enactive research: guiding principles and values

As part of my regular meetings with Willeke Rietdijk, Mary Rees and Enrico Fucci around ‘Enactive Research‘, we have just launched a website and will host a series of meetings (Sept ’23 to Jan ’24) that is open to participation: anyone interested in exploring the below principles as pillars of collaborative work – be it research or not – is welcome!

§ 1 ~ focus and grounding (relax conditioning, be receptive, stay oriented, don’t corrupt yourself) 

  • listening: we regularly check in with experience. we learn to remember to pay attention. we prioritise moving into the right direction above moving fast.
  • embodiment: we practice (embody) what we preach. we express our embodied experience.
  • experiment: we try on structures instead of blindly falling for or adhering to them (this can be a great challenge!)
  • criticality: we revisit our assumptions and underlying motivation. we use repetitive questioning – we support each other to look again.
  • small steps: we dream big and trust our vision, we challenge each other to try / play it out. we come up with concrete steps. where are we, what is needed now? where do we go from here? process ⇔ outcome.

§ 2 ~ emergent knowing (enaction, interdependence)

  • listening: we learn from each other’s ongoing sense-making activity. we connect to experience, particularly in difficult situations. we notice (take the time to intuit beyond) fear and judgment.
  • acceptance: we are kind to ourselves and others. we acknowledge that which supports us. we breathe with the courage to focus on resource and possibility.
  • meeting on an inner plane: we share from and make proposals based on our lived experience.
  • respect: we expect to be met as equals. we protect what is essential and help others do the same.
  • diversity: we play – we follow our curiosity. we trust our sensitivity and discover unexpected competence in self and other.

§ 3 ~ collaborative, co-creative leadership (response-ability)

  • personal leadership: we perform tasks and take on roles as people, alive in contexts.
  • co-facilitation: we carry responsibilities as pairs and teams. we make joint decisions. we face challenges together.
  • harvesting synergy and creative resource: we experiment and build the skills required to take a participatory approach. we connect to relevant / ongoing tasks and contexts. we engage in liberatory learning.
  • sharing: we test and evolve the tools and structures we need to collaborate. we invite others to participate. we share what we learn.

§ 4 ~ research as care for enactive dynamics across system levels:

  • personal and embodied: we realise that dreaming a better world is dreaming [as/of/towards] a more whole self (and team). we do research that is integral to who we are, that develops wisdom of/from the body. how can we listen more / differently? how can we expand our movement repertoire?
  • learning in relation / learning about relating: we do research in connection with others and their diverse realities. we work in real contexts.
  • implementation: we are pragmatic. we tap into and expand the possibilities that grow next to our path(s). we build sustainable research trajectories.
  • intervention and practice: we do research that makes things better (in itself, through its process – not only through hypothetical outcomes). active participation and routine/habitat-building are key.