Building sound academia. What actually happened in Helsinki?

How do we build sound collectives? How do we create an atmosphere of playfulness and free flow of ideas between adults? If human interaction is much more than words, if it’s also a lot about nonverbal interaction, how can we add this dimension to events where scholars meet to discuss cultural aspects of human life – using almost exclusively words? Are human beings more than merely brains attached to a chunk of flesh&bones, and does it make sense to imagine a modality of human interaction, we could call corporeal reflection? If academia is the institution entrusted with the task of to understanding and finding solutions to our problems, is it meaningful to not involve the reflection taking place in sensorial, bodily reflection in this institution?

These are some of the question that are put into play in the workshop I was facilitating in Helsinki, at the Cultures in sustainable futures conference, May 2015.

The whole session was video recorded. I have experienced that this is a fantastic way of learning from the workshops, I am facilitating. Since we are working with nonverbal interaction, with sound and gesture as means of expression and communication, of course, the temporal aspect is extremely important. In order to get an idea about how the timing works, and in order to get a clearer image about the building of ‘cultural tissue’ that is going on in the collective, analysing a video recording of the session is crucial.

I have picked some highlights of the workshop session, and I am sharing them with you here, for you to get an image about how the tools and methods work.

1) “Pick Two” – Establishing equal distance between you and two other participants of your (secret) choice. Description.

2) Gesture imitation. Read more here.

3) Gesture imitation, with sound

4) Gesture merging

What do you think? Can we reflect via the body?, without words?, in higher education? Does academia need to include bodily reflection as a modality? Can you present a thesis in the form of a choreography?

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