The Wisdom of Movement, Song and Story: A DwD Workshop in InterPlay

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“The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the object it loves” – Carl Jung

This workshop will gently immerse you in the easy-body practices of InterPlay, a practice that invites groups and individuals to tap into their artistic authority and connect to their body’s inner wisdom. In InterPlay, you will find new access to your stories, movement and voice. This is an easy way to experience the powerful integration of mind, body, heart and spirit. It is also a quick way to gain community connection.

It will also offer you tools to stimulate creativity and self-awareness in your life.

InterPlay is something that anybody and any body can do—regardless of size, shape, ability, race, culture, gender, sexuality, belief, or nationality. All you need is a little willingness. Expect to laugh, savor and relax. Expect to be surprised by what you can do!

InterPlay is a worldwide community of artist-activists who believe in their ability to change the world through creative expression. InterPlay developed over the last twenty-five years by Phil Porter and Cynthia Winton-Henry. For more info, visit www.interplay.org

 ABOUT THE HOST

rehana

Rehana Tejpar is a mother, dancer, theatre artist and community arts facilitator dedicated to staging stories of social importance, and evoking community dialogue. Using popular education, Theatre of the Oppressed and Art of Hosting techniques, she has been designing curriculum and facilitating leadership programs with young women, children and youth in Canada, Kenya and India for the past 10 years. Since 2011 she has been playing with InterPlay and is currently a leader in training. She is an active performance artist in dance-theatre and is currently working on Eventual Ashes’ Ocean Carving: A Performance in Water, to be performed in the 2015 Rhubarb Festival.

DwD Retreat & Vision for 2015

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December 10, 2014, 5:30 pm. Mostly in clusters of two or three, cheerily recognizing familiar faces, we slipped through the doors of the brightly lit offices of The Moment. The party fare was potluck, a melange of dishes from sushi to Caribbean plum pudding that soon covered the buffet table. The evening’s plan was to hold off on snacking until strategic conversations were done, but the eclectic menu like the more than decent selection of wines, proved irresistible.

So the annual DwD retreat began, a little behind schedule, with an introductory check in. Each of the roughly 40 participants was asked to recall most memorable 2014 moments from DwD or sister groups. The flow moved quickly from personal touch points to broader discussions over universal challenges to all DwD group mandates as imagined and reimagined within or between sessions. A recurring concern appears to be gap bridging, whether between theory and practice, among oppositional ideas, or, as we are hoping to address right here, more writing about what Design for Dialogue is about.

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A half decade ago the still fledgling Design with Dialogue community substituted group retreats for regular December sessions. Invitees (frequent attendees and curious guests) gathered to reflect on where this community had been and where it might go in the year ahead. Over the months between Decembers we had a chance to see what our ideas looked like in action. Over time DwD spun off interest groups that now include Systems Thinking Ontario, Unify Toronto Dialogues, and Visual Thinkers. (Each is well described on our site).

Later at this year’s retreat we formed breakout discussion groups along interest lines as reflected either by DwD itself or its branches. Within the breakout groups you could hear words of passionate enthusiasm. After all, each participant freely chose to join that particular conversation.

As revealed by multi coloured stickies later positioned on a designated whiteboard, common wishes included the desire to connect with and know more about the other groups. Within conversations participants naturally demonstrated variety in emphasis, some seeing new skill acquisition or procedural approaches as paramount, with others seeking greater clarity on content or aiming for substantive outcomes, a record of followup or research emerging from sessions.

Our convenors expressed their own aims for the new year. More participation from the OCADU student (and undergraduate) community would be welcomed as would be an outreach for social innovation projects & practices. Continuing to explore the wider community building ties to areas of expertise with resonance for Design with Dialogue is another given, as is the strengthening of cohesion within our informal community. Participants by and large appeared to like all these suggestions and expressed approval.

How did this retreat differ from sessions gone by? The deliberate focus on key themes and an overall deeper sense of commitment stood out as distinguished from previous more concrete planning outcomes. This feels more authentic and probably will prove to be – if we do the work.

 Thanks to Donald Officer for authoring this piece, Greg Judelman for the photographs, and Erica Bota for the live sketching.

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The Co-evolution of Connected Citizens in Canadian Governance

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Can we motivate civil society to form a collaborative approach to Canadian governance?

 How will governing – public decision making – be influenced through citizens evolving new digital and place-based channels?

