Scenario

1649-8526Volume XIIIssue 2Year 2018
Short Presentation – 6th Scenario Forum Symposium

Transdisciplinary Articulations

Róisín O’Gorman and Fionn Woodhouse

During our presentation we briefly outlined two local Cork based projects that engage in 'Performative practices within and across disciplines' – these projects are titled Global Water Dances Cork and Articulating the Bones. Both projects were performative in nature, originated in the Department of Theatre in University College Cork, engaged with other departments within the university and also with local, national and international groups and organisations. The two projects are briefly summarised below:

The Global Water Dances Cork (GWD Cork) project involved students, local community dance/drama groups (adult, teen and children), and visiting faculty & staff from James Madison University coming together to highlight water issues, both local and global, on Saturday, June 24, 2017 on the banks of the River Lee at University College Cork. The event happened in conjunction with a workshop introducing STEAM-based pedagogy, and a Thinkery on water, anti-privatisation and the commons that explored different approaches to the commons specifically in relation to water. The participating groups created a range of performative responses to local water issues that tended to flow over themes of dams and floods. On the day over 50 audience members were led along the river bank as the individual groups performed – some singing, some reading news reports, some dancing. As a finale, all groups came togother to take part in a Global Water Dance inviting the audience to join in. By working through the body the participants (and audience) engaged with new ways to communicate meaning, to make intention clear. More information at https://globalwaterdancescork.wordpress.com/.

The Articulating the Bones project involved staff and students from the Osteoarchaeology MA and Theatre department in University College Cork working together to engage in key ideas and practices across the disciplines. Students from both disciplines took part in experimental learning spaces based on shared ideas of telling, and finding, stories through and with the body. These learning spaces included a series of theatre-based workshops preoccupied with the physical body, an examination of actual skeletal remains in the Osteo Lab, and participation in the Cork Dragon of Shandon Parade performing as a group of Bone Collectors. Participation in the Dragon of Shandon Parade allowed students to move from the reality of dusty skeletal bones through an awareness of their own bones to embodied bone collectors who playfully asked audience members to give up their bones. More info on the Dragon of Shandon here: http://www.dragonofshandon.com.

In the second half of the presentation we actively engaged the symposium attendees in performative practice to generate embodied learning in relation to the 6th SCENARIO Forum Symposium. Connecting the work of the above projects (the active group learning, making internal processes externally available, movement as knowing), the aim of the exercies was to move the attendees from the state of ‘expert sitters’ who are listening and receiving, to a group who are exploring an active doing, a performative learning.

With an initial internal focus symposium attendees sit comfortably, eyes closed, becoming aware of their breathing. Then participants were asked to think about their ‘intention’ in relation to taking part in the symposium, such as ‘learning more about the field or performative teaching, learning and research’ or ‘presenting an amazing paper that helps my career’. Attendees then condense these ‘intentions’ into a single word, ‘Learning’or ‘Sharing’, etc. These exercises happened internally for each individual attendee.

Moving to an external focus, participants opened their eyes, stood up and participated in a brief group physical warm up. After pairing up and nominating themselves as A & B, the A participants 'write' their one-word intention with a body part creating a repeating, evolving movement sequence. The B participants add a nonverbal sound score to the movement sequence. A and B are encouraged to allow their individual elements to respond and evolve. The room was filled with the physical actions/sounds of attendees’ intentions creating a form of embodied learning that is unique to each participant but shared/performed for all.

Note: This brief report was compiled by Fionn Woodhouse