with Lori Clarke, Dr. Mario Blaser, & Dr. Kristin Harris Walsh

The Rocket Room, 272 Water Street
Monday March 16th, 6-7:30pm. Free and open to all.

Session VI of Improvising spaces features an interdisciplinary dialogue between researcher and sound artist Lori Clarke, Canada Research Chair in Aboriginal Studies Dr. Mario Blaser, and dance scholar Dr. Kristin Harris Walsh. This session will contemplate the connections between improvisation, health, and the art of living well. The session will begin with a solo improvisation by Lori Clarke on cello and environmental sound recordings. Following the performance, we will discuss its qualities and explore various perspectives on the ways improvisation can help us live well. A focus on improvisation in step dance traditions and contemporary dance will also be feature of the discussion.

For more on Dr. Blaser's work, see below or:

For more on Dr. Harris Walsh's work, see

Lori Clarke's music and sound design for stage and film include acoustic and digital instrumentation, referring to multiple aesthetics and forms from musique concrete to jazz to electronica. Her work for the stage is informed by her experience as an improvising interdisciplinary artist. Her work has received various awards and nominations, including the NFB Colin Lowe Award for Best Documentary film at the Vancouver DOXA Film and Video festival. Lori's other backgrounds in somatic psychology and contemplative spiritual care make her a sought-after collaborator for movement-based work. Lori has been creating work for stage, screen and installation- all strongly rooted in listening and sound- for more than 25 years.

Lori's spiritual care work is a contemplative focusing and grounding in body-centred, integral practices. Her approach is particularly helpful in grief and bereavement, with those healing from traumatic events and suffering from loss. Lori's practice is grounded in deep listening, energy medicine, narrative and somatic therapies. "Our bodies hold stories and experiences as, postures, patterns of movement, energetic imprints and tissue states. Listening to these stories can inspire personal, collective and global change." Lori holds an MA Somatics from the California Institute of Integral Studies (1995) and is currently an ID PhD Candidate at Memorial University.

Dr. Mario Blaser is an Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in Aboriginal Studies at Memorial University. His current research interests can be summarized with the title of his graduate course: When Worlds Meet. What he is trying to work through is the idea that 'moderns' have a very particular way of producing the world they live in, one that is profoundly marked by the nature/culture divide. This is a very basic, ontological, assumption about how reality is constituted that expresses itself in a variety of ways: from the way in which we conceive what constitutes accurate knowledge to the way in which we conceive politics. The lens through which he looks at this problematic is the relations between modern institutions (from science to government) and the world that emerge from Aboriginal peoples’ experiences and practices. The guiding insight here is that in many Aboriginal peoples’ experiences and practices we can see the examples of the World Social Forum Slogan "Another World is Possible". In this sense, working with and learning from Aboriginal traditions opens up an avenue to address in unsuspected ways the challenges that we are facing nowadays from social turmoil to the environmental crises. At the same time, he is very concerned with not being misinterpreted as a 'romantic' that offers an idealized example of Aboriginal peoples as the panacea to all the problems. Rather the point is to rescue from imposed invisibility the idea that there are other ways of existing that are viable while at the same time showing how those ways of existing struggle hard in the face of an encroaching modernity that cannot tolerate anything that differs from itself. Some of the topics through which I address this general problematic include: The practices and politics of caring for non-humans; Notions of a good life, from development to "Buen Vivir" (Living well); Natural resources vs. sentient landscapes; Regional focus: Labrador and Latin America.

Dr. Kristin Harris Walsh holds a PhD in Folklore from Memorial University of Newfoundland as well as an M.A. in Dance and a B.A. (Hons) in Fine Arts Studies, both from York University. Kristin is a dance scholar and dancer whose academic and creative work focuses on percussive dance, in particular, Newfoundland step dance and Irish sean-nós step dance. She currently holds an Insight Development Grant from SSHRC to facilitate this work. Kristin is President of the Canadian Society for Dance Studies and is the Past President of DanceNL, the province’s sectoral dance association. She is currently holds a research position with the Faculty of Medicine and is an Adjunct Professor in the School of Music, both at Memorial University of Newfoundland.


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