Intercultural Roots & Embodied Creative Practices: how the micro and macro walk in a resonant continuum.

31 January, 2021 by Andrea Maciel Garcia | 0 comments

Intercultural Roots & Embodied Creative Practices: how the micro and macro walk in a resonant continuum.

Intercultural Roots is proposing a discussion on how macro and micro artistic organisations can converse and create resonant continuum in face of the new challenges of the current pandemic.

Intercultural Roots (IR) is a novel organisation that, although a separate entity to IFTR and the ERWG, has been born through the Institutional Frameworks work-stream.  This joint proposal is from Drs. Alex Boyd and Andrea Maciel, Co-Directors for Intercultural Roots. 


IR supports practitioners from very diverse backgrounds, connecting them through disseminating and applying embodied research and includes members of ERWG and Cross Pollination. Covid-19 adaptations of IR’s ‘Health & WELLth’ programme in March 2020 created an online program ‘Get Active Online’ (GAO) that brings together artists, scholars and teachers to create collaboratively, developing and sharing arts for health and social change practices. GAO has helped develop projects and courses supporting the exchange of somatic and artistic practices, within an ethos of companionship.


As a point of departure, the ‘Health & WELLth’ programme rapidly adapted from in-person classes and festival to sustaining connections with practitioner communities online invoking reflection and dialogue through questions including ‘What matters to you?’ and ‘What moves you?’. IR’s motivations enable dialogue between arts for health and arts for social change while providing a creative hub for artistic development and, in the words of practitioners, provided  a “home”, a “performative healing space” and “a non-judgemental place to cultivate our inner voice and be in tune with inner values”. It also demonstrates the benefits of horizontal, non-hierarchical or ‘hollow’ organisational structures that allow for community engagement and partnership based on ethical principles of equality, integrity and mutual benefit allowing for new intercultural realisations.


Throughout a series of creative labs, classes, performances sharing, symposiums and events, IR gathers practitioners to share processes of making art in light of new challenges and restrictions imposed by the pandemic, with a focus on the ways in which art forms can speak to social change through practices of radical care.


Throughout 2020/21 interesting artistic outcomes and externally evaluated feedback was collated, revealing how such creative practices may generate responses to contemporary personal and political problems such as isolation and segregation, offering counter balance to the pandemic wave of depression to which an individualist and competitive capitalist culture contributes. 


Feedback describes IR as a “non-empty space”, “a space that allows things to happen” where practitioners can exercise authorship and co-authorship in a ‘hollow’ and ‘gifting’ dynamic of “becoming together”. IR promotes a collective body, manifesting a co-operative consciousness that is non-neutral, where the collective ascertains its core ethical principles while supporting the agency of the empowered individual within the political environment in an organically consultative way. From one perspective IR’s Practitioner Labs and Creative Labs contribute to create a non-linear microcosm in which horizontal principles of becoming together are bringing new values to our existence, and, from another perspective, mirrors the dynamic of the macro that is currently facing an important stage of geo-political expansion and growth. 


The ERWG meetings at IFTR 2021 provide an opportunity to share and reflect with peers on IR’s present and future contributions to ERWG’s ‘Institutional Framework’ workstream and to consider how the micro of the embodied research lab can walk in resonance with the macro of positive societal change.



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