Guest Choreographer - Tipperary Dance Platform


I will be the guest choreographer presenting my work with dance students from University of Limerick Contemporary Dance MA at TDP.

Border Tours from the collection of the Arts Council

Border Tours is a floor map installation and an audio tour of a Direct Provision Room that was commissioned by and installed for the Tulca Festival of Arts in Galway 'The Law is a White Dog' 2020 curated by Sarah Browne. 

The Art Council of Ireland recently acquired 'Border Tours' for their permanent collection. See

When you step into 'Border Tours', you step into unauthorised access of one of Ireland’s open prisons - you step into a small room in a Direct Provision Centre somewhere in or around Galway. Listen to the audio instructions. Follow the footsteps. Here you share space with other bodies - invisible bodies that live there in claustrophobic and limited quarters with all their belongings. With and through your body, as agent and instrument, I want to engage with your embodied understanding of spatial in/justice. I hope to stage, choreograph and inspire your performative engagement with the lives that asylum seekers are forced to live.

'Border Tours' is a detailed floor map of a room in a DP Centre somewhere in and around Galway. It took almost a year to piece together the intricate details of the room for a family of 5. The installation is accompanied by a 12 minute audio tour that takes you through an embodied experience of a cramped living space and the daily trials of a family living in the Direct Provision system. ( You see a participant taking the tour in the photograph).

For 'Border Tours' I worked closely with the MASI and Abolish DP Campaigns for what seemed like years, piecing together the details of a room in a DP centre. With their guidance I had access to their substantial archive of images, videos and firsthand accounts of the spaces I was concerned with. All the 'gazillion' details of my installation had to be carefully constructed to protect their sources. The DP system, being a semi-secret series of 'black/grey' sites does not allow access or look favourably on any of its residents granting access to the system.

Go experience 'Border Tours' for Tulca 2020 at the Festival Gallery in Galway Ireland. Go walk in the shoes of someone living in a DP centre. Go experience it through your body.
See short video here:

You can experience the full 13 minute tour here

Image 1 and 3: Border Tours by Rajinder Singh for Tulca Festival of the Arts 2020 curated by Sarah Browne, video still, Jonathan Sammon, camera by Soft Day Media, Drone by Mary McGraw and Model is Kate McSharry.
Image 2: Border Tours by Rajinder Singh for Tulca Festival of Arts 2020 curated by Sarah Browne Photo by Ros Kavanagh

The acquisition by Art Council is great news in many ways. It ensures the longevity of the artwork as it will be available on loan. It will be seen and experienced again especially since so few saw it the first time. It will allow people to experience what it is like to live in a DP system with their family and all their life belongings.
Due to the nature of the artwork, I workshopped the ideas and the problems around the acquisition with several groups of people particularly people living in and survivors of, the Direct Provision System. The process helped me to develop a set of guidelines for future loans and installation of the artwork which I worked with the very supportive staff of the Arts Council to include with the acquisition. The following statement will also accompany all publicity on the acquisition:
My name is Rajinder Singh and I am the artist that created the artwork ‘Border Tours’ with the help and support of several groups of migrant activists in Ireland. I have not experienced the Direct Provision (DP) system, but I am a migrant, and a person of colour, who believes that exposing the carceral racialized spaces of the Direct Provision system is crucial in order to make visible the problems within it. Due to the sensitive nature of this artwork, I have set out a few guidelines for future loans and installation of 'Border Tours' for the benefit of the people living in the DP system and its survivors. These guidelines were put together through a series of consultations and workshops with people living in and survivors of the DP system as well as activists, academics and curators connected to and concerned with the ending and abolishing of the system. Money from the acquisition is pledged to the end DP campaigns and the mental health of people living in the DP system and its survivors around Ireland.

Spasm from the collection of The Glucksman Museum

St Kevin

Carysfort Bench

Yellow Bittern

Spasm is a new digital commission by artist Rajinder Singh that explores minor and emergent movements through a series of 16 short online films. These brief, repetitive clips capture the physical gestures of dancers and performers, with their abrupt, unconscious actions moving in tandem with the endlessly looped, highly-edited format of internet videos.

Hannah Arendt once suggested that if we do not learn how to move politically, the risk is that the political vanishes completely from the world. The ‘political’ defined as the movement of freedom is a difficult, ever-evolving commitment. In Spasm, Singh explores minor and emergent movements as a means of activating our bodily potentialities to move politically and to think politics with and through the body.

