‘Getting Uncomfortable with Participation’ with Elvira Crois and Marieke Breyne

Published on 19 May 2022

Is it possible that discomfort can break down some of the barriers between participant and facilitator?

How may we create safe spaces, when we ourselves may feel unsafe?

Should we be actively searching for negotiations between comfort and discomfort in artistic spaces?

Can discomfort be used as a tool to reflect real situations and allow for more artistic expression?

What actually happens when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable when we are facilitating?

These were the kinds of questions that were floating around in the ‘Getting Uncomfortable with Participation’ workshop yesterday morning. The session was designed and led by Elvira Crois and Marieke Breyne from the Apaya Network and was centred around recognising and even using moments of discomfort when facilitating workshops with young people. The workshop took place in Tryckeriet Aktivitetshus and the space lent itself to creative freedoms and physical exploration- with its large industrial walls and floor to ceiling carpets that made the room feel like our very own art gallery.

The exercises were gentle and fluid and gave lots of space for conversation, questioning and creativity. With a mixture of writing, drawing and movement based tasks, we as a group unfolded our ideas around trust, ‘safe spaces’, and vulnerability which was honestly- a rather beautiful and special experience.

The workshop was based on the facilitators’ research practice on discomfort and provided a mixture of both sensoric play and wonderfully thought out academia. The following images are some examples of art that was created during the session.

Drawings created in the session based on a partner exercise where one person guided another through the space. This is an example of a pair mapping the journeys they took together.
More artwork created by the group based on the guiding exercise

Crois and Breyne’s practice has left me with so many ideas and questions around the theme of ‘getting uncomfortable’ and I feel that their work opens a door for facilitators and artists to develop in extraordinary ways.