Workshops and Lectures2018-06-01T10:44:08+00:00

Workshops & Lectures


Workshop 1:
Moving Family Reconstruction
Susanne Bender
Behaviors and sensations that seriously disturb a person’s liveliness and joy can often be traced back to events, assignments, rules, myths, rituals or traumas in family history.
On the basis of the genogram – a kind of family tree – representatives (participants from the group) are set up to each other substituting family members. These representatives get body sensations and movement impulses, which they can usually pursue with music, and which give important conclusions about the family system. While in the classical method, these sensations are only spoken about, in this way, the whole system comes in motion and indicates potential reorientations.
Through the expression of grief, anger, boredom, eroticism, fun, etc., the representatives can give accurate information about the family member. The family stories become clear and are reinterpreted for the future way of life. In this way, we gain access to strengths, talents and sources of force, and recognize where the family not only obstructs us, but how it has also empowered us.

Workshop 2:
Digital Storytelling and Fictional Biography – Reality and Fiction Encounter in an Artistic Process
Barbara Feldhoff & Till Stauffer
Digital Storytelling: In this workshop, the participants will be led through a guided meditation to stages of their biography. These will be afterwards shared with the group. This crystallizes out a theme that finds a new form of expression in the Digital Story through images (photographs taken during the workshop). Combined with music and speech, it is assembled in the computer to form a video clip. Personal themes are expressed and made visible through the artistic process. Other perspectives can arise. No prior technical knowledge is required.
Fictional Biography: In this method of biography work developed by Till Stauffer, biographical and developmental psychological aspects are worked on and processed in an artistic context. Perception, understanding and action in the context of the involvement with biography are thereby brought to levels of artistic action and converted constructively. This approach creates a depth in the individual engagement with life stages and the accompanying psychological developments. The result of both workshops will be combined in a performance. This concept has been carried out in Luxembourg for 4 years with youngster with low education and young adults with a migrant background.
Both workshops run parallel and are exchanged on the second day.

Workshop 3:
Voices of My Self
Ellen Foyn Bruun
This workshop addresses auto-ethnographic performance and drama/theatre devised from autobiographical material. We shall examine lived experience and personal narratives through a variety of drama- and theatre based tasks and exercises that integrate voice and vocal expression. Participants will be invited to explore and connect to the multiple voices from within and without which constitute the unique individual Self. These might be known and unknown, heard and unheard. We will need to listen with care. The creative process will build on individual and collective play that will be explored and shaped in different ways. The step by step design is transferable to dramatherapy practice with clients.   

Workshop 4:
Working on the COLLECTIVE Biography: The Indestructible in the Center
Hua Cuo (Hwatso) & Ingrid Lutz
This workshop is an experiment and dedicated to a special theme: focusing on the symbol of the swastika is an attempt to contrast the ancient and still living Tibetan tradition of the swastika as an expression of indestructible harmony and well-being with the extremely destructive impact of the swastika as central symbol for the Nazi rule. The brief period of Nazi terror has left a deep imprint on the individual and collective subconscious of our Western world and has ‘poisoned’ this symbol. Where we therefore banned this symbol entirely, Hwatso comes from a culture that is free from that. Starting from this contrast we follow the key prinicple of artistic shaping which allows, indeed requires, the confrontation with social taboos. We want to use this potential here therapeutically and hope to get more freedom from rigidification and fixation by these possibilities of artistic creation. The aim is to expand our range of options for re-action to this Nazi-imprint and thus to facilitate ‘healing’ in the widest possible sense. Hwatso combines modern dance and dance therapy with elements from her Tibetan tradition, such as Tibetan ritual dances and breath-focused meditation. Ingrid will work with family and collective constellations and, in staging them, attempt to ‘bring to light’ and into movement these more or less repressed destructive effects of this part of the collective biography.

Workshop 5:
Autobiographical Therapeutic Performance as a ‚Rite of Passage‘
Susana Pendzik & Armand Volkas
Drama Therapy always involves a journey back and forth from self to character, from life to stage, from biography to story. However, this process takes on a further dimension when it entails working towards a performance that is based on autobiographical material. This kind of intervention poses significant challenges for both the drama therapist and the client, who embark on a joint adventure in which they must tackle aesthetic and therapeutic dilemmas, hold in sight process and product; and furthermore, cope with the fact that the culminating arch of this process is a powerful event that may stir up overwhelming emotions.
This workshop proposes the concept of the ‘rite of passage’ as a metaphor that encapsulates and guides the process, providing a structure that helps to keep the therapeutic focus, both for the therapist/director and for the client/performer. The healing force of this image derives, partly, from the archetypal stratum that it taps into, defining the roles of therapist and client in a different light, and facilitating a map for the journey. The finding and application of this guiding metaphor is the result of many years of intensive immersion, creative experimentation, and art-based research by the presenters.
In this workshop, we will explore autobiographical material following the structure of Rites of Passage depicted by Arnold van Gennep and Victor Turner. Using a variety of techniques for translating autobiographical experiences into theatrical language, such as embodied images, creative ritual, playback theatre, dramatic resonances, etc., participants will explore personal experiences, and experiment with the roles of therapist/director and client/performer aiming to develop short autobiographical therapeutic performance pieces.

Workshop 6:
From Page to the Stage: Ethnodrama and Ethnotheatre as a Method to Share Lived Experience
Nisha Sajnani
This workshop will introduce participants to auto-ethnographic and ethnographic performance. Participants will interview and record each other’s memories about an experience that they believe to be personally or socially important. These memories then become the data from which to create a dramatic script and performance. We will also discuss how this approach can be used in drama therapy and as a means of bridging the divide between research and practice. Participants will devise an ethnodramatic script and excerpts will be performed on Saturday for the full conference.

Workshop 7:
When Memories Become Graspable Images: in Spaces of Memory and at Home
Constanze Schulze
Artistic design greatly supports the activation and transformation of memories. Both in fine arts and in art therapy, attention to phenomena, but also to questions of remembrance, is uninterrupted. The creative handling of images of memory in artistic activity, and at the same time the resulting changes in relation to remembering or particular memories are central circular interrogations.
The workshop aims to invite to actively explore the potential of visual artistic design with regard to the metaphorical treatment of memories through selected methods and procedures. It also focuses on the fascinating fields of tension between individual and collective or communicative memory in relation to the theme “in spaces of memory and at home”.

Workshop 8:
The strength of unassailable us
Anna Seymour
The title of this workshop is taken from a poem by Lemn Sissay who grew up in foster care and childrens’ homes under another name that was given to him when he was removed as a baby from his Ethiopian mother. He left education at the age of fifteen, yet in 2015 he was appointed Chancellor of the University of Manchester in the north of England. His story is mapped out through his poetry and performances which include the stories of other ‘orphaned children’ from Harry Potter to Wolverine. Throughout there is a search for ‘family’. We all begin ‘somewhere’ and each persons’ biography is full of intricate detail that makes us unique but also a part of seeking something called ‘us’.
This workshop will draw on literary and dramatic sources to explore how our connectedness with other peoples’ biographies can strengthen us on our life journey.


Lecture 1:
Drama Therapy Research: Trends and Opportunities for Biographical Performance
Nisha Sajnani
This lecture will present the results of a systematic review of research pertaining to biographical performance in order to highlight trends and opportunities, implications for training and professional development, and ways of researching biographical performance in drama therapy.

Lecture 2:
Interfaces between Evidence-based and Arts-based Research Approaches in Art Therapy and in the Arts Therapies
Constanze Schulze
Although the arts therapies are increasingly being considered in treatment guidelines, meaningful findings on the efficacy of their interventions in selected (circumscribed) target groups or in specific settings (such as the group) are not yet sufficient. However, this is necessary in order to justify their integration better and more profoundly, especially in multi-professional teams and treatment approaches.
The obvious interaction of different components, due in particular to the manifold use of artistic media and procedures, makes it difficult to adequately evaluate the effectiveness. Here, there is a great need to generate adequate research designs in the sense of mixed methods. From a research methodological perspective, it seems interesting to consider not only the evidence-based method spectrum (qualitative and quantitative) but also artistically based research approaches and their strategies.
The challenges and innovative interfaces arising from a combination of evidence-based and arts-based research approaches, but also the prerequisites for them to be considered more closely, should be highlighted and discussed in the lecture.


Workshop A: Simone Klees
Empirisch forschen in der Theatertherapie – Zugänge und Forschungsmethoden
Using the example of grounded theory methodology (Glaser and Strauss 2010), fundamental questions on the subject of research and theory formation in dramatherapy will be presented and discussed.

Workshop B: Susana Pendzik
Using Drama Therapy Tools and Techniques to Structure Case-Study Research

Doing case study research involves “conducting an empirical investigation of a contemporary phenomenon within its natural context, using multiple sources of evidence” (Hancock & Algozzine, 2017, p.15). In the therapeutic field, case studies have been generally regarded as an invaluable source of knowledge. Grounded in clinical practice, case-studies are a traditional method of the therapeutic paradigm to articulate itself, and in the long tradition of psychoanalysis and Jungian analysis, they constitute a sort of genre of its own.
Working within the mental health system with multidisciplinary staff, drama therapists are often required to present their cases to the staff. However, following the guidelines of clinical practitioners, they would often take on the structure and discourse of the clinical investigator, thus failing to bring out the uniqueness of our field. In drama therapy, the “empirical investigation” can be produced in many ways, and “the multiple sources of evidence” can be explored using the creative arts and theatre-based methods – a form that better suits our identity.
This workshop acquaints participants with various inquire procedures, that can be used for researching, developing and presenting a dramatherapy case study. Creative means are applied to deconstruct the case study and codify data. The material is elaborated using arts and theatre-based research tools.
Participants are required to bring working protocols of particular clients.

Workshop C: Constanze Schulze
Beyond the Variety of Methods: on the Claim of Mixed-Methods in Arts Therapies with Example of Current Project
The workshop builds directly on the content of the lecture and, based on current projects and their results, aims to show first steps in terms of a meaningful development of mixed-method designs in the artistic therapies. The broadening possibilities of multi-perspective investigations, but also the demand for the use of actual mixed-methods, should be reflected and discussed together and preferably with regard to own projects or project plans of the workshop’s participants.

Workshop D: Anna Seymour
Theatre and Research: A matter of survival?
This presentation will be based on research for Seymour’s forthcoming co-authored book Dramatherapy and Theatre (Routledge Taylor and Francis 2019).
Themes, metaphors and aesthetics shift in theatre to create new responses to cultural/political crisis but the stories of such protagonists as Antigone and Electra are revisited and rediscovered. With Gogo and Didi in Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, we see how metaphor is proliferated and ‘lived through’ as a matter of survival.
We will discuss how the influence of classic texts continues within the work of contemporary theatre makers and how it might speak to the praxis of Dramatherapy and the therapeutic relationship.

Workshop E: Dr. Regina U. Heß
An Embodied Phenomenological Approach to Transpersonal Transcultural Research
Embodied Phenomenology (Todres, 2007; Hess, 2012a) is a research method with an innovative focus on our primordial bodily connection with the world we live in. The central concept is ‘embodied understanding’ seen as a place where being (ontology) and knowing (epistemology) meet by intertwining Gendlin’s concept of felt sense and bodily knowing with Heidegger’s link of phenomenology, language and poetry. 
Regina’s doctoral thesis “Women’s Lives in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands and Their Experiences With the ‘Capacitar Practices’ for Transforming Trauma: An Embodied Inquiry“ explored the impact of the Capacitar practices for healing individual and cultural trauma with women from both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.
A further methodological goal was the bridging of aesthetic-artistic-performative sciences into social sciences research by using methods such as poetry, art, film, music and dance. 
An embodied approach to research includes the whole process of data collection, data analyses and communication of research findings. In addition to standard phenomenological data analyses procedures, complementary methods are integrated that acknowledge alternative non-linear ways of knowing and expression of research findings such as poetry or film that may help to “give voice” to layers of embodied understanding to become “living texts”. A further aim of such evocative forms of disseminating scientific knowledge is to reach out to a wider and a general public to convey social impact. The presentation will be bi-lingual in English/German.


Workshop I:
The Use of Rasaboxes in Therapeutic Biographical Performance
Nisha Sajnani
Rasa, a term that translates to emotional essence, is central to Indian cultural expression. In this workshop, participants will be introduced to the concept of rasa and the practice of rasaboxes which may be used as a structure for exploring emotional states, facilitating emotional regulation, and as a means of devising and working with text in therapeutic biographical performance.

Workshop II:
Telling other peoples’ stories
Anna Seymour
A biography is ‘an account of someone’s life written/told by someone else’. This is what happens in plays and is what we do when we place the aesthetic frame of ‘performance’ around the telling of a story. Even if it is our own story we attempt to create aesthetic distance in order to produce this sense of ‘otherness’ which enables exploration of how the story is told.
However, questions of representation are problematic – who can say what for whom? Who does the story belong to? This workshop will explore these and other issues around ‘telling’ and representation through using dramatic text and embodied process.

Workshop III:
Waking Dream Theatre: Spontaneous Autobiographical Performance Exploring a Collective Dream World through Drama
Armand Volkas
In Waking Dream Theatre, you will learn and refine a series of acting forms. These techniques will allow you to interact with dream images that emerge from your unconscious through theatre improvisation. You will be invited to take creative risks with the encouragement of a supportive group and facilitator.
During the workshop, the group will co-create a collective dream world where personal story, current life challenges and creative expression intermingle. Waking Dream Theatre is at once a meaningful practice and a performance art. This workshop will allow you to discover, reveal yourself and be witnessed. Waking Dream Theatre can spark deep insight while remaining poetic and playful. The workshop will culminate in a “waking dream jam session” integrating the forms that have been taught with music, movement, improvisation and creative ritual.