GSS cIRcle Open Scholar Award (UBCV Non-Thesis Graduate Work)

Writing Empathetically Through Free Association and Sense Memory 2012

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QUICK TIPS (--THIS SECTION DOES NOT PRINT--)  This PowerPoint template requires basic PowerPoint (version 2007 or newer) skills. Below is a list of commonly asked questions specific to this template. If you are using an older version of PowerPoint some template features may not work properly.  Using the template  Verifying the quality of your graphics Go to the VIEW menu and click on ZOOM to set your preferred magnification. This template is at 100% the size of the final poster. All text and graphics will be printed at 100% their size. To see what your poster will look like when printed, set the zoom to 100% and evaluate the quality of all your graphics before you submit your poster for printing.  Using the placeholders To add text to this template click inside a placeholder and type in or paste your text. To move a placeholder, click on it once (to select it), place your cursor on its frame and your cursor will change to this symbol:         Then, click once and drag it to its new location where you can resize it as needed. Additional placeholders can be found on the left side of this template.  Modifying the layout This template has four different column layouts. Right-click your mouse on the background and click on “Layout” to see the layout options. The columns in the provided layouts are fixed and cannot be moved but advanced users can modify any layout by going to VIEW and then SLIDE MASTER.  Importing text and graphics from external sources TEXT: Paste or type your text into a pre-existing placeholder or drag in a new placeholder from the left side of the template. Move it anywhere as needed. PHOTOS: Drag in a picture placeholder, size it first, click in it and insert a photo from the menu. TABLES: You can copy and paste a table from an external document onto this poster template. To adjust  the way the text fits within the cells of a table that has been pasted, right-click on the table, click FORMAT SHAPE  then click on TEXT BOX and change the INTERNAL MARGIN values to 0.25  Modifying the color scheme To change the color scheme of this template go to the “Design” menu and click on “Colors”. You can choose from the provide color combinations or you can create your own.        QUICK DESIGN GUIDE (--THIS SECTION DOES NOT PRINT--)  This PowerPoint 2007 template produces a 36”x48” professional  poster. It will save you valuable time placing titles, subtitles, text, and graphics.  Use it to create your presentation. Then send it to for premium quality, same day affordable printing.  We provide a series of online tutorials that will guide you through the poster design process and answer your poster production questions.  View our online tutorials at: (copy and paste the link into your web browser).  For assistance and to order your printed poster call at 1.866.649.3004   Object Placeholders  Use the placeholders provided below to add new elements to your poster: Drag a placeholder onto the poster area, size it, and click it to edit.  Section Header placeholder Move this preformatted section header placeholder to the poster area to add another section header. Use section headers to separate topics or concepts within your presentation.    Text placeholder Move this preformatted text placeholder to the poster to add a new body of text.     Picture placeholder Move this graphic placeholder onto your poster, size it first, and then click it to add a picture to the poster.            RESEARCH POSTER PRESENTATION DESIGN © 2012 © 2012     2117 Fourth Street , Unit C     Berkeley CA 94710 Student discounts are available on our Facebook page. Go to and click on the FB icon. I am a playwright/actor/teacher and arts based researcher. This is an in- process reflection of work I have been doing with my creative writing, acting and  my teaching of drama and dramatic writing. I have been exploring a few concepts that have been part of my practical understanding as a professional theatre artist for many years. When I work in my tradition of text based theatre, I am in effect in silent conversation with the legacy of artists who have come before me. My new play is based upon the creative dynamics on John Huston`s biographical film Freud (1962).  The writing process, and my background reading on psychoanalysis and its start as the talking cure, has led me to make certain connections in my artistic and teaching practice.  Empathy I see that my practice of the art of the theatre, inclusive of drama in educational settings, engages personal empathy.  The  work as outlined here demonstrates the background means of that engagement Freudian based Free Association Free Association may still be considered somewhat controversial. The participant speaks aloud freely whatever words and images come to mind. Stanislavski’s concept of Sense Memory and the actor`s Inner Monologue Sense Memory is an actor’s technique for making more physically real the psychological truth of the character`s experience by using the actors own sensual memories of experiences. To explore character and the given circumstances of the play, the actor may improvise a steady stream speak aloud of the inner monologue life of the character. Words into Dramatic Monologues These techniques are used as interpretative tools. Given that they are word based,  I have applied them as creative approaches for writing dramatic monologues or stories, including work with in-service teachers. Authentic Witness As a supportive alternative to the writer working strictly alone in the early writing, I adapted the concept of the authentic witness, which I discuss in a later section.  