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Dr Anna Macdonald

Senior Lecturer
Drama and Contemporary Performance

Academic and Professional Qualifications

PhD by Publication Route 1. Acts of Holding: Dance, Time and Loss

MRes Choreography

Ba Hons Dance,


Research Interests

Anna Macdonald is a dance and moving-image artist who uses the medium of the body as a way of exploring philosophical concepts. Her work predominantly takes the form of film, but also involves site-specific performance and installation, and is exhibited in galleries and video art festivals. Her work uses film to locate and re-frame basic movement patterns in everyday activities such as moving from ‘here to there’, ‘unfolding’ or ‘getting slower’. It is strongly influenced by Mark Johnson’s (2008) articulation of the notion of bodily ‘schema,’ which he describes as being physical patterns of experience that form the basis of how we construct meaning. Macdonald specializes in socially engaged practice. She works collaboratively with people from non-arts backgrounds to generate artworks that document and intensify their experiences in ways that can be understood by others. Her work moves easily between theoretical discourse and creative practice, and falls under the broad ambit of performative research (Smith & Dean 2009: 6).

Anna Macdonald has received International recognition for her work including being selected for; Art Currents, New York, VideodanzBA, Argentina, Dascamdans, Belgium, Miden Festival, Greece and being nominated for the International Video Dance awards in Barcelona. Her work has been exhibited nationally in galleries such as Sidney Kent Gallery, Peter Scott Gallery and Bluecoat Arts Centre. Recent public art works include commissions from; Artsdepot, London, Wandsworth Arts Festival and A Million Minutes curated by Central St Martins College, London. Her work was recently selected as a flagship example of socially engaged practice for an AHRC funded project curated by Creative Works, London. Alongside her free-lance work Anna is a part-time Senior Lecturer in Dance at Manchester Metropolitan University. Articles about her work can be found in Choreographic Practices Journal 4:2 and Body, Space & Technology Journal 11: 2.

Expert Reviewer for Journals and Publishers

Journal Dance and Somatic Practices

Anna Macdonald is a member of the Art and Performance Research Hub.

A selection of recent research outputs.


Macdonald, A., Buckley, H., 2017. Barnaby Arts Festival: Socially engaged screendance research:, Barnaby Arts Festival, 1/5/2017.

Macdonald, A., 2017. I made everything, Axis Arts Centre, 9/10/2017 - 26/10/2017.

Macdonald, A., 2016. Car conversations, Artsdepot, 14/2/2016 - 21/2/2016.

Macdonald, A., 2016. Lines and Integrity, Keele University, 29/6/2016.

Alder, J., 2016. The new immortals, Phoenix Gallery, Brighton, 20/2/2016 - 20/3/2016.

Macdonald, A., 2014. What I rely on Solo Moving image exhibition, The Art Currents Institute, 6/2/2014 - 25/2/2014.


Macdonald, A., 2017. 'Progression (Walking) and Progression (Freestyle) (Moving image installation 2017: 22m 43)'.

Macdonald, A., 2016. 'After Mrs Mills (Moving image 2016: 3m 39)'.

Macdonald, A., 2016. 'I Made Everything (Moving image installation, 2018: 1hr 20m)'.

Macdonald, A., 2016. 'Walk (Moving image 2016: 1m 58)'.

Macdonald, A., 2015. 'Falling for everything (Moving image 2015: 5m 15s)'.

Macdonald, A., 2014. 'I will not hope Moving image: 5m 15'.


Macdonald, A., 2014. 'This is for you', Islington, 15/7/2013 - 22/7/2013.

Book Chapters

Macdonald, A., 2019. 'Containing the end of This is for You'. In Danser la rue, PURH - Presses universitaires de Rouen et du Havre.

Macdonald, A., 2015. 'This is for you: Containing the street'. In Sizourn, M. (ed) The street as a choreographic space: receptions, participations and transformations., University of Rouen Press, Rouen..

Macdonald, A., 2014. 'Structure, familiarities and endings'. In Parts --Per Million, Gwasg y Bwthyn.

Journal Articles

Jacob, M-A., Macdonald, A., 2020. 'A change of heart: retraction and body', Law Text Culture, 23 (1, Legal Materialities), pp. 262-275.

Macdonald, A., 2020. 'Witness: a response to Marlene Millar's Witness', The International Journal of Screendance, 11.

Macdonald, A., 2018. 'Touch, containment and consolation in This is For You', Journal of Dance and Somatic Practices, 9 (2), pp. 255-268.

