Katrina McPherson is an award-winning director and screendance artist whose creative, scholarly and educational work is at the forefront of the international field. Having trained as a dancer and choreographer at Laban in London, an early career fascination with the collaborative possibilities of dance and the moving image led her to complete a post-graduate in Electronic Imaging (video art) at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, laying the foundations of what would become a life-long, multi-faceted and influential engagement with dance on screen.
Over the 30 years that she has been making work, Katrina has collaborated with numerous international dance artists including Sang Jijia (China/Tibet), Crystal Pite (Canada), Marc Brew (UK/US), Harold Rheaume (Quebec) and Kirstie Simson (UK/US). All of the dance films that Katrina has directed, produced, co-directed and in many cases also filmed have been screened at numerous international festivals, galleries and venues, and in some cases have won awards, including the Jury Prize for Best Screendance at San Francisco Dance Film Festival in 2011 for There is a Place and Best Screen Choreography at IMZ Dance Screen in Monaco in 2000 for the influential work Moment.
Since the early 1990’s, Katrina has been regularly awarded funding from public and private organisations, institutions and arts councils, including being a recipient of the prestigious Creative Scotland Award of £25,000 for an individual artist in 2002. A number of works directed by Katrina are held in collections including Lux Artists’ Moving Image UK, Routledge’s on-line Performance Archive and the British Council.
In 2019, Katrina became an Associate Artist at Dance Base in Edinburgh and a Dance North Associate Artist. Her most recent film projects have received funding from Creative Scotland and from the British Council and Quebec Government and others and include Paysages Mixtes/Mixed Landscapes (2019), which she co-directed and performed with Quebec choreographer Harold Rheaume. In 2018, Katrina received funding to create And that is what you see us by (2018), a screendance installation with live performance work funded by Creative Scotland. Made in collaboration with Simon Ellis (Coventry University) and Natalia Barua and presented at The Workroom, Glasgow. In 2016, she was commissioned to make a short single screen dance film and 22-monitor screen dance installation as part of a residency at the Margaret Morris Archive. we record ourselves was made with Simon Ellis, Natalia Barua and Owa Barua and was subsequently re-worked for the 10-meter high MediaWall at Bath Spa University as part of the Journal of Media Practice and MeCCSA Practice Network Annual Symposium in June 2017.
In September 2019, Katrina received funding from Creative Scotland to develop a solo film work that builds on her on-going interest in the fluid potential of the embodied camera, and reflects a tradition of women artists featuring their own bodies – and stories – in their screen-based work. This new work, entitled Luise, is currently being edited. She and Harold Rheaume also received a further 2 years of support the British Council/Quebec government’s Connections Fund for their new Paysages Élargis /Widening Landscapes project which will enable the pair to extend their cross-cultural collaboration.
Katrina’s approach as an artist and director remains at the cutting edge of concepts and technology and yet of great interest to the wider public. This is exemplified by the ground-breaking project, which she and Simon Fildes devised with Ricochet Dance, working with international choreographers including Steven Petronio, Shobana Jeyasingh and Jonzi D. Between 2005-2007, the Move-me Booth toured the UK, Australia and New Zealand, being interacted with by more than 60,000 members of the public, live and on-line. vSimilarly, , an on-line and live interactive screendance work, a version of which was made in collaboration with Sang Jijia and the City Contemporary Dance Company and premiered at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Beijing in 2014, where over 2 months it was interacted with by over 80,000 members of the public.
A much sought-after lecturer and workshop facilitator, Katrina has taught screen dance and related subjects, both practice-based and academic, in the UK, Australia, Germany, USA, Canada and China. Between 2004 and 2009, Katrina was Research Fellow, then Lecturer in Media Arts and Dance at Dundee University, where she helped to establish a post-graduate screen dance course. She is currently Visiting Lecturer at the World Academy of Music and Dance in Limerick, Ireland. Adjunct Associate Professor in the College of Fine Arts at the University of Utah, USA, where she leads the screendance programme.
Katrina is the sole author of Making Video Dance, a step-by-step guide to creating dance for the screen was first published in 2006, with a new edition released in 2018. This remains the only workbook for screendance and is used as a core text for courses at universities worldwide.
Most recently, Katrina has been adapting her teaching to the on-line environment and enjoying the new concepts and potential that this is offering in her work with artists across the word. Since April 2020, Katrina has been invited to design and deliver on-line screendance workshops for Dance Base, Birmingham Dance Network’s Choreomatch and Scottish Dance Theatre. In addition, she has been one of three professional mentor’s on East London Dance’s ScreenShare programme, as well as a Guest Artist mentoring faculty and graduate students at California State University. Independently, Katrina teaches online offers on-line courses and mentoring packages which she has been running throughout the last year via her education website makingvideodance.com.
Over a period of 15 years, Katrina was also a director of arts programmes for UK television, making films for the BBC, Scottish Television and Channel Four. She was co-director of Goat Media Productions from 2001-2015. Katrina directed and filmed Force of Nature (2012), a 70-minute dance documentary featuring internationally renowned improvising dance artist Kirstie Simson. More recently, 2018, Katrina directed In Motion a series for the BBC’s Space platform. Made with The Work Room Glasgow, these 4 short documentaries showcase Scottish dance films and in the first month of being on-line, had 68,000 viewings on-line.
In 2008, Katrina was the co-investigator on a successful UK Arts and Humanities Research Council bid to fund the establishment of the Screen Dance Research Network that resulted in the founding of the International Journal of Screen Dance. Katrina regularly writes for the journal, and in July 2019 hosted the re-convention of the network at Findhorn, Scotland.
With Douglas Rosenberg, (University of Wisconsin), Katrina initiated and led
the first International Symposium of Teachers of Screendance, hosted by the
American Dance Festival in July 205 and at Dance for Camera Festival in
New York City in Feb 2016.