Spasm portrays repetitive motions and involuntary gestures as a new form of dance that brings the body to politics. Spasmodic, explosive movements break away from the minor choreographies of our daily lives, as individuals engage with invisible impulses and struggles, encompassing the political and social forces, both real and imagined, that inhabit and shape the body.

The last year of living with the pandemic has altered our relationship to our own bodies. Minute choreographies are continually rehearsed during these strange times; washing hands, wearing masks, and exercising self-discipline and social distancing have overwritten the familiar routines of an earlier, absent normality. Spasm explores this opportunity to ‘rearrange’ our relationship to our bodies and lead it into spheres of the political. Working with micro choreographies through sudden, impactful gestures and employing movement phrases inspired by the Deleuzian ‘spasm,’ these short digital films examine the forces that sit in our bodies when we work for hours on end at a desk, on a stool, on a sofa, and in the confined physical spaces around objects.

Working with Dr Adam Hanna, author of Northern Irish Poetry and Domestic Space (2015), and the co-editor of Architectural Space in the Imagination (2020), Singh’s choreographies spring from research into the poetry of Seamus Heaney, as well as his study, its furniture and surrounding architecture. What forces work on a poet’s body when sitting for long hours at a desk? How did Heaney ‘turn’ to his table ( it was a flat piece of wood set on two filing cabinets), how did he move around it and away from it, what did he see and do when he was there, and what forces did it exert on his body as he wrote? These real and invisible forces hold the key to the workings of the body.

Dancers: Emily Kilkenny Roddy and Dmitry Vinokurov

Research and guidance: Dr Adam Hanna, University College Cork

Curated by Chris Clarke

Venue: Temple Bar Gallery and Studios, Dublin

Commissioned by the Glucksman

Elsewheres commissioned by Platform Asia UK

Elsewheres by Rajinder Singh (2021) was commissioned by Platform Asia for the Sudden Beams – Homing In programme. Supported by Arts Council England.

See the full video here:

Elsewheres by Rajinder Singh is an embodied story of migration, which through movement communicates the parallel ‘elsewheres’ that the artist inhabits all the time. Singh defines an elsewhere as a remembered space, located in a place and time that often we cannot reach. When we long for our elsewheres, the feeling is often palpable; this is because the spaces we have travelled through are imprinted on our bodies, they define the way we move, hold ourselves and speak.

Singh’s personal elsewheres derive from his experience of migrating between Malaysia, Singapore, Dublin and London, yet this artwork is equally informed by his long-standing work with refugees, and his recent programme for the Maynooth University Department of Geography’s Masters in Spatial Justice. For Singh’s workshops, titled Exercises in Spatial Justice, students were instructed to draw out tight floor maps and explore how they could move within these, recording their movements in chalk. As such, participants were able to understand the impact of confinement on the body and develop embodied empathy with those forced to live within restrictions: the walls of refugee camps, poor housing or inside Ireland’s Direct Provision Centres.

Their chalk drawings have been translated into the sketched-out grid of lines and circles that we see performer Dmitry Vinokurov move inside, while weighed down by metres of deep orange turban fabric. Moving only within the map and keeping hold of the turban were Vinokurov’s two key constraints, resulting in the tired, laboured breathing that underscores the film. Heavy yet seemingly innocuous, the turban is a complex symbol for Singh who grew up Sikh: through the ritual of wrapping it links him to an elsewhere, yet it is also a form of entrapment, containing him. In Elsewheres the turban appears briefly as a halo, reminding that across differing religions, ethnicities and cultures, chosen or forced, rituals are fundamental to the way that we move.

Elsewheres sits on the border between architectural and fleshy, its lines are precise yet its movement is disorderly – chaotic at times and deeply relaxed at others. Several films overlay one another, communicating the multiplicity of spaces our bodies constantly occupy. A sense of calm is urged by the voice of a meditation video, yet as Singh’s opening poem suggests, rather than orderly vessels that we can control, our bodies are “leaky” and “fractured,” accumulating memories which spill out in the way we move.

Click here to download the critical text of Elsewheres (in a pdf).

Elsewheres by Rajinder Singh (2021) has been commissioned by Platform Asia for the Sudden Beams – Homing In programme. Supported by Arts Council England.
Find out more about the Sudden Beams programme here.

