enactive research: guiding principles and values

in my ongoing collaboration with Willeke Rietdijk, Mary Rees and Enrico Fucci, we are about to launch a website and research group under the theme of ‘enactive research’.

below I present the current version of the guiding principles and values that we have formulated for this approach:

§ 1 ~ focus and grounding (not being corrupted) 

  • listening: we regularly check in with experience. we learn to remember to pay attention. we prioritise moving into the right direction – rather than 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, with time and greater depth.
  • small steps: we dream big and trust our vision, we challenge each other to try it out for real. we come up with concrete steps. where are we now? what is needed to move forward from here? process ⇔ outcome.

§ 2 ~ fundamental mutual constitution (enaction, interdependence)

  • listening: we learn from each other’s ongoing sense-making activity.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • collaboration: we perform tasks and take on roles as people, alive in contexts. we carry responsibilities as pairs and teams. we make joint decisions. we face the future together.

§ 3 ~ collaborative leadership (response-ability)

  • listening: we connect to experience, particularly in difficult situations. we notice (look beyond) fears and judgments that stand in the way.
  • noticing: we discover what we need and value.
  • meeting on an inner plane: we share from and make proposals based on our lived experience.
  • harvesting creative resource: we experiment and build the skills required to take a participatory approach. 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 ~ enactive research is ..

  • .. 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.
  • .. 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.