PROLOGUE  AND CONTEXT FREE ASSOCIATION AND SENSE MEMORY  • The authentic witness is a concept adapted from contact improvisational dance and dance therapy for dramatic writing • People have an inherent need to be recognized, to be seen • Authentic means to be present as a witness for the writer   Authentic Witness  • The writer will take the notes and choose to create an order  • The free association is then further guided by the writer  • The order may be in the form of the inner thoughts of a character  • The character is informed  by the sense memory  the writer is choosing to focus on  Options for the Writer • The Inner Monologue may become a story from the character • Shared directly with the audience, as performance • The writer may also choose to turn the work into a story • The writing begins with the sense memory as expressed with words that arise from the lived experience of the writer’s body.             Inner Monologue  Excerpt of Empathetic Monologue The following excerpt is from an in-service teacher who was a student in my drama education class. It is used with permission of the author.  R.B.: “Well, what is it this time. Just leave me alone!  What do you want from me? I didn’t do anything! Here it comes. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah...Are you done yet? Can I go now? See ya later! Wouldn’t want to be ya! I feel like I do the wrong thing all the time. Do you guys even trust me? For once I would like it if they told me I did a great job at something like helping out a friend in class. I wonder if they even notice these things. I am trying my best. Just give me a chance to prove myself. Sometimes, I can’t help myself from doing these things. I do feel bad afterwards. I am trying. It’s just so hard sometimes. I try to fit in with my friends but they just don’t seem to understand me…No one seems to understand me except for my mom. I miss my mom. I wish she was here with me. I feel so alone sometimes….”     QUESTIONS for APPLICATION/DISCUSSION • What drama strategies might be used to prepare and extend to use this work? Mirror Games including Boal’s, Word Tennis, Sensory Walk, Soundscape, Hotseating in varied forms • What new understanding might be found for teachers of their student’s learning by consciously engaging empathy through dramatic writing? • How might the tools  of drama and theatre acting craft be applied to the process of creative writing?  • How would this work be adapted for direct use  by students in the K to 12 setting?   ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This work is adapted from  concepts  related to Sigmund Freud, Constantine Stanislavski (1936),  Judith Koltai,(1993), the Roots of Empathy research (nd), Augusto Boal, (2001),  and  my own practice. Images used are in the public domain, accessed through UBC wiki. For a full list of references and acknowledgements, please  contact me at Thanks to colleagues and professors within  UBC Faculty of Education, including Carl Leggo, George Belliveau, Lynn Fells and Rita Irwin,  and theatre department professor, Stephen Heatley.  Special thank-you as well to teachers and students  I have worked with, most recently the LLED Drama in Education class 2012..  If you have comments for this work, please contact me as above.  • Much of our experience of the world is through our body and the five senses • Self-guided free association helps the writer to focus on the visceral nature of experiences • For example, one specific memory of a scent may help make more vivid the flow of phrases and images • When the flow starts to slow or runs dry or begins to repeat, we bring ourselves back to talking from our physical position in the present moment. • Ask how is my body physically feeling; what words might I use to describe what my senses are telling me; and then begin the association again   •  Various research shows a greater personal empathy leads to more effective learning. • In theatre and drama one is asked to experience new people and new ideas through the “magic if” • As in  role play, WHAT IF I am a new mother; a young student struggling to read; or, someone faced with a dilemma that  is outside my range of personal experience—how would I respond? • Teachers may use Sense Memory Association as a way of seeing their teaching from a particular student’s point-of view. • Writing an inner monologue from the point-of-view of a student whose trajectory the teacher has altered in some way.  •         •  The writer sits in a comfortably alert and neutral position • The writer meditates on her breathing, repeating in a quiet voice, “Breathing in and breathing out…” • The writer  then starts to freely say some images and phrases • Once that talk is freely flowing, the writer may choose to guide the images through a chosen memory • In dance the witness may describe what was shared freely in movement form after it is complete. In the context of creative writing, the witness is also a scribe.  • For writing, the authentic witness sits in a chair opposite the writer.  • The authentic witness will supportively watch and listen to the writer  • Once this is practiced, the witness will scribe  every phrase and image spoken from the writer    GUIDED FREE ASSOCIATION WRITING  Empathetic Awareness through this Technique  Authentic Witness as Scribe  PhD Candidate, UBC LLED, Narrative and Drama Studies D. A. MacKenzie WRITING EMPATHETICALLY THROUGH FREE ASSOCIATION AND SENSE MEMORY


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