At the end of November the Master’s Programme in Dance Pedagogy at the Uniarts in Helsinki hosted the PIMDI partners from Iceland, Norway and the Netherlands. A group of thirty students and 11 teachers worked together for the entire week, through November 25-29. The intensive week was the first meeting in for all participants in person and brought together people from the four art pedagogy master programs from Hanze University of Applied Sciences (Groningen, the Netherlands), Iceland Academy of the Arts (Reykjavik), University of Adger (Kristiansand, Norway) and Uniarts Helsinki.
At the heart of the intensive week was encountering vulnerability, difference, and otherness. As the project leader, Gudrun Beckman, explained: “Often, when meeting new people, we try immediately to figure out common ground. Here, the focus is on trying to suspend this urge and to stay a bit longer in not-knowing, in the field of difference. In this, the notion of dialogue is central. How can I stay true to myself and respect you being different from me? Valuing our differences is the way to find the common ground between us.”
The process began by reflecting our own experiences on vulnerability and contexts of care. Then the students worked in small, mixed groups, and started to create a “present/ation” to share, or present, at a senior center. The aim was also to be present for the other – in this case, senior citizens – in a respectful, sensitive, caring and dialogical manner. Pauliina Laukkanen and Elli Isokoski, through their 20 years of experience as the Tempest Group (Myrskyryhmä) supported the students throughout the week in these fragile encounters with each other and the senior citizens.
One of the intellectual outputs of PIMDI focuses on developing artistic, embodied methods of reflection and documentation. In this, choreographer, activist Riikka Theresa Innanen’s support was of key importance as she shared her extensive experience on video documentation with the participants. The aim in this is to simultaneously illuminate the work from several viewpoints, creating a ‘parallax’ instead of a single perspective. Through this kind of documentation, the participants’ reflective process can be enriched as they can witness the process from multiple viewpoints.