My name is Anja Ali-Haapala

About me

I am a Brisbane-based arts researcher, dance practitioner and audience nerd.

In 2018 I am undertaking a Dance Artist Residency with Ravensthorpe Regional Arts Council, the second Audience and Access Evaluation for Supercell Festival of Contemporary Dance, and co-chairing the Early Career Researchers Community – Dance.

Here you will find information about the variety of work I do. My main areas of focus are audience enrichment, arts research and contemporary dance practice. I am always interested in connecting with people with similar interests and am available for projects and lectures in these areas. If that sounds like you, please do get in touch!

Audience Enrichment

Audience enrichment is concerned with deepening audience experiences of arts events. I support audiences in having meaningful and memorable experiences. The meaning-making process, style of performance presentation, and audience relationships with art work/practitioners are central elements to achieving this. These elements can be enriched through crafted opportunities for audiences to gain insight, to participate, and for audience discussion and reflection.

Arts Research

Research helps arts organisations by generating valuable findings and insights that can inform better decision-making. These findings can challenge assumptions and develop new understandings. I specialise in qualitative research which examines the ‘why’ and ‘how’ (in addition to ‘what’, ‘where’, ‘when’, or ‘who’), and digs deep into topics to generate in depth answers to significant and complex questions. Qualitative research methods I use include: audience/visitor surveys, focus groups, and interviews.

Dance Practice

I am a performer, maker and teacher, predominately within the field of contemporary dance (however, I have been known to cross into street theatre at times!). As a performer and maker, I am interested in relationships between audience members and performers. As an educator, I work in dance studio, school and tertiary contexts. My teaching repertoire includes dance technique, history, and theory.

Anja has displayed strategic initiative in her choice of research subjects: networking and liaising successfully with major professional Australian dance companies and undertaking research of direct benefit to them and their stakeholders as well as to the broader field.

Cheryl Stock, Secretary General of the World Dance Alliance, 2014

The growing knowledge base in Anja’s area of expertise, emerging audiences – a pressing issue in contemporary performing arts, will also contribute to our sector locally and nationally.

Ann McLean, Director of Ausdance Queensland, 2014

Images by Marc Cornells, Anja Ali-Haapala & Leon Frainey. Website last updated January, 2018.