Managing tensions: understanding experiences of climate change in Atlantic Canada through a somatic artist-researcher practice

Clarke, Lorraine Frances (2019) Managing tensions: understanding experiences of climate change in Atlantic Canada through a somatic artist-researcher practice. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

[img] [English] PDF - Accepted Version
Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.

Download (13MB)


We are living during what is considered Earth’s sixth mass extinction event. Our knowledge of this evokes selfprotective responses. Throughout this dissertation I explore how fifteen people in Atlantic Canada, including myself, experience the loss and threat of climate change. My work explores and observes the complexity of these experiences for fifteen people in Atlantic Canada, including the artist-researcher, in ways that include the lived body, and ways that apply the theories and practices of Somatic Experiencing (Levine, 1997, 2010; Payne, Levine, & Crane-Godreau, 2015) and heuristics of polyvagal theory (Porges, 2001, 2009, 2011). Thinking with Haraway (2016), I look for ways to stay with the trouble, acknowledging that the trouble is shared by human and more-thanhuman kin. I also explore how the work of climate change is intimately tangled with colonization. What has emerged from this (always) partial mapping of experience is knowledge about the embodied tendencies of humans, similar to our mammalian kin, to self-protect in the face of the great threat to our world of climate change. In this dissertation I articulate an emergent methodology name somatic artist-researcher practice (SARP). Somatic artist-researcher practice is a flexible methodology for justice-seeking, somatically grounded, artistic/practice-based research. This methodology is suitable for inquiry into messy, unsettling, and dissonant experience phenomena. It does not offer neatness, a path of least resistance, nor a claim to truth, but honours polyvocality and multiple epistemologies. Somatic artist-researcher practice works towards the impossible, utopic values of being present with others while practicing awareness of orienting to internal and external environments, having one eye in and another out. Somatic artist-research practice follows curiosity and an autoethnographic impulse, embracing fragmentation and failure as part of knowledge production. In SARP, knowledge is gained when artist-researcher enters into relationships in which (s)he risks being transformed in the intercorporeal zone. Links to video documentation of performances are embedded in the text.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
Item ID: 13819
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 243-266).
Keywords: climate change experience, climate change threat response, embodied qualitative methodology, artist-researcher, somatics, mediated effects of climate change, colonization and settler privilege, Somatic Experiencing, polyvagal theory, climate change loss, climate change anger, artistic research
Department(s): Social Work, School of
Date: March 2019
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Climatic changes--Research--Methodology; Global warming--Public opinion; Somesthesia

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over the past year

View more statistics