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(Your) Room for pedagogical development – with Kenneth Siren

How will one’s everyday environment unfold through artistic exercises? What
about one’s own body when situated in that environment in unusual ways? In this
session, we will attempt to experience our surroundings differently when guided by
showing and concealing, and improvising movement and remaining statue-like.

Sanni Siira From Sillä minä on katoava [For the I is transient], a dance performance by Elsa Heikkilä and the working group.

Kenneth will facilitate the session of the (Your) Room for ped­a­gog­i­cal de­vel­op­ment series on Saturday, January 15th, at 18:00-19:30 (Finnish time, UTC/GMT +2:00 hours). Participation on the sessions is free of charge.

Sign up to the online session by sending an e-mail to: nora.varga@uniarts.fi. You will receive a link to the session to your email.

About the workshop

As I’m writing this, I realise that I have placed myself on the very same armchair that I was sitting on years ago when I sent my advance assignments to apply to the Master’s Degree Programme in Theatre Pedagogy. Very fitting, as during my studies at “Peda”, I started to realise my fascination with stillness.“Stillness” is a terribly inaccurate description, of course, since the performer’s body is never truly still. “Being suspended” could work better.

But when I think back to how I had come to understand theatre in my earlier years, theatre had always been constituted as something active. Theatre was unambiguously about doing; dance about creating movement. Both aimed at a presence livelier than usual. But more and more, I started to find something very exciting about a body that simply parks itself. Similarly: in movement that ceases too abruptly or simmers away too slowly; in a performer who connects with the audience but only hesitantly; in a story that resists being sharedor mainly hints at tangential, more irrelevant stories.

In my research, the notion of habits is central. Habits, which govern the course of our actions, can be understood asenergy channelled to satisfying our needs. But the energy lies latently in us as well, as readiness even when not actively wielded. I think an immobile performer’s body captures this: the apparent inactivity is a positive, dynamic act.

In the workshop, we will try exercises from an artistic research process I helmed last spring. We will attempt to experience our everyday environments in a new light, and then play with improvised motion and motionlessness. It would be great if you could attend with your web camera on. The recommended environment for participating in this online session would be one that is familiar to you and allows for movement.

About Siren

Kenneth Siren is a theatre artist from Finland, originally hailing from the forest-covered hills of Kirkkonummi. Currently, they are a doctoral candidate at the Performing Arts Research Centre Tutke of the Theatre Academy. Incorporating pragmatist philosophy, their research leans on the notion of habits, the modes of behaviour our actions are based on. In their artistic research processes, Siren aims at creating collaborative theatre practices that allow the participants to identify and question their habits, and to keep experimenting with those in the performance situation. Siren has taught theatre for several years for people of all ages and has  recently started teaching at the Uniarts Helsinki’s Non-Degree Pedagogical Studies for Teachers in the Arts. Siren also writes and recites poetry, and their theatre performances often combine lyrical text, movement, and audience participation.Their performances have often taken place outside typical theatre stages, happening instead in public places, galleries, or on the participant’s skin. They have lectured extensively on the topic of gender diversity, a theme that features in their artistic works and research.

A screen capture from the rehearsals for the performance Kohta [Spot/Soon], rehearsed and performed via Zoom application

Living art pedagogy

A blog of dance pedagogy and theatre pedagogy master’s programmes in which teachers, students, and alumni talk and write about performing arts pedagogy, studying and teaching. The blog contains texts and podcasts.

Elävää taidepedagogiikkaa

Tanssinopettajan ja teatteriopettajan maisteriohjelmien blogi, jossa ohjelmissa opettajat, opiskelijat ja alumnit puhuvat ja kirjoittavat esittävän taiteen pedagogiikasta, opiskelusta ja opettamisesta. Blogi sisältää tekstejä ja podcasteja.

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