Improvising on the Ward

L. Dowler

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


    This paper provides a descriptive account of ongoing action research into the effects of dance improvisation, refined touch and somatic practice with children on the Neuro - Medical Ward of Alder Hey Children's Hospital. The paper addresses working with a phenomenological methodology in a clinical setting. In addition it seeks to illuminate the benefits of a holistic approach to working with the body from a child led perspective, which subverts traditional medical paradigms influenced by Cartesian dualisms (Burwood 2008). The paper also addresses the patient/facilitator relationship and how the use of Somatic Practice, in particular Body, Mind Centring (BMC) permits the practitioner to work intuitively with a consciousness of their 'somatic modes of attention' (Csordas 1993), whilst maintaining the role of dance artist rather than therapist. Furthermore, how the study of the experiential anatomy of BMC has provided an embodied language to communicate with parents and staff will be explored, in relation to a setting where the medical idea of a mechanistic body is the norm. The presentation imparts findings of the research through observations of the artist, parents and clinicians and video documentation. It proposes that those who have an embodied knowledge of the body i.e. Dance artists, can be successful in supporting children's movement, flexibility, strength and body awareness as well as emotional benefits associated with creativity and play in a hospital setting. Burwood, S (2008) "The apparent truth of dualism and the uncanny body" Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 7:263 - 278 Csordas, T (1993) "Somatic Modes of Attention" Cultural Anthropology 18:135 - 156
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2009
    EventInspiring Transformations: Applied Arts and Health - Northampton, United Kingdom
    Duration: 7 Sept 2009 → …


    ConferenceInspiring Transformations: Applied Arts and Health
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
    Period7/09/09 → …


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