The Cohan Lecture 2016 at The Place given by Sir Ken Robinson

The Place is a contemporary dance centre located just of the Euston Rd, beside St Pancras Church. In operation since 1969, it has been at the forefront of contemporary dance development, with training, creation, participation and performance at the heart of its work. The Place is home to London Contemporary Dance School and to Richard Alston Dance Company our resident dance company; it is also home to 11 associate artists, and we house one of the busiest and boldest dance theatres in the country. If you haven’t yet visited us, do take a look at our website and our rich autumn programme of performances, and the full range of classes on offer for adults and children, and please pay us a visit.

One of the most exciting things about being part of the Knowledge Quarter is the diverse range of partners and the huge possibility for all kinds of knowledge to intersect and to be shared. Creativity and innovation are fueled by the way in which people and ideas connect; I believe that one of the most important areas for development in society in the coming years will be the new insights, discoveries and advances that are made as a direct result of seemingly discrete cultures and bodies of knowledge being brought into contact with each other.

In June 2015, The Place launched its inaugural Cohan Lecture to honour the 90th Birthday of our founding artistic director Robert Cohan CBE. The new annual lecture series holds up for question the simple provocation ‘What Matters?’ and seeks to encourage a very personal response from some of the most influential and creative minds of our time and to look beyond the narrow bubble of dance.

The 2015 Cohan Lecture was given buy the man after whom it is named, Robert Cohan, in conversation with one of our Patrons, Sir Ken Robinson. Its content ranged from themes such as how what matters changes dramatically as you get older, society’s attitude to war; to the notion that dance is hardwired into us, and the first time the famous 20th Century modern dance pioneer Martha Graham looked Cohan directly in the eye on stage. That lecture is available online here.

This year, we were delighted to welcome back Sir Ken Robinson to give the 2016 lecture and he chose to talk about Why Dance is as Important as Maths in Education. Ken Robinson is known worldwide as a champion and a guru of creativity and creative learning. He has written many books exploring the subjects of creativity and education, his most recent being Creative Schools. His 2006 TED talk is the most listened to of the talks. In that TED talk he tells a wonderful story about the world-renounced choreographer Dame Gillian Lynne as a young girl, and we were delighted to have the 90-year old legend join us in the audience for this year’s lecture along with Robert Cohan.

I hope you will enjoy the chance to listen to the 2016 Cohan Lecture here.


Kenneth Olumuyiwa Tharp OBE,

Chief Executive, The Place