Tag Archives: presence

Grounding Practices that Enable Emergence in Dialogue

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Design and engagement practitioners have adopted mindfulness approaches to large group participation recently, that help participants move from “heady” intellectual interactions to more embodied states of presence and awareness. Perhaps the most well-known approach is that of Theory U (Presencing), which has been applied in a huge range of process contexts, including in the 2015 Unify Toronto series.

Stephen Sillett and Jenny Jimenez  present insights into the thinking behind how this work is informed by dialogic design practice in long term community development. They explored:

How can we quickly enable diverse groups of participants to gain trust in their engagement and go deeper? (Using approaches appropriate to the people, place and purpose.)

How might we facilitate participants to feel both free and grounded, through emergent embodiment?

What would help support each of us to risk approaching the Edge of what we know, or to enter into an unknown area of inquiry?

 

Stephen Sillett shared theory and practice behind the “Come to the Edge” performance they coordinated in Belgium last month. Jennifer shared how this approach relates to developments in the disability arts movement and the shifting relationship to time. This involves grounding practices, but also practices that help people become transport to other realities, and involves crossing different types of thresholds.

The DwD engaged approaches to enable free exploration and collective trust and comfort to be achieved through intentional process design. We will share situations where we (ADCID) have helped participants with complex disabilities who can feel burden with frustration at their situation, and resigned to a state of endurance. We have developed different approaches for these contexts, which have adaptations from actor training, and mental space psychology.

Working with pre-verbal approaches, and metaphorical representations of burdens, we found major impact on communities who use alternative and augmentative communication. These can be used in the design of other dialogic engagements, and also for activities seeking to use dialogue as part of participatory design methodologies.

Several exercises were used to open up participants to deeper engagement:

  • Chairs and Tables – exercise that uses a simple spectrogram followed by metaphorical objects which become psychoactive and which the group can bond as we unburden
  • Passing the energy – exercise that opens up individuals and establishes a group dynamic.
  • David Grove’s Clean Space – deeper engagement around an outcome

 

About the Presenters

Jennifer Jimenez has a background as a scenographer, theatre-maker, and arts educator. She seeks artistic projects rooted in devised collaborative processes where all elements can play an active role in creation. This can take the form of integrating lighting and design into the rehearsal and creation process, working with community members to create a performance piece or devising an audience interactive piece, where those present are actively involved in meaning making. She has participated in training workshops in collaborative creation with Ariane Mnouchkine’s Teatre Du Soleil, and in Image and Forum Theatre facilitation at the Centres for the Theatre of The Oppressed in London, Toronto, and New York. Jenny has a Masters in Devised Theatre Creation from Central School of Speech and Drama in London, UK, and a BFA and BEd from York University.  She has taught drama and visual arts in the Ontario Secondary School system and in the UK.

Jenny Jimenez and Stephen Sillett are co-directors of ADCID (Aiding Dramatic Change in Development), where they facilitate and direct dialogue, drama and art processes for healing and community development. Through ADCID projects and in partnership with other social actors, they explore 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. They direct the InFusion Labs process where theatre artists, therapists, scientists and social practitioners explore spatial approaches to exploration and discovery.

 

Homo Ludens – The Playing Body

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An exploration of our physical relationship to media technology

October’s DwD session was hosted by Antje Budde of the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studiesat the University of Toronto, affiliated with and inspired by the exhibition “SPLICE: At the Intersection of Art and Medicine” curated by KMDI Fellow and international artist Nina Czegledy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WORKSHOP CONCEPT & CONTENT
Digital technology has a drastic impact on our lives and the way we communicate with each other. This has strong implications for how we engage our bodies in our communication, especially now that we are in constant contact with mobile computing devices. Through a series of live and mediatized physical exercises facilitated by theatre performers, this workshop will explore the role that our physical bodies play in this shifting technological context. 

Do we have to fear new developments or can we courageously embrace them? How can we maintain control over our bodies and body images? Playfulness and a healthy dose of doubt are a perfect mix to keep an empowering distance between us and the at times overwhelming demands of the multitude of devices now attached to our bodies and minds.