Macdonald, A., 2017. 'Going Nowhere: Screendance and the Time of Dying', The International Journal of Screendance, 8, pp. 11-28.

Macdonald, A., 2017. 'Holding and Curation', REPERTÓRIO: Teatro & Dança, 27, pp. 49-58.

Macdonald, A., 2013. 'Editing I Will Not Hope', Choreographic Practices, 4 (2), pp. 189-203.

Macdonald, A., 2013. 'Things that start slowly', Body, Space and Technology, Vol 12.

Conference Papers

Jacob, M., Macdonald, A., 2020. 'On Line and Strikethrough', AHRC Legal Materiality Research Network, Concluding Conference, 9 & 10 January 2020, Birkbeck College, London, 9/1/2020 - 10/1/2020.

Macdonald, A., 2019. 'Digital witnessing and somatic affect', The Image Conference, Manchester School of Art: Man Met University, 5/9/2019 - 6/9/2019.

Macdonald, A., 2019. 'Lineage, Loss and liveness', International Meeting on Videodance and Videoperformance (5th EIVV), Center del Carme, Valencia, 3/10/2019 - 7/10/2018.

Macdonald, A., 2019. 'Witnessing and mastery', Regardes Hybrides, Danse Tangentes, Montreal, Canada, 26/11/2019 - 29/11/2019.

Macdonald, A., 2018. 'Somatic Mapping and non-representational knowledge', Geopoetics Networking event, Keele University, 13/6/2018.

Macdonald, A., 2018. 'The Lines between Dance and Law', Art in (and as) performance, Warwick University, 24/3/2018 - 24/3/2018.

Macdonald, A., 2016. 'Contingency, Containment and Curation', Expanded Practice - Curation as Creative Process, MMU: Cheshire, 29/4/2016 - 30/4/2016.

Macdonald, A., 2016. 'Not going anywhere: Screendance death and certainty', Les Danses Macabres: Death and the Moving Image. Fourth annual Screendance Conference to be held at the International Video Dance Festival of Burgundy, Burgundy, 28/4/2016 - 30/4/2016.

Macdonald, A., 2016. 'Screendance, dying and the in-between', Lightmoves Festival of Dance, University Limeric, 3/11/2016 - 5/11/2016.

Macdonald, A., 2016. 'What next? Framing uncertainty in the material practices of medicine and art.', The New Immortals: Science, Art and Humanities in Conversation, Phoenix Art Gallery, Brighton, 7/3/2016 - 7/3/2016.

Macdonald, A., 2015. 'Art, containment and care', Cross-cultural live art project 'Couldn't care less', Deptford Lounge, London, 27/11/2015 - 28/11/2015.

Macdonald, A., 2015. 'Holding the art: Falling for everything', Motherhood and Creative Practice: Maternal structures in creative work an international and interdisciplinary conference, London South Bank University, 1/6/2015 - 2/6/2015, in

Macdonald, A., Jacob, M., 2015. 'Striking through: writing practices and the discipline of research', Arts and Medical Humanities: Dangerous Currents: Risk and regulation at the interface of medicine & the arts, Dartington, 23/6/2015 - 25/6/2015.

Macdonald, A., 2014. ''This is for you: witnessing the street'', The street as a choreographic space: receptions, participations and transformations', The street as a choreographic space: receptions, participations and transformations', 13/6/2014 - 16/6/2014.

Macdonald, A., 2014. 'Containing the city in 'This is for you'', Performance, Place, Possibility: Performance in Contemporary Urban Contexts, University of Leeds, 4/4/2014 - 6/4/2014.

Macdonald, A., 2014. 'Contingency and structure in the screendance edit: Analysing I will not hope'', Lightmoves International Festival Screendance, University Limeric, 5/11/2014 - 7/11/2014.


Macdonald, A., 2017. 'Acts of Holding', Independent Dance at the Siobhan Davies Studios.

Theses and Dissertations

Macdonald, A., 2019. 'Acts of Holding: Dance, Time and Loss'.

Other Outputs

Macdonald, A., 2020. 'Strikethrough studies'.

Macdonald, A., 2019. 'Acts of Holding (collected body of practice-based screendance research) Falling for everything (Moving image 2014: 5m 15) Walk (Moving image 2016: 1m 57) After Mrs Mills (Moving image 2016: 3m 39) Walking (Progession) and Walking (Freestyle) (Moving im'.

Macdonald, A., 2019. 'To witness, is not one directional'.