“How does body create mind? How do I speak to my consciousness?” A conversation between dance artist and educator Gill Clarke and experimental psychologist / Buddhist practitioner Guy Claxton, exploring the role of unconscious, body-based and intuitive intelligence, and describing the manifestation of this intelligence as the ‘welling-up’ of an organic process. They question the Cartesian dualist perspective: “We think our thoughts are born IN consciousness rather than born INTO consciousness, because the process of upwelling is often so fast and automatic that we don’t notice.”
Hare Brain, Tortoise Mind: Why Intelligence Increases when you think less (book cited in the talk)
This talk was part of Crossing Borders 2011, presented in partnership with London Contemporary Dance School and the PAL Movement and Meaning series, with further support from the Jerwood Foundation, Esme Fairbairn Foundation and Arts Council England.
Guy Claxton is a cognitive Scientist by training and writer of over 30 books on psychology and education.
With a ‘double first’ in Natural Sciences from Cambridge and a DPhil in Experimental Psychology from Oxford, he is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society, the Academy of Social Sciences, and the Royal Society of Arts, and has also published lots of papers in both technical and popular journals. His research to date reflects his fascination with learning and how people can get better at it. Whether that be learning in a conventional classroom or seminar, on the sports field, in the therapists consulting room, or on a cushion in a mediation hall, he is interested in what goes on, and the potential for learning that is effective and long-lasting.
Gill Clarke studied English and Education at York University and spent her career as an independent dance artist, performer, teacher, choreographer/director and advocate. She was co-director of Independent Dance from 1996-2011.
Gill was a founding member of Siobhan Davies Dance Company and also performed and collaborated with other choreographers including Rosemary Butcher, Rosemary Lee, Janet Smith, Kate Brown and Marina Collard. Gill regarded teaching as an integral part of her artistic practice. She regularly led masterclasses and workshops internationally for students, professionals and companies, and collaborated with filmmaker Becky Edmunds on a multi-screen installation – Stones and Bones. Head of Performance Studies at LABAN from 2000-2006, she founded MA Creative Practice : Dance Professional which ID continues to lead in partnership with Trinity Laban and Siobhan Davies Studios. Gill was an Honorary Visiting Professor at University of Ulster, a joint NESTA fellow and a Trustee of Dance UK. She received a London Dance and Performance Award, the Jane Attenborough Award from One Dance UK and an MBE, which she returned in protest of the UK government’s foreign policy in Iraq.
Guy Claxton’s bio adapted from his website in 2022.