Our core team at the Presencing Institute has advanced the efforts on our research on social fields, using Social Presencing Theater as the core action methodology. We are now developing case studies on education, researching how SPT can make a difference in the school context, but also how it could be used as a research methodology in itself to investigate social field shifts. Our case studies include schools in the Diego Rivera Learning Complex (Los Angeles) and the Waldorf school system in China. We are also about to develop a gathering in Mexico City, which may unfold in a guide of ways to apply SPT in education. Other partnerships for becoming case studies in this research (or living examples of how to apply SPT in education) include the Kunst Museum in Liechtenstein and Atolye, a design studio in Turkey.
Several years ago, the Presencing Institute was asked by Eileen Fisher, the founder of the women’s clothing company, to introduce Social Presencing Theater to its employees in a series of workshops and conversations aimed at personal growth. Arawana’s work there was highlighted in a recent issue of strategy+business, which features a video as well as a blog by Editor-in-Chief Art Kleiner.
Inspired by the potential of using Social Presencing Theater as a method for decolonizing political movement building practices, three SPT practitioners convened a simultaneous trans-local practice group in April, with activists, artists and healers in Capetown, South Africa and Brooklyn, New York. Kate Johnson, Danielle Saint Louis, and Mehul Sangham co-hosted a session of discussion, meditation, and SPT - checking in with each other via video chat while practicing separately, but simultaneously, in between. Participants were inspired to further strengthen the bonds between Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in the United States and in South Africa, supporting each other in our distinct and shared movements towards freedom. We are interested to learn how practicing this innovative social art form will bring together diverse perspectives to generate fresh strategies for direct action, that are creative and healing. A series of gatherings are being planned for later this fall.
This is a fluid and emerging process. No doubt it will continue to change and develop as different people become involved and different client situations present themselves. The first step has been to identify clients or communities and to interview members of that organization or group. Over a 3-5 day period, we can create a 15 minute performance of Social Presencing Theater to seed a community dialogue process.
The performance can include members of the client system. The entire client community then gathers for a two hour Social Presencing Theater event that begins with the performance. The performance creates a field shift or a gap in the habitual way the social system regards itself. It enhances that client ‘s capacity to see its own qualities, patterns and potential. The community sees itself embodied and enacted in a respectful way. The performance is followed by reflection and dialogue using World Café or other social technologies, out of which seed of action for the future can emerge.
For more information about SPT, you can visit the Presencing Institute's hub here.