Social Circus workshop - A EU Funded Program

In 2019, I worked with Dr Feldman at UCD ( MA Race, Migration and Decolonial Studies, @DecolonialUCD and @ucdsociology) on a European commission on social CIRCUS as an intercultural encounter. I designed and ran a 3-day training workshop for circus trainers ( a face-to-face session before it all stopped).
A short docu-report was recently released on our work. You can watch it here:
Here is a quick brief on it:
This project seeks to promote intercultural dialogue and strengthen knowledge and acceptance of diversity in society by advancing the capacity of social circus trainers.
Concretely, the objective is to develop and disseminate a training programme of innovative skills and practices of intercultural dialogue necessary for effective anti-racism and social inclusion interventions, particularly relating to the circumstance of communities of refugees, asylum seekers and new migrant youth.
It is led by 6 circus schools, all members of Caravan international youth and social network, and the Universiy College of Dublin.
Project partners: Zaltimbanq – Luxembourg, Altro Circo – Italy, Sirkus Magenta – Finland, Circus Planeet – Belgium, Skala – Slovenia, Palestinian Circus School – Palestine, University College Dublin – Ireland and Caravan.

My particular medium over the past year and as artist-in-residence at UCD, has been the 'body' workshop. I design, develop, execute and experiment using the medium of the workshop, working with ideas around the decolonisation of the body.
Developed using arts-based methods through participatory and performative approaches, my so called 'sculptures' exist in the form of body centered, movement based workshops that work closely with the conceptions of agency and materiality. The photographs below were taken during a 3 day workshop I designed ( using the help of theatre practitioners and dance choreographers) and executed at UCD for researchers and circus trainers for an EU funded program on social circus and intercultural encounters.


Headcoils of a Ban at Temple Bar Gallery and Studios

A 14 year turban ban by the Garda. It took 14 years. Read the reports in the newspapers. I had to respond to it, It is important to me,

Sikh member of the Reserve is banned from wearing turban
- August 13, 2007 -

Badge of distinction: Meet the first Sikh in the Garda Reserves
- January 23, 2021 - The Irish Times

See full videos here: 

Temple Bar Gallery + Studios presents The Headcoils of a Ban, a project by artists Rajinder Singh and Áine Byrne, as part of From the Studios, an online series of work by our studio artists.

From the Studios features new and existing artwork, alongside opportunities for experimentation and testing ideas as online projects. We present a glimpse into artists’ studio practice through our website and social media platforms.

'Gardaí urged to ditch 'racist' turban ban'
- August 21, 2007 - Irish Examiner

'TURBAN VICTORY: Indian man waiting 12 ‘patient years’ to join Garda Reserves delighted he will soon be able wear turban in new role'
- October 10, 2019 - The Irish Sun

Exercise in Solidarity at University College Dublin


After 6 months of intense work as an artist in residence at UCD for Race, Migration and Decolonial Studies, Dr Alice Feldman and I launched our six week lab on Solidarity. The course is designed for MA and Undergraduate s students at UCD to engage with their embodied understanding of solidarity.
It has been especially exciting designing a course and choreographing a set of body based exercises to wrestle with the difficult concepts of solidarity and allyship, especially for a zoom based platform in this time of restricted movement . I have found that in some ways it has been a liberating experience offering up its own rewards and challenges.

Title:Exercises in Solidarity - A Fieldwork Guide

The artwork: Instructions for body based learning.

Medium : Non-verbal, one-person instructions; 7 pp A4 instruction booklet.

Year: 2020

Taught at UCD post and undergraduates and subject of academic paper(s).


Ireland as Borderland at FireStation Studios


Title: Ireland as Borderland

The artwork: Single channel 5 min video and 90 Photographs and text postcard set placed on two wooden shelves

Size: 90 x A5 postcard

See Video (1920 x 1080 at 24 fps with sound) at

Year: All photographs and video 2018

Exhibition at the FireStation Arts Studio 2019

About the installation:

Description: ‘Ireland as Borderland’ was first exhibited at FireStation Arts Studio, Dublin. Some of the photographs were also shown recently in the book published for Tulca Festival of Visual Arts 2020 ‘The Law is a White Dog’ curated/edited by Sarah Browne.

In 'Ireland As Borderland' I wanted to revisit the wilful amnesia we experience about the shameful events of recent history. We have learnt to think of history as already happened and it happened to other people. In our busy lives we start believing that it couldn't possibly have been allowed to happen so it couldn't possibly have happened, at least it cannot possibly have happened here. But it did happen. Irish Institutionalisation did happen, from the Magdalene Laundry to Direct Provision. The unimaginable, the monstrous, is happening right now, in secret Direct Provision Centres all over Ireland. Today's monsters might not seem like the monsters of our collective historical imagination, because they seem so much like us, like all of us, because they are us, which makes 'them' somehow less able to perpetrate the unimaginable. Our complicity eludes us. We can't possibly be monsters.

