Isabelle Ginot, Professor, Paris 8

Keywords: participatory methodologies; action research; creative research methods: societal engagement through teaching; changing norms

The research themes of Isabel revolve around three main themes: The analysis of contemporary dance, questioning in particular the perception of the spectator (or critic) in the reading or analysis of choreographic pieces • The analysis of practices, and particularly somatic practices, in relation to so-called vulnerable audiences (people living with chronic diseases or disabilities, the elderly, etc.).• Artists with disabilities in the contemporary dance scene.

Being both an academic and a practitioner (Isabelle is a certified practitioner of the Feldenkrais method), for her the work of theorization and societal engagement are inseparable. In one of the projects, with a group of dancers and a group of practitioners of somatic technique they developed practices for people who experienced social exclusion, and started to give workshops, teaching Feldenkrais method and other techniques for people outside the dance world. The project engages action research and participatory methodologies, and also challenges norms about academic knowledge – giving relevance to knowledges (somatics) that are not usually considered in academia. She employs circular processes of practices and theory interaction. For example, after workshops they did long interviews with participants and tried to develop theoretical body, based on texts written by founders of somatics. A research group was created, working on visibility and social and political relevance of somatic practice. In turn, participants report back that the approach informs practice. These circular processes ensure a strong interconnection between practices, experiences, and theoretical approaches.

Additionally, she employs participatory methods in teaching by sharing experiences and practices between students and practitioners, teaching students to work with practice.

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