Currently, I am working on a research about “The Body of the Artist” for research centre What Art Knows. This research explores how bodies are acting in and are enacted by art educational programs. It investigates which bodies have access to art education, how skillful bodies are trained through different techniques, what forms of embodied knowledge are produced, how these forms of knowledge can be articulated and how they could travel to other fields, and what kind of care bodies that do (invisible) artistic work need.
My aim for this research is to create reflection and exchange for and between art teachers about embodied knowledge: what kind of embodied knowledge and skills do they teach (and what does this say about the embodied skills artists require) and what kind of embodied knowledge and skills do they need to do this?
By articulating different embodied skills, such as intuition, presence, attentiveness, receptivity, impulsiveness etc, I experiment with retaining art in terms of these categories of artistic skill, rather than disciplinary categories such as performance, fine arts, visual communication etc.
On June 13th 2022, I defended my PhD Dissertation, entitled "Feeling Techniques - making methods to articulate bodily practices".
In this dissertation - deriving from a triple background in arts, anthropology and movement practices - I research what I call “feeling techniques”; ways of using the body that both enhance and rely on specific sensitivities. I am interested in what kind of knowledge is produced and transmitted in practices that draw on sensitivity; a kind of so called “implicit” or “tacit” knowledge that is often considered part of the realm of the non-representational. By articulating these techniques and the knowledge they produce I work on blurring binaries such as feeling/thinking, sensitivity/knowledge, emotional/rational and intuition/technique. Building on research in anthropology, science and technology studies and artistic research this project aims at emancipating sensitivity as a practice that can exist in its own right and can inform other ways of knowing such as social science and artistic practices. I conducted this PhD research at the University of Amsterdam (Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research) and at the centre for art, autonomy and the public sphere.
Feeling does not just naturally occur to all humans, but it is rather something that people actively practice in different ways. I demonstrate this by unravelling exemplary practices of diverse feeling experts, such as teachers of yoga and Pilates, and physio- and haptotherapists. Each of these experts appears to employ their own set of feeling techniques – such as wording, touching, and movement techniques – that help to bring into being diverse feelings, feelers and bodies. Carefully attending to these techniques shifts feeling from an internal, solitary experience into an observable, sharable practice. But how to attend, observe and share feeling? The research methodologies that I use to detail this, and to do this, are methodologies in the making: rather than following a pre-set list of rules, I tentatively adapt my research techniques to the specificities of the practices that I study. This means that I do not take words and drawings for granted, but that I attune them to what happens in my field. My words and drawings are performative techniques, informed by, and therefore substantively informative of, the practices they help to articulate. Crafting adaptable, fine-tuned research tools asks from the researcher that she performs herself as a sensitive research instrument. Turning research into a sensitive practice made it possible to not just learn about but also from the feeling practices I studied. This way of working helped me to reach, and exemplified, my main research goal: breaking through the dualisms that oppose feeling and thinking.
Here, you can access (part of) the dissertation (for the full version: email@example.com).
Here, you can find an interview with me about my dissertation.
As a professional teacher in movement practices, Ulrike also develops education and training programs for school and universities. Learning about and from different body practices that derive from therapeutic as well as artistic methods, participants learn how different sensitivities can foster their own research or artistic practices. See more under education.