In my exhibition, I wanted to deny the viewer the wilful drift toward the centre of an amnesiac benumbed position, often produced by the constant drone of news feed and expert interviews. I hoped to do this by using 'sculptural space' around my archive of stills, videos, text and sound from my interviews with migrant activists. Using the archive as a starting point, I dislocated its components, and used them to outline 'space' to bring about a presence in a place where there was none. I wanted this experience to feel uncanny, I wanted the immediate sensation that the world as we know it is no longer knowable. I invite you to come explore space around a series of harrowing interviews on Direct Provision centres on someone else's terms. I want you to come explore the myriad planes and relationships in the unstable spaces I outline. You are free to move around and through them but you are tangled with fragments of the minds of people that are speaking, gesticulating and communicating the unimaginable.



My heartfelt thanks to those who are constantly wrestling with the unimaginable ..Lucky Khambule, Donnah Sibanda Vuma, Bulelani Mfaco and Dr Ronit Lentin.

6 Stages of Grieving -YS Choi and Asia Art Activism UK


With Alina Maria O.
The performance took place in Whitehall Studios Dublin.
Year: 2019

About the performance

Not This Future by Youngsook Choi

About this event

Not This Future is part of Youngsook Choi’s ongoing exploration of the idea, political spirituality, which experiments upon intimate aesthetics of community actions and alternative protests. This performance facilitates a pseudo shamanic ritual as a political device by holding the grief as a site of solidarity and communal care directed to the victims of hostile environments policy, brutal border control and neo-colonial global operation. Not This Future particularly commemorates and critically revisits the Essex 39 incident in which the thirty-nine Vietnamese were found dead in the back of a lorry abandoned by the illegal people smuggler in 2019. As a core part of the commemoration, this spiritual occasion accommodates generous 39 offerings from different parts of the world, gathered through the exclusive call out for those whose creative practice and research weigh on migrant justice and challenge the idea of the border.

This programme is made possible by the generous support using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and from the Bagri Foundation.

With additional support from

Research project - Archive of gestures of protest


I have spent the last year working with several groups of dancers, choreographers and actors on a research project to archive the gestures, movements and rhythms of protest. To date we have researched, enacted and archived over 500 different gestures and choreographies used by protestors all around the world. I am involved with the #endDP campaign and how the deployment of the activist body is made significant through choreographic tactics and gestures of resistance. I have developed and proposed a piece of choreography for the campaign. But most of all I want the activists involved in the endDP campaign to start thinking about intentional gestural acts deployed to protest the status quo and effect change. Protests all around the globe are starting to harness choreography as a form of protest.

You can see the full video here:
With Romi Cruanas

Choreography - Performing Borders - 2020

I was 12 when I first folded a piece of fabric over my head. It was an important coming of age thing in my household. I remember it to this day as a pleasant experience. I was helped by someone who spoke softly and who believed deeply and cared enough to turn the delicate practice of folding into a kind of meditative ritual. If you pay attention, the act of folding empties your mind and delivers it to the body. You close your eyes and you may feel yourself fold into the fabric as you shape each fold and open yourself to its reading, as you lean into the quivering tension in between and slip from inside of one fold into another. You couple your body with the emerging edges of every new fold into a sort of an extended infrastructure of the body.

I have been working long distance with a few dancers in Malaysia on a new project using the above concepts of folding, enfolding and unfolding. I have been working on the same with Alina and Dmitry for a several years now. I decided to put together a guide, a lexicon of sorts on this new dance. The pandemic forced a change. Here is the 9 page guide. Perhaps you will like to join us and try it .



Exercises in Spatial Justice at Maynooth University, Ireland


I created and ran a fieldwork module 'Exercises in Spatial Justice' with Prof Karen Till at the Department of Geography, Maynooth University this year with her MA Spatial Justice students. The 4-week module highlighted self-reflexive, embodied knowledges as a means of understanding the dramatic reduction of personal space people experience in the Direct Provision system in Ireland. Students and instructors actively engaged in movement and body-based exercises, and it was heartening to see how everyone responded to these stay-home, one-person, non-verbal movement-based fieldwork projects.
You will see some of my learnings from the above reflected in my contribution to TULCA Festival of Visual Arts this year.

Choreographing Borders 1


Clay - Rituals - Performance at Whitehall Studios - 2017


© Choregraphing Border Movements. Design by Fearne.