Katherine Mast is a science writer based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She freelances as a writer and fact-checker, and edits books for the Santa Fe Institute Press.
She will lead the InterPlay-based components of the workshop. InterPlay uses a variety of body-based, performative tools to help participants find ease, build community, and express information their conscious, critical minds might otherwise suppress. We’ll practice on-the-fly storytelling, movement, and sound to find a surprising flow of ideas and insights, generate ideas, and engage our powers of observation.
Allison Mills is the Associate Director of Research News at Michigan Technological University. She has studied dance most of her life and has been a modern, ballet, and fusion dance instructor for 14 years.
Dancers are graceful not because they defy gravity, but because they embrace it. A simple contact improv lesson starts with a body scan, followed by a breath-guided trust exercise with partners guiding each other through the space. Even small movement helps ground people in their bodies. Writers tend to spend a lot of time in their heads–and to better attune to another’s physical and nonverbal reactions, they first have to register their own. The beauty of contact improv is that it is an art of give and take: Knowing when to listen, when to push forward, when to halt, when to let go–and being willing to play and be flexible–can greatly inform interviewing, writing, and editing processes.
Phil Weaver-Stoesz is a freelance theatre creator, educator, and facilitator. He is also the founder of the applied theatre company Creative Catalyst.
The Critical Response Process, created by choreographer and educator Liz Lerman, is a four-step process that helps artists collaborate on a deep and non-judgmental level. The process leads participants through broad observations of meaning in a piece of art, asks the artists to talk about their work, invites collaborators to ask neutral questions, and finally provides space for participants to share their own observations and suggestions. The Critical Response Process offers tools that could help science writers identify their own subconscious judgments and practice asking broader, and potentially more revealing, questions.