The January DwD was a public workshop convened by OCADU’s Strategic Innovation Lab (sLab) as part of our ongoing SSHRC-sponsored action research conducted during 2014.  We hosted 25 participants in reframing and representing key challenges and future innovations that might influence civic participation and governing across Canadian government sectors.  A current model of the Gigamap (large-scale system map) as a departure point for participant contributions, you can contribute to the discourse by building on and critiquing the findings of a recent major workshop via card sort and dialogue mapping.

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Governance in our digital era is a central challenge facing government institutions and societies in the coming decades where information ownership is uncertain, power is dispersed, and authority and accountability need to be reconceived. Last November  we convened a diverse group of practitioners, policy experts and academics to explore how digital technology and new flows of information have been influencing governance and government practice, and where it might have potential to more significantly transform analysis, engagement, policy, service delivery, and accountability.   We are seeking many perspectives on the promise and concerns of digital engagement, and the positive possibilities for designing and delivering public policy and services. We want to hear your views on how governments at all levels in Canada might re-conceive various governance practices as digital tools and practices continue to evolve.

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We are interested in discovering how the practices and expectations of governance are and will be shifting from the vantage point of citizens and other stakeholders, communities, and sectors. We aim to explore how Canada – with all of its levels of government and regional diversity – might evolve as a basis for considering how government practices ought to transform.

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Digital era governance can be understood from a technology-centric viewpoint or a governing practices perspective, which largely colours the values and strategies under discussion. Since the start of the Internet era, governments have sought greater efficiencies and interaction with citizens and stakeholders.  Digital governance includes issues such as citizen rights and uses of data, the questions of government control through ICT, and the online management of benefits and services. It is now simple to pay parking tickets online. But understanding the core issues and arguments in legislation remains as murky as ever. Is it fair to suggest that digital rights may filter the power of citizen access?

We asked participants to do some homework to familiarize themselves with some of the issues and trends in “digital governance” and the larger trends concerning Canadian government relevant to discussions.

Gigamaps:  The Gigamap presented at the Ottawa conference was displayed in the workshop as an evolving model. Final visual maps may appear more like this online Gigamap on the Circular Economy from a student team in our OCADU SFI course. Maps may include system diagrams as found in this student project on the adaptation of veterans to civilian life http://resetremembrance.ca

 

Action Methods and Dramatic Expression: Finding your Role in Community Engagement

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November 2014 DwD hosted over 25 participants. After introductions, Stephen Sillett cleared the space and everyone got on their feet and we positioned ourselves on a simple Spectrogram, an highly versatile Action Sociometry method. Think of the Spectrogram as a graph on the floor, in this case, one end represented being very comfortable participating in the session and the other end representing, not at all comfortable. We were invited to stand in the position that best represented how we felt at that moment. We then starting a drama activity, with the whole group milling around the room, shifting our attention from the spaces opening up on the floor and stepping into them, to the other bodies in the room, and finally to greeting other participants as they moved around the room. We continued milling, and started to follow 2 people in the room, we then attempted to place ourselves equidistant between the 2 people we were following, then slowed down until the group came to a stable arrangement. This was a interesting activity, with shifting in dynamics. After the activity, all the participants reflected on the experience by again positioning themselves on the Spectrogram and then observing any personal or collective shifts regards comfort levels.

We next experienced some exercises from the world of physical theatre, looking at how personal and social space relates to perceptions of power, and how we interact with that in non-verbal ways. While exploring these activities, participants were asked to stay alive to the experience, and reflect on how it may relate to engaging people in community conversations.

Part 1. Shared inquiry: How can we involve people more fully in Community Dialogue?

Participants split into break-out groups, and a shared inquiry into what it might mean to bring the “whole person” into community dialogue began. The inquiry raised questions about definitions of the “whole person”. Does this refer to the physical and mental aspects of a person? What other aspects, could/should be included?

We then formed a large circle, and shared some points raised in the shared inquiry. Here are a few:

  • How cultural aspects of the person always exist during our engagement – either visibly or invisibly.
  • Values are always present at some level during our community engagement.
  • Challenges exist in online communications, as this limits how much the “whole person” can be engaged in group conversations.
  • We always marginalise certain aspects of ourselves when we engage, and this changes in different contexts.
  • A state in which the “whole person” is engaged, can never be fully attained.
  • Body scanning and meditation practice, can help bring the body into the space, and deepen engagement.

