Panel: Embodied Pedagogy

Ivano Gamelli and Nicoletta Ferri, PEDAGOGIA DEL CORPO- EMBODIED PEDAGOGY: AN ITALIAN PERSPECTIVE – telepresentation

In this contribute we want to present and share the perspective of Pedagogia del corpo-Embodied Pedagogy, a quite recent teaching in Italian Academic System.
It was founded about fifteen years ago by the researcher Ivano Gamelli at the University of Milano Bicocca, Department of Science of Education.
The basic assumption of this pedagogical approach is to reconsider the role of embodied knowledge in educational processes, connecting areas that in Italian schools but also in the curriculum for professional educators are traditionally divided like thinking and perceiving, speaking and acting, moving and teaching/learning.

The aim is to draw educational principles from different practices and body disciplines with artistic, rehabilitative and educational background (Dance, Theatre, Feldenkrais Method, Psychomotion…), and transfer them into educational settings.
Through a constant field research work, which blends narrative and autobiographical techniques with moving and body expression, this academic teaching wants to retrace new pedagogical approaches for projects addressed to children and adults.

Describing practical examples, we will outline the theoretical landscape of Pedagogia del corpo. In particular we will present some paradigmatic frames coming from workshops with students at the University of Milano Bicocca.

The workshops are built with an interdisciplinary approach that involves body expression, dance and theatrical techniques, autobiographical writing and sharing materials.

The aim is to give students- who are going to become teachers or educators- the chance to contact and work on embodied knowledge, especially on Presence and Listening, as important resources for their future profession.

The educative training to somatic experience makes our perception more sensitive and open to what happens around us; and this is precious for educators, because they are always deeply and dynamically engaged in a living, perceiving relationship with the others.

Raphael Sieraczek and David Hay (CHAIR), Using theatre and art-based pedagogy to achieve the practices of science in the student body

One of the most important goals of university science education is to prepare students to design and carry out their own experiments. Despite a well-developed literature on science-practice teaching, however, this goal is difficult to realize in conventional science education. The most intractable problem is that an experimenters’ knowledge of potential scientific objects immures the agency of matter which by definition currently eludes disclosure. As Barbara Maria Stafford shows in her work on “Body Critiscisms” and analysis of “Echo Objects”, however, the non-linguistic pedagogy of performance has potential for developing the silent, kinesthetic and effective sensitivities project the materially plausible, yet also imagined contours of a future experimental research project.

In this paper we describe an art-based pedagogical model informed by the “Imagine a Spectacle” theatre concept. In particular we show how this idea and its consequential actions achieve the elusive goals of learning science practice through a gradual disclosure of latent material potentialities. We exhibit our approach in documentary of one interdisciplinary performance: “Performing Antibodies” in which student of the arts, the sciences and social sciences collaborate with young artists, dancers, and musicians, bringing to light an embodied drama of antibody structure in and of their corporeal bodies. Drawing on contemporary philosophy of art and science, including the feminist turn of science studies and Andrew Pickering’s account of the dialectics of resistance and accommodation in experiment, our analysis exhibits how human and non-human protagonists can interact in unfolding drama in order to bring about science-like discovery. Our paper exhibits the essential features of our model and illustrates the stages of disclosure using the students’ choreography and emerging script of “being antibodies”.

Maiya Murphy, Take Up the Bodies: Understanding Body-based actor training through Enaction

Focusing on the pedagogy of Jacques Lecoq, this paper outlines how an enactive view illuminates the workings of body-centered actor training. Using the framework that DiPaolo et al. outline for Enaction in “Horizons for the Enactive Mind: Values, Social Interaction, and Play ”–autonomy, sense-making, emergence, embodiment, and experience–this presentation articulates some specific ways body-based actor training takes advantage of cognition to shape the aesthetic sensibility and abilities of the actor. Therefore in this sense we can see how training is not merely engendering aesthetic skill, but shaping a particular kind of cognitive engagement for the actor-creator and for the spectator as well. Enaction can subtly trace the ways in which both biology and environment are employed to take up bodies, cognition, and imagination in the corporeally focused practice of Lecoq pedagogy. This presentation zooms in on the notion of “satisficing” to understand one of Lecoq’s major approaches to the student-teacher relationship where the teacher focuses on negating student proposals, while largely refraining from praising success.

Sarah Klein and Tyler Marghetis, Shaping Experiment from the Inside Out

Beginning from a performative premise that art and science are both entrenched in embodied and situated methods for enacting their phenomena, this paper explores the cognitive scientific experiment as embodied performance. Scientific experiments require the ongoing enrolment of participants, who are regimented in subtle ways to perform both as data sources and as ideal subjects. We elucidate embodied routines of reflexive regimentation that stage this enrolment at the microscale of laboratory interaction. What emerges when, instead of intervening on submissive subjects, the experiment becomes malleable and responsive, conforming to subjects’ impressions of and aspirations for science? Blurring the boundary between research report and artist statement, this paper describes a collaborative performance made for the cognitive psychology lab.

EXPF: Shaping Experiment was a collaboration between a cognitive scientist and an ethnographer of cognitive science. EXPF inverted the agential structure of the cognitive psychology experiment, rendering it responsive to the impressions of its subjects rather than testing a hypothesis of the researchers. After having subjects complete what appeared to be a standard, computer-based cognitive psychology task, we elicited impressions about the experiment’s purpose and suggestions for improvement. Our performance score required that we respond to subjects’ feedback by revising the experiment before the next subject arrived, whose impressions revised the next version of the experiment, and so on in an iterated chain of performance and revision. In becoming responsive, experiment and experimenters became instruments to capture the invisible routines, expectations, and formalized power relations that make the experiment possible at the scale of laboratory interaction. This paper will report on the process and results of our collaboration. By rendering the cognitive psychology experiment as malleable bodies-in-interaction, this paper provides performative context for cognitive scientific facts, and intervenes in that activity, opening up possibilities for novel methodological relations and enactments.