Keynote - Efva Lilja

Choreographer, Professor and Vice-Chancellor at DOCH, University of Dance and Circus in Stockholm, Sweden


Performing Lecture, Key Note Presentation:
Chew at the edge of Worries

All my life I have observed and studied how and why people move. As a choreographer I use my observations and try out different expressions. I fashion and reshape reality in favour of my interpretation, my images and everything I desire and crave. This I do with the hope of being able to make visible some of the possibilities and new interpretative directions we would otherwise neither be aware of nor recognize. I do not want to express myself in order to be understood. I want to express what I do not understand myself.  Dance is created in the instance when the onlooker affords the movement such meaning that it is legitimized as dance. I point out conventions and make us aware of the shortcomings we cannot avoid. I am testing and searching my way forward using the art of dance as a resistance movement and I do research.

Through artistic research I develop knowledge in, on andfor the arts. Artists produce research where artistic quality values through artistic representation. The Swedish “Higher Education Act” mandates that all education and research shall take place on an artistic or scholarly basis. We have a fully developed educational path with a BA, MA and PhD on an artistic basis. We have free education, pay salaries to doctoral students, have financing for artistic research, accept students through auditions and appoint teachers, professors and examiners based on their artistic qualifications. This provides artists with opportunities and a context for discussions, critical reflection, presentations, documentations and distribution of artistic research. Through dance, text and imagery I invite you into a loveful moment of action. In this lecture I will chew at the edge of my worries and think up new shortcuts over the wilderness, amidst smells of fear and struggle, discussing the ideas of artistic research. And I will dance.


Efva Lilja has produced works that have been staged in more than thirty countries around the world. She has written several books on dance, directed films, exhibited her own visual art, set a world record, danced on the North Pole and received a number of prizes and awards. Since late 1990s she has worked with artistic research and been an active force nationally and internationally working to create conditions for artists to do research in their arts. She is engaged in the boards of the Swedish National Research School in the Arts, ELIA, SAR and PEEK. She is a member of SHARE and other professional networks. She writes and lectures frequently on the topic of her art as well as of artistic research.
Efva Lilja is working for the development of higher artistic education, research and leadership. She is also an activist in cultural politics, for instance on the EU level in Team Culture 2012. She has among other things promoted the establishment of higher education and research within circus, master programmes and research programme in choreography, thereby putting DOCH on the world map.
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