We ended this part of the session creating a Locogram, another Action Sociometry exercise (see The Living Stage for more info.). Participants engaged the exercise by reflecting on a particular situation, during which they were trying to deepen conversations. They then positioned themselves relative to a central point in the room, having done this we created body images to convey our thoughts and emotions from recounting that experience. This exercise was not unpacked, as we needed to take a break and prepare for part 2 of the session.

Summary: Part 1 of session helped participants experience:

  • Approaches that build community trust and release communication barriers.
  • Multiple perspectives regards how we engage with each other.
  •  Two simple yet powerful, Action Sociometry methods

Part 2. Strategic Action Fields

While the first part of the session worked through established methods, the 2nd involved Interactive Scenography, an innovation that Stephen and ADCID have been working on in their InFusion Lab sessions. For this part, participants were invited to take a performative journey, into a single Strategic Action Field (SAF) of their choosing. This was a personal journey, with others present and simultaneously creating their SAF at the same time. There was no external audience for this performative act, everyone was participating in the creation and exploration process. Participants created their field, explored it, and looked to discover what this may mean to them. Photo elicitation and fabric was used to help each participant to individually enter into a dialogue with the space, and generate a landscape of understanding. This was a shallow dive into what would normally be a longer, even multi-day process.

The goals for this final activity was more open. One outcome was that the activity provided an experimental insight into working with this emerging process. Another was to give a sense of ADCID’s approach to complex work across Fields of Strategic Action, and spark insights among those present. Stephen would like to thank all those who took the plunge into this activity, and appreciates all the feedback received after the session from members of the DwD community.

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Background: Through his years of practice in international development and collaborating with local community-based organizations, Stephen and ADCID  have found these processes very useful. They have been used to shift the relationships and dynamics that local Community-Based Organisations (CBOs) have with marginalised populations they serve. When working on projects in Africa and Canada, Stephen finds this depth of group inquiry to be particularly relevant to long-term, capacity focussed projects..

About the Host

ssillett

Stephen Sillett is co-executive director of Aiding Dramatic Change in Development (ADCID), and helps the organization research, facilitate and direct dialogue, drama and art processes for healing and community development. Through ADCID projects and in partnership with other social actors, he is exploring approaches that engage community members in conversations, consciously orientated to maturing visions of the future. Research interests include the facilitation of non-verbal and spatial meaning-making practices within group workshop and the creation of interactive performance. He directs InFusion Labs where theatre artists, therapists, scientists and social practitioners explore spatial approaches to exploration and discovery.

ADCID’s community-driven approach, has evolved over 10 years in rural South Africa through:

  • Peer Influence workshops in Schools across Ingwavuma, South Africa – supported by Health Canada
  • Water and Sanitation project in rural South Africa supported by Oxfam Australia . Large-Group community dialogue and reflective Inquiry process using Socio-Drama Topography.

ADCID has also been focussing on 2 areas of engagement with communities in Canada.

  • CrossGEN: Connecting across Age and Culture. Connecting newcomers with long-term residents to form networks that can inform service provision and innovate ways to deepen interactions in our public spaces. Supported by Ontario Trillium Foundation.
  • Imagining Possibilities a project with communities with communication and complex physical disabilities to participate in a community arts journey and engage with others through story creation and performance. Supported by Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council and Toronto Arts Council.

INTERSECTION: Entrepreneurship & Indigenous Art Conference

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INTERSECTION is a unique gathering of indigenous artists, entrepreneurs, academics and students held at OCAD University the weekend of November 15 & 16, 9:00 – 5:00.

Keynote speaker Dr. Jessica Metcalfe will speak about how applied entrepreneurship as a platform to address local and global social issues.

Three distinct panels will expand discussions on emerging business ideas and social innovation approaches. A series of practical workshops using design thinking and our new flourishing
business model innovation workshop will allow attendees to practice and test their ideas for scaling up and sustainability.

The conference will:

  • Highlight successful examples of Triple bottom line (Financial, Social, Environmental) enterprises
  • Provide practical tools and workshops for students and aspiring entrepreneurs
  • Provide success stories of income generation for organizations looking for ways to replace government funding
  • Address intersections and breakdown barriers between creative and business types

See the Conference website for more information.

Free admission to all – Please register at Eventbrite