Dismantling Systems in Higher Education: Embodied Knowledge

cover of the conference booklet. name of conference over reddish image of people moving

Director of Dance Susan Haines has been selected by the Dance Studies Association to present at the their annual conference in Vancouver, B.C. in October of 2022.

At this conference in Vancouver, the first DSA gathering in Canada and postponed from 2020, presenters will explore dance and activism in localized and transcultural settings, and share strategies for productive change on the stage, street, screen and within the academy.

Haines presented previously at the Dance Studies Association conference in Valetta, Malta in 2018 on Performance & Public Grief: Creating Embodied Narratives in Response to Cultural Conflict.

Research Abstract

This research examines how process-minded dance artists navigate within product-based hierarchies as faculty, artists, and administrators in higher education.

How can we dismantle traditional frameworks of power in higher education for a resilient and equitable system using embodied knowledge of momentum, flexibility and strength, opposition, and the negotiation of tension and release. These skills do not always readily transfer to a product-based workplace where even the slightest hint of opposition and tension suggest failed communication or a lack of progress.

Decolonizing these hierarchies of higher education requires embracing a horizontal approach that honors the wisdom of process work, and the wisdom of the dancing body. Bridging the roles of dance pedagogy, artistic process, and program administration, this presentation will examine how each role can promote activism, from student to faculty to administration. Beginning with dance pedagogy, we examine how embodied power and agency build the foundation. This work continues into artistic process, promoting inclusive collaboration that shifts traditional top-down power structures of art making, and continues the trajectory of a horizontal structure to administrative tiers. I will examine how bridging these roles through the tenets of embodied knowledge can support organizational resilience and emancipatory thinking. Participants will learn strategies using experiential movement practices that promote activism and bridge pedagogy, artistic process, and leadership.

Authored on

May 16, 2022 11:33am