Milwaukee Through Embodied Research: A Film about Interaction and Social Justice

Zoe Glise, Ashley Garcia, Jessica Lueck, and Madison Westreich, “Milwaukee Through Embodied Research: A Film about Interaction and Social Justice”
Mentor: Simone Ferro, Dance
Oral Presentation Block 2

As movement practitioners, research often looks different than other fields. Rather than solely using our minds, we utilize, absorb, and process information through our entire bodies with hands-on experiences and applying methods through physical exploration. Our research involved interacting closely with the community by engaging in tasks often qualified as non-dance related. To deeply understand a community, one must learn about the community’s needs while developing a close, long-lasting relationship, based on trust, respect, and humanity. As part of our research documentation, we traveled to homes in Sherman Park, recorded dance impressions of their homes, and edited them for the homeowner and our research group to reflect upon and see their safe space in a separate way from what is shown in the news. When creating these dances (often referred to as interpretative dance), we embodied locations through instant movement development. This served as a resource for future interactions and teaching practices with PEAK Initiative’s Youth Leadership program while creating a safe space for the youth to express themselves through their own history and background. By interacting with the local pay-what-you-can Tricklebee Café, we can assist in keeping the community alive; it is a way to interact more closely with people in the Sherman Park community. Engaging with community members helps us understand and work towards changing the stigmas around those who live in the Sherman Park community. The significance of these activities allows us to learn, in an embodied experience, the lives of those in the Sherman Park community, and create archival pathways for those who follow with this research. In this symposium, we will be creating a documentary film displaying what embodied research really means in the practical sense and the relevance of this type of research in the local and regional community.