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Thinking Spaces: The Living Room Context

Please join us for the next meeting of the Thinking Spaces Reading Group on April 5, 2013 at the public library at 100 Norfolk at our usual time, 3-5pm. NB: We are shifting spaces slightly, from the Board Room on the second floor where we normally meet to the larger Program Room next door. This is to accommodate a larger group of presents: Tanya Williams, Jean Robertson, Emma Dines, Alisa McClurg, and Adam Euerby. Together, they will present on their ongoing project, The Living Room Context.

"In its most fully realized forms, improvisation is the creation and development of new, unexpected, and productive co-creative relations among people. It teaches us to make “a way” out of “no way” by cultivating the capacity to discern hidden elements of possibility, potential, hope, and promise in even the most discouraging circumstances."
~ Daniel Fischlin, ICASP

If our survival and thrival as a species depends on a dynamic, co-intelligent awareness of complex systems and a capacity to co-create what we deeply need and want...

How do we train for this highly improvised life, while we are in the middle of this high-stakes performance? In ANY human improvisation, how do we create the conditions for the emergence of a culture of generalized non-naive trust?

In this workshop, members of the Living Room Context learning community (Kitchener-Waterloo & Guelph) will offer both a taste of the body-mind experience of such a culture of trust and enlivening flow, as well as a conceptual map that simultaneously names, nudges, and nurtures the cultural shift to a complex-systems-understanding of the world and the co-intelligence and response-ability that emerges from this. Everything that happens will be part of the landscape of learning to improvise together using this “new human operating system”.


The Living Room Context is both: 1) A conceptual framework for integrating a systems understanding of the world and embracing creative-tension for generating what we deeply want, and 2) A growing community of people seeking personal and social change who come together to collaboratively change our own minds, and the cultural mind we are part of. The community is spread over several geographical locations, and includes experiments in living together in this learning context 24/7.

Tanya Williams is a context artist, with a passion for dancing with systems. A facilitator, drawing on a broad spectrum of tools & processes: from physical theatre and movement improvisation to reveal our stories, to person-centred graphic facilitation using visual imagery to reveal our dreams and new possibilities. A founding member of the Living Room Context learning community, Friends of the Floor Dance-Theatre, Fall On Your Feet Dance Lab, and the Facile: Network for Independent Facilitation in Waterloo Region, she collaborates to create cultural contexts that generate a flow of co-intelligent learning, appetite for feedback, and capacity for joyful improvisation in the face of the unknown.

Jean Robertson
Current evolving identity: freelance person & context artist, busking for world change.
Current projects: the Upstart Collaboratory for Collaborative Culture Designing; the Living Room Context framework and community; 9 years just ended of a 24/7 research and development project of the Upstart Collaboratory in how to live with others into a new non-judgmental non-entitlement human operating system, based in humans as creative learners, needing and creating trust-of-self-in-the-universe, and acting from a systems and interdependence based awareness. Latest project: the Meta-University.

Emma Dines has been living in groups and communities for the past 10 years, including Findhorn Foundation Ecovillage in Scotland, and Auroville Ecovillage in India. The last 4 years of her life have been devoted to interpersonal and group research in the "Household as Ecology" project. Emma is a skilled group facilitator, a passionate thinker and an irregular poet. She teaches embodied awareness (also known as yoga) to pay the bills and delights in the constant learning that accompanies "teaching". She tends four chickens, nurtures flower and vegetable gardens and consciously cultivates the various relationships in her life.

Alisa McClurg is a committed environmental planner and passionate community activist, her wide-ranging interests include collaborative planning, planning for the commons, sustainable food systems, aggregate management, and global climate change. Aware of, but not deterred by the challenges of bringing about real change, she is constantly seeking and applying new ideas and perspectives gained from her various pursuits. Of late, she has been engaged in a speaking circuit, sharing what she has learned so far on her own personal journey with various spiritually-based audiences in southern Ontario. A delighted new mom, she is also fascinated by how the lessons we learn through daily living can scale up to the larger issues we face. When she is not challenging herself professionally, she enjoys fiddling in her community garden, cooking from scratch, walking in nature in the woods near her home, and the treasured company of friends. You can learn more about her by going to

Adam Euerby has recently graduated with a Masters in Systems Design Engineering, where he studied technology design to support communities of practice. For the past 4 years, he has been participating in a live-in research project, “Household as Ecology,” investigating learning from a systems and interdependence based awareness. Adam works as a Product Designer at Desire2Learn in Kitchener developing an eportfolio system to support authentic, experiential, evidence-based learning. Adam has also practiced and performed contact improvisation dance for more than six years and is currently on the Programming Committee for the 13th Annual Ontario Regional Contact Jam.

As always, please spread the word to your peers, students, fellow artists and friends.

The Thinking Spaces series will conclude for the 2012/13 academic year with a presentation on April 12 by Matt Brubeck.

If people talked the way they drummed in improvisation, then I think the world would be a lot nicer…

– Youth participant, ICASP improvisation workshop