University of Salford and Dance Manchester.

Dance Manchester is Greater Manchester’s central dance organisation who works to increase high quality dance activity to under-represented communities, run creative projects throughout the region and offer advice and information to dance artists and practitioners. They specialise in developing dance for the outdoors and unusual spaces and produce the biennial ‘Urban Moves International Dance Festival’ .

The University of Salford and Dance Manchester have worked together since 2007. The relationship was born out of the mutual aim to develop and cultivate the dance ecology of Greater Manchester and has been centred on the sharing and exchanging of resources. This mutually beneficial partnership has, served to both enhance and support projects that engage the regional community, nurture and sustain artists and their creative exploration, as well as providing ‘value added’ opportunities to the Universities Under Graduate Dance students.

Moving Dance FDance Manchester - DantzaHirian-368x245orward

Moving Dance Forward ran between 2014 and 2015 and saw six North West Organisations work together; those organisations were: Dance ManchesterMDI (Merseyside central dance organisation), The LowryThe Unity TheatreContact (Manchester) and the University of Salford.

The project, and associate dance artist scheme, was ACE funded and led by the two central dance organisations, Dance Manchester and MDI. The scheme was developed in recognition of the dire need for professional dance artist support and development in the North West. The other partners were approached in respect of prior partnerships and due the shared aim of wanting to continue to develop a vibrant dance artist community.

The scheme supported 4 mid-career artists in both their artistic development and performance production. One of the main objectives of Moving Dance Forward was to allow the artists to occupy themselves with their own artistic development without the constraints of delivering what is perceived to be needed and wanted by an audience or commissioner.

The artists were given tailor made packages to suit their individual needs, some focusing within a couple of organisations and other others taking advantages of the resources of more.

The resources offered by the University were: staff, students, the curriculum, research, facilities.


Curriculum and Students

Research and Staff

Resource Exchange

The University received a range of opportunities to enhance the students experience in exchange for the resources given.

The partnership served to develop pedagogical approaches; embedding work based learning into the curriculum and fostering a professional environment for in which the students to work.

The Future

As the School of Arts and Media prepare to move to their new premises, New Adelphi, for the new academic year, and with the appointment of Professor Stephen Davis Moon as the Director of the Cultural Campus, this is both a practical and strategic time to look at developing the partnership with Dance Manchester. Up until now, the partnership has existed on an individual level between the director of the organisation and the course leader of BA Dance. There are discussions about Dance Manchester delivering modules and the possibility of a jointly delivered Graduate Programme. We also are eager to work together on the conception and delivery of new projects.

Two of the associate artists from Moving Dance Forward are dance artists in residence for the academic year 15/16. The University continues to support them through the use of studio space and the artists offer a range of master classes, rehearsal observations and careers advice in exchange.

The Programme Leader of Dance has continued to offer CPD places to local industry professionals to attend master classes from visiting artists. This contributes to the development of local artists as well as providing networking opportunities for the students.

Please note that this is not a full evaluation of the project including all partners, artists and outputs.

For further information please contact Lisa Cullen at

Back to Case Studies