Dr Sofie Narbed

Personal profile

Sofie Narbed is British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow and previously Lecturer in Cultural Geography at Royal Holloway, University of London, whose work explores the geographies of dance and bodily practice with a particular focus on Latin America. Through in-depth ethnographic work, her research brings geographical thinking into dialogue with moving bodies to explore the politics and possibilities of dance as a practice of relating to ourselves and one another. She is particularly interested in critical decolonial approaches to the making and remaking of danced worlds. In her research she engages with theories of the body, creativity, contemporaneity, and decoloniality.

Between 2012 and 2014, Sofie engaged in in-depth ethnographic research into contemporary dance practice in Quito, Ecuador. Working at the intersection of cultural geography, critical dance studies, and post/decolonial scholarship, the project explored the intimate interrelations between danced corporealities and the particular historical, political, and socio-cultural geographies of dance's making in the city. Based on two years’ ethnographic research and extensive research-by-practice in training and performance, the thesis considered how particular histories and politics of place were understood, negotiated, and challenged through dancers’ creative bodily work, and how these worked to critically reconfigure ideas of heritage, identity, and contemporaneity. 

Collaborative and creative approaches are key to Sofie's research and teaching. Her research involves collaborations with dance artists in Ecuador and in the UK, and has seen her perform in Quito with Ecuadorian artist Wilson Pico and in London with numerous independent collectives. She is an active member of London Contact Improvisation.

Research interests

  • Creative geographies
  • Geographies of dance and performance
  • Transnational relations in creative practice
  • Creativity, identity and heritage
  • Politics of performance
  • Creative ethnography and PAR
  • Post-/Decoloniality and contemporaneity

Teaching

Sofie teaches at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, and supervises dissertations. Her recent teaching includes: 
  • GG3068 Creative Geographies: Economies, Spaces, Practices - a third year course exploring the relationships between geography and creativity, thinking about creativity both as an approach to critically understanding geographical worlds and as a mode of doing geographical research. 
  • GG1011/3 Geographical Techniques: Qualitative Methods for Human Geographers - a first year course that introduces students to foundational practices of ethnographic research through local fieldwork.
  • GG1032/4 Geographical Research and Field Training (Spain) - a first year field course. Co-taught days focused on geographies of heritage, identity, and changing agricultural/tourist economies in rural Andalucía.
  • GG2001 Geographical Research and Field Training (New York) - a second year field course. Led project theme 'Bodies and the City' focused on theatre histories, street performance, and our own practice-based explorations of city streets and metro-ways. 
  • GG2003/4 Geographical Research and Field Training (Cyprus) - a second year field course, in which I led project theme 'Performing Identities, Making Nations' exploring local heritage sites and dance performances, including practice-based explorations with local artists. 
  • GG2061 Cultural Geographies and the Modern World - a second year course co-taught with Prof.Veronica Della Dora and Dr.Innes Keighren, my lectures focusing particularly on material geographies. 
  • MA Cultural Geography - seminars on 'The Body' and 'Performance Methods'.
 

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