Introducing Invited Speakers for our 32nd Annual Conference, Limerick, Ireland - Part 6, Dance Education SIG Presentation

We are pleased to introduce Mustafa Sarkar, PhD who will be presenting: ‘Developing resilience in dance: The role of the environment and psychological safety’. This is presented as part of our Dance Education Special Interest Group. 

Resilience and its development has arguably become one of the most talked about topics in dance over the last few years. Although practitioners have tended to focus on individuals’ ability to withstand pressure, there is a growing recognition that more attention needs to be paid on creating environments that dancers can thrive in as both a person and a performer. Of fundamental importance to creating an environment that develops resilience is the provision of high challenge and high support (Fletcher & Sarkar, 2016; Sarkar, 2018). A crucial feature of this high challenge-high support (facilitative) environment is psychological safety. Psychological safety has been defined as a belief that an environment is safe for interpersonal risk-taking, such as asking for help, admitting one’s errors, or seeking feedback from others (Edmondson, 1999). Although the concept of psychological safety has been studied extensively in business (Frazier et al., 2017; Newman et al., 2017), it has yet to be comprehensively investigated in a dance context and there is limited information on applying this research in practice. Therefore, the learning objectives of this session are threefold: to discuss the role of a facilitative environment in developing resilience and what it might ‘look like’ in dance, to critically review the concept of psychological safety and, utilizing this knowledge, to subsequently present some practical ideas for creating psychological safety in practice. Two practical, evidence-based resources on these respective topics (Portch, 2021; Sarkar, 2018) will be shared with conference attendees. It is hoped that this session will be of interest/value to conference attendees by bridging the gap between research and practice in these areas to ultimately provide practitioners working in dance with evidence-based information about developing resilience and psychological safety that is immediately applicable to their work.


Mustafa Sarkar, PhD

Dr Mustafa Sarkar is an Associate Professor of Sport and Performance Psychology at Nottingham Trent University in the UK. His research and consultancy focuses on the psychology of performance excellence in sport, business, and other performance domains. His work addresses how high achievers thrive on pressure and deliver sustained success and well-being, with a particular focus on resilience (at individual, team, and organizational levels) and psychological safety. In addition to presenting his research at over 30 conferences worldwide, he has published extensively in these areas including 40 high- quality peer-reviewed journal articles, and 6 book chapters. Mustafa sits on the editorial board of six international peer-reviewed journals, and he has won multiple awards for his research and professional practice from organisations such as the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES), the British Psychological Society (BPS), and the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP). As well as publishing research in this area, as a Chartered Psychologist (CPsychol) with the British Psychological Society (BPS), Dr Sarkar works closely with teams and organizations on creating environments and cultures to develop resilience and psychological safety, including Google, the Premier League, the English Football Association, and the United States and Netherlands Olympic Committees.


‘Developing resilience in dance: The role of the environment and psychological safety’ will be at 2:00-2:45 pm (GMT+1) Friday, October 28, 2022 at the Irish World Academy - not to be missed!