Ocean Poetics: Embodied Ways of Inquiry within a Pedagogy of Place

Embodied ways of inquiry explore the connections between bodily ways of being and knowing in connection to the natural world.  I integrate autobiographical inquiry and arts-based research methods to create site-specific dance performance, poetry, and essays in the thresholds between land and sea. The body has a knowledge and wisdom all to itself, which is felt in the lived experience of fingers and toes, shoulders and hips, through the heart of veins and on the breath of limbs.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Celeste Snowber

What's Proposed

Ocean Poetics explores the relationship between a physical and spiritual practice of walking and dancing within borders between sea and land and how the arts can emerge as both a form of expression, process, and creation.  Questions which arise are how can the body, and in particular through movement and voice become the place where the invisible and visible meet. How can embodied ways of being and knowing become a site to articulate visceral knowledge and wisdom?  How does writing from the body explore the connection between breath and bone, and listen through sound gesture, belly and skin?  How does these embodied practices allow for a visceral writing, which honors the beauty and paradox of embodiment?

How This Project is Carried Out

Through a dedicated practice of integrating walking, dancing and writing over years, I connect a variety of arts-based research methods which honor embodied and poetic forms to create.  The practice of walking and dancing within creation are inextricably linked to writing and performance.  Out of this project in the last decade has emerged a variety of site-specific performances of poetry and dance including, the Port Moody Shoreline Park, Montague Marine Park on Galiano Island.  In turn, this has created the inspiration for two collection of poetry, and dozens of articles and chapters connecting embodied ways of inquiry.   

Why This Project Matters

The integration of ways of knowing and learning which connect mind, heart, imagination, cognition and the body are of utmost importance.  This work addresses the question of how an embodied and expressive relationship to the natural world has the capacity to shift an understanding to ourselves and the earth.  The relationship between artistic practice and embodied spiritual practice are inextricably linked.  Both call one to deeply listen, release and ask to come to a contemplative practice – daily, weekly, regularly as a place for the sacred to take shape and reenergize how one lives in the world.  The embodied practice allows for the methodology of writing from the body to inform arts-based inquiries.

How This Project is Put into Action

This project has been put into action by dedicating decades to a daily embodied practices, where site-specific performance, poetry and dance has emerged and shared in a variety of public settings.  Numerous articles, chapters and books have been informed by this work.   Please see below.

Where to Learn More

Snowber, C. (2014) “Dancing on the breath of limbs: Embodied inquiry as a place of opening” in Dance, Somatics and Spiritualities: Contemporary Sacred Narratives Leading voices in the field. Amanda Williamson, (Ed.) Bristol, UK: Intellect.

Snowber, C. & Bickel, B. “Companions with Mystery: Art, Spirit and the Ecstatic”in  Walsh, S., Bickel, B., & Leggo, C. (Eds.).  (in press). Arts-based and contemplative practices in research and teaching:  Honoring presence.New York:  Routledge.

Ricketts, K.& Snowber, C.  (2013) Autobiographical Footsteps: Tracing our stories within and through body, space and time…in UNESCO Observatory Multi-        Disciplinary Journal in the Arts. (Special Issue:  A/r/tography and the Literary and      the Performing Arts.  Vol. 2, Issue 13.  http://education.unimelb.edu.au/about_us/specialist_areas/arts_education/melbourne_unesco_observatory_of_arts_education/the_e-journal/volume_3_issue_2                                              

Snowber, C. (2013) “Visceral Creativity: Organic Creativity in Teaching Arts/Dance Education” in  J. Piirto, Ed.  Organic Creativity in the Classroom: Teaching to Intuition in Academics and the Arts.  Waco, TX: Prufrock Press.

Snowber, C. (2012).  “Seaflesh” in A. Sinner and C. Lowther, Eds.Living Artfully: Reflections from the Far West Coast.  Toronto: Key Publishing House.

VIDEO of Tidal Poems and Dances Performance on Galiano Island