standing creative collaborators (Luke Sutherland, Andrew Gardiner and Yvonne Buskie), the company were in residence at the school for 2 weeks, culminating in an invited showing for pupils, teachers and parents.

‘Such a project had never been undertaken at Niddrie Mill before and it was an outstanding success! Pupils were enthused and still talk about their experiences today. Experiences like our project with Curious Seed introduce them to a new world outside of their immediate community. It inspires and allows potential to be realised, nurtured and developed. The children were at the heart of this project.’

Jennifer Goodall, Acting DHT at Niddrie Mill Primary School

Since, then, we have continued working with the young people at Niddrie Mill, with versions of Back 2 School taking place in 2017 and 2018.

Back 2 School Go! 2018 - film created by Edinburgh Napier University film student, Vilja Keskimäki.

Starting from a different place: Where does the creative process start? How can we start from a different place?

Image: Alan Moffat / ASM Photography

Image: Alan Moffat / ASM Photography

Led by Artistic Director Christine Devaney and joined by some of the company’s long-standing creative collaborators, these intensive weekend workshops are aimed at creative professionals who are keen to delve more deeply into their practice through starting from a different place: dancers, physical performers, musicians, writers, makers. It is a unique opportunity to venture out of comfort zones and develop new approaches in a playful and structured space. Over two days, Christine shares aspects of her creative practice, looking into the various ways that she initiates and unlocks ideas which become the basis to create work from. The focus is on exploring collaborative and experimental methods of working between movement, music, imagery, text and objects/materials.

‘The weekend was a wonderful opportunity to be sharing and collaborating with artists from various specialties, to collectively push us outwith our own conventional practices.’ A participant on the Starting from a different place workshop

BackChat: Hosted by Curious Seed, BackChat is a facilitated series of informal 'open table' discussions for arts practitioners, featuring a range of guests who have inspired and influenced Christine Devaney’s artistic practice over the course of her career.  The format begins with an invited speaker who shares their personal creative journey; they will then pose one question to those attending to open the wider discussion. Speakers are invited from diverse backgrounds and disciplines, and attendees are welcome from a range of creative fields and networks.

For our most recent BackChat session in September 2017, we were absolutely delighted that the speaker was Tony Graham

Tony Graham pic.jpeg

Tony has enjoyed a hugely successful career as a director and practitioner specialising in theatre for young people. From 1997 to 2011 he was Artistic Director of the Unicorn Theatre (London), the leading theatre for young audiences, where he oversaw the £14.9million development of an award-winning new purpose-built venue for young audiences; prior to this, he was Artistic Director of TAG Theatre (Glasgow). Twice invited to direct for the Edinburgh International Festival, he had a smash hit with Sunset Song in 1993 and is now a highly acclaimed independent director and teacher with many international credits to his name.

Mentoring: We are committed to sharing our collective experience through mentoring. Our Artistic Director has been sought after as a mentor on diverse projects including The Young Irish Choreographers Workshop, Breakin’ Convention's Open Art Surgery, Dance Base's DEBS scheme, One Dance UK’s Dancer’s Mentoring Programme and with Theatre Hullabaloo. 

Our Director also provides mentoring support to a number of individual artists and choreographers and most recently has worked with dance artists, Christina Liddell through her project Glimpsing Air Pockets; and with Julia James-Griffiths supporting her on the development of The Box

For more information about our Curious work, please contact us at