Both anthropology and contemplative techniques encourage its practitioners to explore the world with all our being; they allow us to appreciate the transformative nature of experience and caringly participate in the world's becoming. In this lab, we explore anthropology as a contemplative practice.
Contemplation shares its etymological origin with time (temporality), sacred space (temple) but also with mood (temper) and music (tempo) and to contemplate is to patiently observe while moving our body and stretching our attention and imagination. Moving contemplatively means also to participate in life's flourishing without interrupting it. So is often the case with anthropological practice. In preparing for field research, learning with research participants, while taking notes and analysing research materials, we try to engage with the changing world with all our being.
In this workshop, initiated as part of the Knowing from the Inside project, we shall delve into anthropology as such contemplative practice. During 60-minutes long training we will draw on various contemplative systems such as the Feldenkrais method, somatic education and improvisational techniques to practically explore how moving with awareness but without judgement can support a sense of acceptance, generosity, comfort and safety. In the following discussion, we shall consider how are these attitudes relevant to anthropological training and work. In addition to guided practice, participants will be invited to share their personal experience of contemplative techniques.
We aim to reflect on how contemplation can transform academia, its engagement with the world and its ways of cultivating knowledge. By thinking, feeling, and experiencing in movement, we shall consider research and education not as inscriptions of predetermined forms and ideas onto the bodies and materials but as caringly or skilfully corresponding with the environment, its inhabitants and elements.