Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Ethics and integrity in dance and research

Step by step, task after task. I am slowly getting on with my draft proposal for my inquiry. 

Those last weeks, I tried to be very systematic in my approach and proceeding and I lost the relation to my body.

In my blog post 'thoughts around truth, certainty and knowledge' I wrote that very often, I find it difficult to formulate thoughts in my mind in order to communicate them. "The bodily knowledge I possess is easier to share through its own language, through movement. It does resonate in my mind, but without words." Wishing to get on with my proposal, it seems like I have forgotten about this for a short moment. 

This weekend, I participated in a ten-hour workshop about the choreographic composition of a solo. I was in a particular state. As if my mind was exhausted from the work I do for module two, I accessed the language of movement, first. I have let my body find a way to talk without worrying about words. In the end, I was able to put words on what I have created. The bodily experience nourished my mind and they slowly began to work together, again. Despite everything, I was frustrated. Frustrated because I didn't get on with my tasks from module two. However, even though I haven't finished the task about ethical considerations, yet, I have learnt something quite important through this experience. Don't forget your first language. I learn as much through experience as I do from reading and writing, even, or especially when studying for this programme. The literature and theory are there "to stimulate (my) thinking about (my) own Professional Practice deeply or differently" (Adesola, A, 2017 "Ideas, theory and theoretical frameworks."). Theory can guide me but I shouldn't get lost in it and forget about my professional practice. So, what did I learn about ethics this weekend?

Considering the ethics, I was able to interlink my experience from this very workshop with my project. In fact, during a debriefing session, participants said that they were nervous and scared to present their work. However, everyone noted that there was a spirit of benevolence in the group that was very supportive. Actually, when you present a solo, you have made choices that you have to fulfil and defend. There is no right or wrong, so you have to stand for your ideas and choices. Presenting this choice can be scary because some might question or criticise your choices. This is where the ethical framework becomes important. How do we respond to someone who is communicating with us through their body and what are the consequences of our reactions? In this group, no one questioned or judged the choreographers. Criticism was constructive and reflective words were chosen with great care. Everyone participated in the discussion. This puts the choreographer into a position where he knows that he can present his work with full commitment which leaves no time or room for fear. 
When it comes to dance education, those ethical configurations still apply. If I carry out a research project where I observe and reflect on experiences, where I want to analyse the benefits of 'students ownership of the learning', I need to have a similar ethical approach. If I promote student ownership, I encourage my students to make choices, to fulfil and defend them. I want them to be committed in the process and I want them to feel safe in order to do so. 
When it comes to interpreting data collected, the same ethical considerations apply. I will analyse my own and my student's experiences with great care and free of judgement. The word choice becomes very important when it comes to the interpretation of stories. I have to be fully committed and at the same time, I have to be aware. Aware of the difference and the consequences of my choices and language. I also have to be respectful. Respectful towards my students, the people I interview, the people whose stories I listen to. Respectful to the people's privacy, confidentiality and integrity. 

Furthermore, we had a very interesting discussion about the fact that when you present your choreography, you tend to show your movements. You want to show your intentions so much that you are not deep 'in it' anymore. You should rather just be and do. When it comes to my project, this is something I want to keep in mind, especially considering my ethical framework. I don't want to show my intentions (my findings) in terms of proving or justifying something. I want to make connections between ideas, experiences and theory, talk about them, discuss them, reflect on them, ... I want to be 'in it' and not look down on it from the outside. This will allow me act according to my own ethical guidelines.  


  1. I really enjoyed reading this, thank you! I too, have been thinking a lot about my research topic and the ethical considerations I need to be aware of. I will write about my views on my blog in the next couple of days. Sam

  2. I agree Maiete, ethical consideration in our daily life or in work place always surrounded by our open mind and willingness to listen to other people, desire to search for solutions and not dwell in problems,ability to look for a positivie outcome or opportunity in every situation, a desire to help others whenever we can, trying something different, being truthful and always striving to do our best in any given situation.

  3. Thanks for sharing, this was really interesting. I really liked the last paragraph where you are absolutely right, we 'show' our choreography and movements as we want others to understand our intentions. Yet I agree that making connections through our project is vital for learning, developing and investing into research and our own knowledge and understanding as opposed to just showing what we have found out. This is a great way of putting the project into perspective! Thanks. Becky