Dr Nicolas Salazar Sutil
- Position: Associate Professor in Transformational Performance Practices
- Areas of expertise: Transformational practices in conflict, environmental action, climate crisis, water research, movement studies, radical performance, traditional ecological knowledge and indigenous perspectives
- Email: N.Salazar@leeds.ac.uk
- Phone: +44(0)113 343 0619
- Website: Nicolas Salazar Sutil | Forest Guardians
I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I am a Chilean and British researcher, creative practioner and author. I am devoted to transformational practices for social and environmental change. I trained as an actor at the Universidad de Chile and then at the Drama Centre London. While at the Drama Centre, I specialised in Movement Psychology. I completed a Masters degree on seasonal nature rituals in the Spanish Pyrenees at Royal Holloway, followed by a PhD at Goldsmiths College on the subject of mathematical philosophy and experimental performance. I have receieved several honours and awards over the years including the Beca de Excelencia Academica (Universdad de Chile), the Development Award (GCRF) and the fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (HEA).
Current funded projects
I am currently Principal Investigator on two GCRF projects dealing with reintegration of victims of Boko Haram violence in Central Africa. The Drying Prayers is a continuation of five year’s collaborative work carried out with Taigue Ahmed on refugee and ex-combatant communities in the Lac region in Chad. ‘The Survivor Group’ is a collaboration with Trinity University Lagos, Radio Dandal Kura, Neem Foundation and Al Fitra Academy. This project seeks to contribute to the de-stigmatisation of women survivors of Boko Haram through social networking, storytelling, and radio work. Previously, I was Principal Investigator on two preceding GCRF projects in Chad applying performing arts to the re-integration of refugee communities, particularly Central African Republic refugees in Southern Chad and Nigerian refugees in Baga Sola and Bol.
I am also Co-investigator in Contested Territories, an EU funded network of researchers, activists and practitioners working on territorial accumulation and displacement in Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador and Argentina. I was recently a member of the Sumak Kawsay and Alternative Development Agenda project, during which I conducted a month-long artistic residency at the Kariri-Xoco indigenous village in Northeastern Brazil. I continue to work with indigenous communities on the subject of traditional cultural and environmental action, especially the Fulkaxo and Kariri-Xoco, the Pewenche in Southern Chile and the Harakbut in the Peruvian Amazon.
Finally, I am involved in two large bid development projects, the Transforming Yorkshire’s Treescapes project led by Leeds Environment, Atmosphere and Forest Centre (LEAF) and the Water Value project in partnership with water@leeds and The Water Hub. Both these projects aim to steer transformation in the way society values treescapes and waterscapes through adoption of biocentric principles.
Transformational Creative Practice
Although I trained in Movement Psychology, an actor training system based on the work of Rudolf Laban, my creative practice draws on movement across a number of artistic disciplines. I have done work in theatre in various community contexts, including site-specific theatre with marginal communities in Concepcion (Chile) and theatre training work with ex-Boko Haram combatants in Chad. I have also directed numerous theatre productions including Plutus (Aristophanes), The Women of Troy (Euripides) and An Enemy of the People (Ibsen), having performed internationally at the Gaelic National Theatre (Galway, Ireland), Teatro Teresa Carreno (Venezuela) and Centro GAM (Chile). I have directed a number of short videos and films on ecological themes, including Phragma, a binaural film on the environmental conflict surrounding the deviation of the river Acheloos in Greece; A World for the Maguzawa, a short video on Hausa animism, and Pas en Avant, a short documentary about my collaboration with Taigue Ahmed in Chad. In addition, I have also led a number of works as a choreographer, having produced choreographic stage works such as Flatland, based on E.A.Abbott’s novel (Ivy Arts Centre), I am not I (Tate Modern), and Solid Sense (Ivy Arts Centre), in addition to a number of video dance and photodance collaborations with Sebastian Melo (Border Agency collective).
Since 2018, I write and present the River Dialogues radio series, which is broadcast by Resonance FM (104.4). The programme deals with water conflict in rivers around the world, and the power of song to convey messages of resistance and community resilience. I am also currently working on a commission for BBC Radio 3 for a series of radio programmes on the Great North Wood, an ancient woodland in South East London parts of which remain to this day.
I am the author of several books including Matter Transmission (Bloomsbury 2018), which deals with the subject of landscape as a medium for cultural transmission, with a specific focus on karst landscapes. I am also the author of Motion and Representation: the language of Human Movement (MIT, 2015) and Digital Movement (with Sita Popat). I have edited numerous special editions, including Turning Animal for Performance Research (Routledge). I have written over thirty articles and book chapters, including multiple publications in Spanish and Greek.
I am the founder and director of Forest Guardians, an independent organisation that promotes somatic, spiritual and cultural practices for forest care and protection drawing on traditional ecological knowledge. In partnership with Advaya, I am currently organising and curating an international online course on forest guardianship featuring indigenous and local forest practitioners from over 30 nations. I have conducted independent research consultancy on environmental action and creative practice for numerous NGOs and multinational organisations including Thydewa (Brazil), Earth Law Centre (US), ClimateOutreach (UK) and UNESCO Art Lab.<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>
- The Survivor Group: countering stigma and isolation among Boko Haram survivors through community storytelling
- Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA)