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Dwelling in oneself

Nara Keiserman is an actor, researcher, and full professor at UNIRIO, where she is responsible for the subjects of Body and Movement. Some of their research interests are  Narrative Theater, Theater and Spirituality and Theater Pedagogies.

Ana Caldas Lewinsohn is an actor and director. Professor and vice-coordinator of the BA in Theatre at UFRN (BR). She also teaches at the Post-Graduate Program in Performing Arts at UFRN. Dr. Lewinsohn holds a BA, MA and PhD in Performing Arts from UNICAMP (BR), where she also undertook a post-doctoral research. She is coordinator of the Laboratory of Experimentation on Acting and Masks (LABMASK UFRN) where she develops theoretical and practical research involving Undergraduate Research Project guidance, Impact Projects, Master's guidance and spectacles’ direction. She also Coordinates with professor Karenine Porpino the Tardes do Vazio Project, open to the community.  The project was runned from 2017 to 2020 and sought to investigate the intersections of contemplative practices with performing arts. She participates as a collaborating researcher in the Research Group on Body, Dance and Creative Processes (CIRANDAR / UFRN / CNPq) and Lume Teatro (Unicamp-BR) . Her areas of interest and research are popular culture, mask, street theater, acting training, presence and contemplative practices. She is currently developing the project “The mask on the scene: enigma and ambivalence”.

What to say, what to be silence: a conversation on ‘Caminhos do Silêncio’ project

In this virtual meeting that brings France and Brazil closer, the actor and director François Kahn and the actress Priscilla Duarte share their experiences in the Caminhos do Silêncio project, which had three editions in Minas Gerais - Brazil. They depart from different points of view: he, as the guide and she, as a participant in the work. Addressing topics such as the origin of the Caminhos do Silêncio project, its structure and organization, as well as testimonies about the practices carried out, François Kahn and Priscilla Duarte reflect on the project's contributions to their experiences between life and art, and between creative practices and contemplative practices.


François Kahn has a degree in Biology from the University of Nantes. He was part of the group Théâtre de l ’Expérience from 1972 to 1975, in Paris,when he met Jerzy Grotowski and participated in several parateatral projects of the Teatr-Laboratorium in Wroclaw (Poland), until 1981. From 1982 to 1985, he joined the Gruppo Internazionale l'Avventura, in Volterra (Italy).During this time he worked in the direction and creation of several projects of the group. From 1986 to 1996 he participated as an actor and playwright in Roberto Bacci's shows. From 1995 he created the project TEATROdaCAMERA in which he acts as an actor, director and playwright. Since 1986 he has been teaching in Italian drama schools. Since 1988 he has regularly come to Brazil, where he presents his shows in Portuguese and gives workshops. In 2017, 2018 and 2019, in Minas Gerais - Brazil, he lead the Caminhos do Silêncio laboratory, organized by the research group CNPq CRIA - Artes e Transdisciplinaridade, from EBA / UFMG. In 2019, he launches in Brazil the book O Jardim: Reports and reflections on Jerzy Grotowski's parateatral work from 1973 to 1985, by É Realizações, with a preface by Tatiana Motta Lima (UNIRIO), afterword by Antonio Attisani and translation by Priscilla Duarte.

Priscilla Duarte is an actor, researcher and Yoga practitioner; artistic co-director of Teatro Diadokai; member of the research group CRIA - Arts and Transdisciplinarity of CNPq / EBA / UFMG (BR). She has a BA degree in Performing Arts from UNIRIO; MA and PhD in Arts from EBA / UFMG. For nine years, she collaborated with the Teatro Tascabile di Bergamo (Italy). Together with CRIA, she organized three editions of the Caminhos do Silêncio laboratory, conducted by François Kahn. She also translated the book O Jardim - reports and reflections on Jerzy Grotowski's parateatral work from 1973 to 1985, by François Kahn, published by É Realizações. Together with François Kahn she directed and performed the solo show O amor Possible. She is currently a lecturer at DEART / UFOP (BR), responsible for the subject on Body and Vocal Expression.

Social practices as a way of health and compassion

In this speech, Tania Alice will share some personal attempts to preserve the joy of life in these pandemic moments in which the contemplation of impermanence has become our main practice. In order to serve as a trampoline to propel other flights, she would like to share three pandemic strategies. First, the writing of the book Manual for performers and non-performers - 21 actions to generate happiness, which is meant to be an record of performances already performed and at same time a multiplication tool; then, the creation of the show Crescer pra Passarinho - an online poetic caring experience, presented more than 80 times during the pandemic; and, the experience of petperformances, a poetic experience of care for, with and by animals, which has led her to perform together with the pets that live with her and to expand this practice through workshops in partnership with veterinary doctor Manuela Mellão. The three experiences are meant to be generators of life potentials and joy in the midst of the chaos that we are going through.

In Heather's words:

I’ll share what I’m learning about acknowledging the storm, while we cultivate the sky. There will be stories from the twists and turns of academic life: the delights of unexpected partnerships, the doors which appear closed, and the health and abundance that flows around them. These insights are born from the transformative experience of one naive faculty mentor who initiated a practice based research community (PAR) in April 2018 at the City University of New York - Queensborough Community College alongside students and alumni.

One of the foundational components of our interdisciplinary PAR is in the integration of an innovative social art form known as Social Presencing Theater (SPT); SPT embodies Theory U (Otto Scharmer, MIT) by “joining physical and spatial intelligence with emotional and cognitive intelligence”  (Arawana Hayashi, SPT). 

We practice together, we co-create devised performances, and students present their action research findings on the performance of everyday life as undergraduate research. The community has also begun collaborating with communities to co-design and co-facilitate workshops, most recently offering programs on peacebuilding through awareness and improvisation and cultivating communities of care through action research.

We offer our aspirations for a global village where the body is an equitable source of knowledge, and where imperfection and impermanence are essential seeds for cultivating our emerging future(s).

Tania Alice dreams of an affective revolution by means of performance and intends to perform until that happens. Founder of the Performers without Borders platform, artist-researcher and professor at UNIRIO - Brazil, trauma therapist and Laughter Yoga instructor, she carries out participatory and relational artistic projects in beds, kitchens, urban spaces, universities, forests, showers, hammocks and even in theaters and galleries around the world with people, animals and trees.


Heather Huggins is an interdisciplinary artist who collaborates on community transformation and awareness-based systems change. She is a social arts facilitator with ImaginAction, and an advanced practitioner of Social Presencing Theater (SPT) at the Presencing Institute. She collaborates on new, devised, and applied projects, aspiring to make visible the intersectionality of identity, power, and privilege through deep research that integrates social practice and performance. Heather is an Assistant Professor at City University of New York - Queensborough Community College, where she uplifts liberatory practices to foster transformation. She initiated an SPT action research community in 2018. The group co-creates performances and workshops; students present their findings on diversity, equity, and inclusion as undergraduate research. She apprenticed with movement innovator Andrei Droznin, graduating from the Shchukin Institute at the Vakhtangov Theatre in Moscow, Russia. She is also a certified hatha yoga teacher and a graduate of the Interdependence Project’s yearlong mindfulness teacher training program.

South Dialogues


What does contemplative practices mean from a Latin American perspective? What are the specificities of contemplation in a decolonial gaze? Departing from their experiences  as Latin Americans engaged  in meditation and performing arts, in this roundtable the presenters will look  for shared experiences and traces that can help to (re)think of performing arts and contemplative practices in Argentina, Chile and Brazil.


Cristina Turdo: Researcher, Teacher, activist of Contact Improvisation (CI) since the late 80’s. Lecturer on contact improvisation at Universidad Nacional de las Artes - UNA. Supervisor in the postgraduate courses ‘New perspectives on dance’ and ‘Dance, movement, therapeutics’ (UNA). She studied several other practices such as Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shiatzu, Yoga, somatic and contemplative practices, physical impro, Drama, Applied anatomy, sacred languages. She is a Zen practitioner for 20 years in the ‘winds from the south’ group,linked to the diamond sangha under the guidance of Daniel Terragno Roshi. 

Investigadora, maestra, activista del Contacto Improvisación (CI) desde fines de los 80.  Titular de cátedra de Contacto Improvisación en la Universidad Nacional de las Artes - UNA. Docente en el Posgrado “Nuevas Tendencias de la Danza”, y del Posgrado de “Danza Movimiento Terapia” (UNA). Ha estudiado y se ha formado en otras prácticas como Medicina Tradicional China, Shiatzu, Yoga, Practicas somáticas y contemplativas, Improvisación Física, Teatro, Anatomía aplicada, Lenguajes Sagrados. Es practicante Zen desde hace más de 20 años, dentro grupo Viento del Sur, que pertenece al Linaje de la Sangha Diamante, con la guia del maestro Daniel Terragno Roshi.


Cristina Fuentes Antoniazzi is an actor, meditation teacher and communication consultant. She is PhD(c) in Drama, Performance and Dance, at The University of Huddersfield. The objective of her research project is to develop a Mindfulness-Based Performer Training (MBPT). Cristina studied acting at Universidad Diego Portales, with Psychology studies at the same university. She has a diploma in “Mindfulness in Relations”, by the Instituto Mindfulness Chile. She is a meditation teacher accredited by Shambhala International and also has a degree in Management from the School of Economics and Business, University of Chile. For more details on her work, please visit her webpage or instagram account @presenciautentica 

Daniel Reis Plá is Professor at Performing Arts Department at Universidade Federal de Santa Maria (BR). He finished his MA and PhD on Buddhist Meditation and Actor’s Training at UNICAMP and in 2015-2016 integrated the MaP project at University of Huddersfield (UK) as part of his post-doctoral research. He is member of the research group CRIA (UFMG), convener from the Working Group on Performative Practices, Perception Modes and Practices on Oneself at the Brazilian Post-Graduation and Research Association on Performing Arts (ABRACE) and coordinates the Tradere Research Group (UFSM). In addition, he is responsible for the Project Contemplative Practices and meditation in Higher Education, funded by CNPQ.

Entre vitalidade e esgotamento: treinamento contemplativo do artista da cena como caminho possível na pandemia?

Empatheatre: Sculpting empathy through public storytelling


Presenter: Dr. Dylan McGarry

Discussants:  Neil Coppen, Mpume Mthombeni, Dr. Kira Erwin & Taryn Pereira


Empatheatre is a methodology developed in South Africa that encourages this empathetic social sculpting that supports generative story-telling, but also contemplative public story-listening. In this panel discussion, the founders of Empatheatre, along with their collaborators reflect on the contemplative aspects of imagination, attentiveness and intuition, which are carefully sculpted in social processes. The team will share their journey over the past 7 years, across six projects, their innovative public/collaborative contemplative methods for constructing social spaces for equitable public dialogue and will unpack their work in creating amphitheatres for empathy, and how they embrace, rather than shy away from complex entanglements in society. Using insights from their long form public storytelling, that is used to complicate, disrupt and make messy discriminatory hegemonic narratives that radiate through a contemporary society, they aim in this session to explore the facets of Empatheatre's contemplative practices in relation to collaborative performative storytelling, and understand how this theatre-making methodology that has emerged from friendship and solidarity can contribute to a wider discussion around the decolonial and emancipatory responsibility contemplative performance has in our ever changing world. 


Dr. Dylan McGarry is an educational sociologist and artist from Durban, South Africa. He is a Senior researcher at the Environmental Learning Research Centre (ELRC) at the University currently known as Rhodes. As well as a co-director of the Global One Ocean Hub research network. Dylan is the co-founder of Empatheatre, and a passionate artist and story-teller. He explores practice-based research into connective aesthetics, transgressive social learning, decolonisation, queer-eco pedagogy, immersive empathy and socio-ecological development in South Africa. His artwork and social praxis (which is closely related to his research) is particularly focused on empathy, and he primarily works with imagination, listening and intuition as actual sculptural materials in social settings to offer new ways to encourage personal, relational and collective agency. 


Neil Coppen is one of South Africa’s most renowned storytellers, directors and producers, working across mediums and disciplines including those of theatre, film, dance and journalism. Coppen has won several major awards for his writing, design and direction work including Naledi, Fiesta and Kanna Awards, the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Drama 2011 and the 2019 Olive Schreiner Prize for Drama. He is one of the six South African playwright’s to have been granted a staged reading of his work at The Royal Court Theatre. Some of Neil's most acclaimed works include Tin Bucket Drum (Published by Wits University Press), Tree Boy, Abnormal Loads (published by Junkets), Izipopolo, and NewFoundLand (published by Junkets) and his all-female adaptation of George Orwell’s Animal Farm  which toured South Africa for over five-years. Seminal to Coppen’s work across a range of cultures and communities in South Africa, is a social-justice, theatre-making methodology titled Empatheatre which Coppen co-founded and created with actress Mpume Mthombeni and sociologist Dr Dylan McGarry.

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