Monday, 2 November 2015

Accepting the process...embracing the unknown

We had two great Skype conversations yesterday, with opportunity for you all to share thoughts, worries, experiences as a community.

Adesola has blogged a reflection on the morning Skype call and pointed towards the blogs of those involved in that discussion - 

I am going to review a little the evening call to share something of the conversations there and share some experiences around process and not knowing.  

Please do check-in with each others blogs and comment particularly if you have been unable to join a Skype call this month.

The evening Skype raised discussions over literature.  What we see this as, how we access it, respond to it and not get too overwhelmed by it.  We talked about the literature not having all the answers we may be looking for, but offering alternative views.  That within our research we are not looking to prove something, not looking for either/or responses but to broaden the landscape of our practice through the inclusion of other voices.  Tara is going to blog around this notion of things not needing to be 'right or wrong' but the multiple alternatives there can be.

Adesola talked of the literature as ingredients rather than the finished meal.  When we 'use' literature in our research we are not looking to regurgitate what has already been said, nor are we trying to justify or 'back-up' our own thoughts with those of others, seemingly more secure because they exist in print.  

Ainsley referred to the 'holes in the literature' - what's not there being of interest and is sharing thoughts around this through her blog -
Cathie shared concerns over the stance of the literature and each piece seeming to have its own agenda.  We talked about the need to navigate through this with your own voice and she is going to continue this notion of swimming through the literature in her own blog

Louise is going to blog about not feeling too overwhelmed and seeing time and research  perhaps not as constrained but as opportunities for possibilities. 

Whenever we feel overwhelmed 'time' seems to take a priority in discussions.  'How do we find time?' Adesola and I have spoken before of alternative ways of seeing time, not as something to be found but more the rhythms that work for us, emerge from us and our relationship with our research.  Feeling overwhelmed can often be related to fear, frustration, not knowing, feeling that we should know, assuming there are some answers out there...

This is something that came up in different ways across both Skype calls and something I thought I would address through my experience of improvisation in dance practice.  When we improvise we are putting ourselves in a conscious place of 'not knowing'.  Improvised dances emerge as we respond in the moment to our environment (body, self, others, sound, space).  These dances are composed instantly through the responses we trust our bodies to make.  Improvisation is about taking risks...About not knowing, and being excited by the possibilities of what may emerge.  It is about being responsive, fluid, open to change...just like research.

Through improvisation we put ourselves in a vulnerable place (time and time again) and accept this as part of the process of investigation.  We are not looking for the 'right' movement, or a product at the end of the improvisation, but we are accepting not knowing, enjoying the unknown as we navigate journeys within it.  Our lived body is our resource.  We are able to draw on past experiences, patterns within the body, rhythms of past relationships of ourself to others to the environment.  This rich site of knowing (us), allows us to enter and embrace the unknown, fearless...accepting the vulnerability of the process to reveal deeper connections with ourselves, with others, with the environment.

Research asks us to do the same.

This TED talk from Brené Brown offers some thoughts on this process and the power of change, connections and vulnerability.

Share your thoughts on this...


  1. Sorry I wasn't able to be apart of either Skype call on Sunday but I've been trying to catch up by reading people's blogs. I watched the TED talk and found it really interesting. I think what you said about realizing that we are a rich site of knowing which allows us to embrace the unknown has really helped me to have confidence to move forward. To realize as well that all my thoughts are valid and can have an impact on my research helps me to realize I'm doing more than I think, if that makes sense.

  2. It does Tammy...glad you're able to share in the conversations via the blogs.