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Thursday, December 10 • 1:00pm - 3:00pm
Teaching and Learning through Social Arts: Creating Relational Spaces of Community Within the Classroom (2-hour workshop)

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Our relationships with those we teach and learn from are often pushed into limited spaces in which our relational dynamics – listening, collaborating, awareness - become more routine and technical and less embodied and meaningful; we often see these dynamics as inherent to our work, allowing them to go unnoticed and become disengaged.   When our relationships with learners, teachers and community members are created and remain within this limited and inactive space, the rich complexities of human life and the many different ways of understanding the world and our relationships, are marginalized.

I will use arts-based practices, particularly improvisation, to provide an experience that allows us to make active the relational dynamics that have become the routine parts of being with people - in the classroom and in community settings. Engaging with the creative, un-scripted, in the moment, foundations of improvisation can challenge us to go outside of a limited way of understanding, experiencing relational dynamics as an active way into connection.  I am proposing a workshop that uses improv-based exercises and discussions to explore different ways of understanding everyday concepts of relating; in particular, the concepts of support, collaboration and awareness. This artful engagement results in meaningful experiences and discussions that connect personal reflection, relational dynamics, and larger, social change.

Rather than introducing a specific approach to teaching or a particular method of community-building, this research-informed workshop encourages a reflexive, active, and dialogic exploration between the facilitator and the participants and provides a reflexive and engaging approach to relational dynamics.


Cathy Paton

McMaster University

Thursday December 10, 2015 1:00pm - 3:00pm EST
Meeting Room D

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