Dada’s Women

collaborative mixed-media works by composer Sonia Allori and artist Vaia Paziana based on 'Dada's Women' by Ruth Hemus


Dr. Sonia Allori – Cabaret Voltaire, Zurich.

Sonia Allori is a Scottish/Italian composer, musician, music therapist and writer. She has an MSc in Music Therapy, a PhD in Composition, and holds a research post in disability arts at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow. Sonia plays the clarinet, sax, bassoon, flute, whistles, piano (but not all at once!?) and has been known to sing from time to time.

Sonia has performed with the British Paraorchestra as a musician, toured with Graeae Theatre Company in “Threepenny Opera” as an actor/musician, and worked with Birds of Paradise Theatre Company as composer/musician in a residency production of “The Last Freakshow” (Summerhall, October 2015). Composer residencies include: EIFF & Flanders Film Festival (Composers lab, Edinburgh & Ghent, 2013); Timeout Composer Residency (New Music Scotland, Covepark, 2014) ; Brighter Sound – Beth Orton residency (Manchester, 2015); and Rough Mix – Magnetic North (creative residency, Edinburgh, 2015). Commissions include: “Seasons 4.0”, a mixed-media dance/music fusion work based on a reimagining of Vivaldi’s 4 Seasons with Drake Music London & choreographer Sheron Wray, funded by The Unlimited Fund in 2014; “Dada’s Women” with Flip Artists;  and “You Can’t Get There From Here” – a collaborative 6-composer piece written collectively for Sound Festival and performed in October 2015 by Ensemble Thing. Her recent project “Lost and Found” builds music-making with stroke survivors, unlocking memories and skills. It ran for the first time in 2017 and is building on its success in 2018.


Dr. Ruth Hemus – Librettist and Dada expert.

Ruth Hemus is a linguist, teacher, writer and translator with a love of the verbal and visual. She researches avant-garde movements of the early 20th Century, spanning literature, performance and visual arts. Her postgraduate studies as a mature student were supported by the AHRC and she won a postdoctoral fellowship from The Leverhulme Trust. Ruth is a Senior Lecturer in French and Visual Arts at Royal Holloway University.

Ruth’s book Dada’s Women was published by Yale University Press in 2009. It was shortlisted for the 2010 Gapper Prize and was widely reviewed. Over the last few years Ruth has worked with The Nicola Trussardi Foundation Milan (“La Grande Madre/The Great Mother”, 2015); The National Theatre London (programme essay for Georg Kaiser’s From Morning to Midnight and Expressionism workshops, 2013-14 ); The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art Denmark (lecture and catalogue essay for “Women of the Avant-Garde 1920-1940”, 2012); and The Southbank Centre London (talks on photomontage for “The Rest is Noise” festival, 2013). In 2014 the first exhibition on women in Dada opened at the Forum Schlossplatz Aarau (“Die Dada – La Dada – She Dada”), touring to two more venues in Switzerland in 2015: Kunstmuseum Appenzell and Le Manoir de la Ville de Martigny. Ruth was a lender, interviewee (recorded for the exhibition)and co-led an opening tour in Aarau with Ina Boesch (co-curator with Nadine Schneider). A new production (“Vergessenes Gelächter”, Theater Tuchlaube Aarau, 2014 and Schauspielhais Zürich as part of the Festspiele 2016 ) showcased the poet Céline Arnauld, a forgotten Dada voice on whom Ruth has published widely. In celebration of the centenary year of Dada (in 2016) Ruth spoke about Dada’s Women at various events including at the Cabaret Voltaire, The University of Zurich, Christie’s Education, The University of Edinburgh and the Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow. Together with colleagues in Drama and beyond she participates in, and co-organises Royal Holloway’s annual partnership activities with Tate Exchange. Her next book The Poetry of Céline Arnauld: From Dada to Ultra-Modern will be published by Legenda (MHRA) in 2020.


Vaia Paziana, visual artist

Vaia Paziana is a visual artist, facilitator and Community Development Mentor based in London. Her personal work is centred around internal conflict and restrictions and its impact on our lives. Visual arrangements vary from narrative staged observations to transforming objects into abstract images or combining analogue mixed media with digital art forms.

In Vaia’s recent work ‘anti’ – ‘or fearful symmetry’ she digitised and animated drawings made by following momentous dynamics, trying to resist a force to let the drawing become ‘something’. She used animation and mirroring to allow the drawings to take ever-changing shapes or meanings, making symmetry which she usually perceives as restrictive, tolerable.


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