A digital adaptation of Liz Lerman's
Critical Response Process

Behind the scenes of the digital platform respond_


Two weeks to go now until the launch of respond_ and we are certainly keeping busy!

The team at Breakfast have been building, testing and reviewing the new online platform respond_ ready to launch on 17th September. To make this possible we have been working very closely with the project team and, in particular, the artists involved and Liz Lerman, the original co-author and founder of the Creative Response Process (CRP).

But before giving a brief update on some of the questions we have been looking at and the CRP platform itself a big thank you to the 357 of you who have looked at how to get involved and the 30 who have signed up to be involved in the directly with the test research group for the CRP. We are really looking forward to talking to you more in the next couple of weeks. For anyone who would like more information about signing up to be part of the CRP click here.


What is respond_
An online platform to help develop the creation of a new work and to help inform and develop positive critical enquiry – in this case with contemporary dance.

Our Challenge
The Critical Response process normally takes place within a workshop environment and is made up of:
You – the participants
The artist / creator
A facilitator – in the case of respond_ the website

Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 15.55.48

Our job is to create this environment online and introduce new possibilities and extend learnings for all those involved.

To use one of Liz Lerman’s analogies ‘as easy as making a piece of cake?’ Well, almost; the logic is pretty much the same but it’s proving to be a pretty big cake!



The big questions

What might we lose or gain by being online?

Within a workshop environment we understand that participants are informed by many factors besides just a series of spoken q&a’s. Factors such as body language, eye contact, emphasis on sound, movement and expression, all of which clearly enhance communication and the shared live experience learning process.

However, a live group workshop can also have its limitations. For example, the restrictions of time, the number of people that can be involved, how far the people involved are comfortable with speaking in a group and how confident they are to formulate a response, question or observation.

And the big one. How can an online platform act as or take on the role of a facilitator?
With 20 years of experience and ongoing learning gained from the CRP the facilitator’s role is key to the process and requires a number of skills and well honed subtleties:
– Empathy for all involved
– Understanding the artist’s aims in terms of developing the new work
– listening and encouraging
– clarity of direction
– stimulating
– astute quick and effective guidance.


From the beginning of this project, last autumn, we have been excited about introducing a framework where an online platform can develop organically based on the shared knowledge and input from its users. In other words we are looking at building a framework where each user’s comment, response and/or question entered online can automatically help inform the next user by offering prompts and stimulating users to develop their own skills and depth of positive critical enquiry. To begin with we will be working closely with wordsmiths, dance professionals and the respond_ team at Yorkshire Dance and Leeds University to help enter and encourage debate and entries/ shared knowledge into the online platform during the first round of CRP -between 19th – 26th September. We will then stand back and see how much the platform can take on the role of the facilitator in CRP 2 – between 14th – 21st October.


One other area we are looking into is what do we do with all this information? Maybe a subject for our next post where we can talk more about how we are going to feedback the results of each project to you the users/ participants of respond_, the artists involved Hagit Yakira and Robbie Synge and the arts organisation hosting this project, Yorkshire Dance. If you would like to learn more about this or have any thoughts about any of this article please do get in touch – we would be more than happy to talk more.

Plenty for us to keep working on!


Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 15.57.04

An early design introducing step 1 of the Critical Response Process (Please note certain elements might change before we launch)



Co-creation and collaboration
One of the greatest highlights of this project has been to meet and learn from all those involved. A huge thank you to Robbie for all his great input and to Liz Lerman and John Borstel (authors of CRP) for their un-ending support, collected knowledge and advice to respond_ . We look forward to talking more with Hagit very soon and all the respond_ users.



Thanks for taking the time to read this post. We look forward to talking more very soon. Please note a date to add to your diaries: 17th September

Best wishes from all the team at Breakfast and respond_

Kind regards
Nick Ellwood/ Breakfast


Date to remember the launch of respond_ 17th September

@respondto_ #respondto