“Embodied Un/Learning”: Unsettling Settlers Using Performance Methods

This workshop begins at 1:00 pm. Participants are advised to dress comfortably and be prepared for movement. 

As scholars and students, we spend our time sitting: in classrooms, in front of screens, behind desks, mind and body separated. As one of my workshop participants has noted, as workers and people in prisons are alienated by their conditions, as Marx and Foucault have demonstrated, so scholars self-alienate and discipline our own bodies. In this workshop we will examine how using the body can be an important teaching and un/learning tool. We will use games and exercises and Augusto Boal’s Image Theatre method to explore how to challenge settler privilege. Can we use our bodies together with our minds to create “productive discomfort” (Battell Lowman and Barker, 2015) in ways that will allow us to move towards action and change in ways that do not let settlers feel smug about what we are doing, feel good about feeling bad, or get stuck in guilt and defensiveness? How can we create what scholar and director Sherry Bie calls “a brave space” (2017) where we may explore how to include the body, with all its knowledge, in our work?

Lib Spry has been a theatre maker for over fifty years. She has chosen to work in an equal mix of professional theatre, community arts, and as a teacher as she believes they feed each other and keep her honest She is a specialist in non-traditional theatre forms: popular theatre, community theatre, site-specific theatre, theatre for young audiences, clown, bouffon, commedia dell’ arte and mask, and is a recognized teacher of Theatre of the Oppressed.  She has founded three theatre companies: Theatre Agile (2011- present), Passionate Balance (1989-96) and with Shirley Barrie the award-winning Straight Stitching Productions (1986-96). She recently directed Daniel David Moses’ Almighty Voice and His Wife for Theatre Kingston. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College and is presently a 4th year PhD student in Cultural Studies at Queens University where her thesis explores performance methods as ways to challenge settler privilege.