The workshop was created by the Digital Dramaturgy Lab (Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies at UofT) and SLICE. The session will be conducted in collaboration with graduate students from UofT, York University and emerging local artists from Pandemic Theatre in Toronto, including: Art Babayants, Aidan Dahlin Nolan, Douglas Hamilton, Myrto Komarianous, Kat Letwin, Montgomery Martin, Tara Ostiguy, and Michael Reinhardt. 
Opening dialogue with roughly 50 participants inviting performance and participation.
One group improvised by performing and recording soundscapes (of city, farm, office, factory) with found materials. In the auditorium, the second half of the group built human shape tableaux to structure these same settings,
Presentation of the soundscape and human shape video mix, followed with inquiry and dialogue into the experience.

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HOST   
Antje Budde, a graduate from Humboldt-University, Berlin and the Central Academy of Drama, Beijing, is an Associate Professor at the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Toronto. She is currently in the process of establishing the Digital Dramaturgy Lab in association with her home department and Knowledge Media Design Institute (KMDI). Her upcoming experimental performance piece “Artaud’s Cage” is investigating the possibilities and challenges of audio-visual motion tracking technology in live performance and will be presented as part of the conference “The Future of Cage: Credo” which will take place at the end of October 2012 in Toronto.

Nonviolent Communication: Moving from Stuckness to Possibility

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What If You Had the Answer All Along?

Henry Wai of the Center for Nonviolent Communication conducted the March 2012 DwD with Patricia Kambitsch of Playthink .

THE WORKSHOP

The session engaged people in interpersonal interactions that revealed the principles of nonviolent communication (NVC). NVC is a technique for opening possibility in areas of life where individuals experience being stuck or frustrated. When provided with an empathic space, such as created in the workshop, an innate resourcefulness in the person is freed up for opening up possibility at work, home, or community.

Henry Wai’s hands-on workshop explored:

  • How common thinking and habitual patterns limit our capacity for constructive possibility
  • A simple and powerful approach to get to the heart of issues
  • How this insight serves as the basis for creative action

The workshop held three seminar sessions with a total participation of about 40 people. Methods for exploring empathy and listening in communication included dyad and triad exercises and the NVC Feelings / Values cards.

 

Visual reflection by Patricia Kambitsch.

Online References:

Henry Wai helps people to work effectively, compassionately and with vitality. He has 25 years of experience leading trainings, developing programs and delivering direct service in areas such as housing and food co-ops, volunteer management, adult education, social enterprise and employment counselling. Henry’s experience includes working with individuals, teams and boards from diverse cultures and backgrounds. For 10 years Nonviolent Communication has been a very powerful addition to his approach which emphasizes self-awareness, choice, relational skills and ways to build co-operation in both work and personal settings. Henry is a Certified Trainer with the Center for Nonviolent Communication.  More recently he has been exploring contact improvisation dance for lessons in finding ways through stuckness or awkwardness.

Dialogue with Clowns

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February 2011 DwD featured nonverbal participatory social presence, led by Heidi Madsen (Columbus, Ohio), Elsa Lam (Dzieci Theatre Troupe), and Patricia Kambitsch (Playthink).

Some of the exercises required attentive listening beyond hearing. Dexter Ico captures Four Clowns at  Bus Stop, performed here by all participants. The “lead clown” is given a scenario, the others, without peeking, peripherally pick up on the behavior and act the part until they all, somehow, learn together the scenario without it ever having been communicated. This is as funny as it sounds …

May DwD 05.12.10 The Presence Workshop

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The May Design with Dialogue featured The Presence Workshop was hosted by Dexter Ico.

The Presence Workshop is about play and public speaking.  It’s experiential, intensive, and spontaneous; having fun with the serious.  It’s about sensing your self and censoring your self-doubt, because the knowledge you communicate to others is also always felt.  People listen to presence, let’s practice speaking from it.