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CAPA Improvisation Archive: Kensinger Meeting

Kensinger Meetings

Kensinger Meetings are inspired by former anthropology faculty member Ken Kensinger, who taught at Bennington from 1971-95. For nearly twenty years Kensinger hosted summer meetings on campus for colleagues from around the world interested in sharing ideas on field research in lowland South America. Known widely as a generous and insightful colleague, Kensinger welcomed scholars at all points in their careers and from all perspectives in his burgeoning field to engage in deep conversations on subjects at the center of their most current work. Each year, CAPA hosts one of two Kensinger Meetings held at Bennington College. 

Kensinger Meeting on Improvisation July 2017

CAPA convened distinctive contributors from diverse disciplines such as dance, music, science, public administration and the military to discuss the role and practice of improvisation in today's political and creative arenas. All guests, carefully selected by the organizers, engaged with the practice of improvisation in one form or the other. Some of the research questions for discussion and inquiry included:

  1. How does improvisation contribute to an individual’s work and to her/his ensemble (group) work?
  2. How do we define different models of improvisation?  Are there structuring principles that are shared among different models? (self-organization, emergent patterns, etc.)
  3. What is the role of perception, embodiment and structure in improvisation practices? How does improvisation relate to complex systems?
  4. How is improvisation an approach to problem-solving and decision-making?  Are there effective strategies related to building community?
  5. How can the study of improvisation be taught more effectively and to whom?

This research opportunity is a concentrated multidisciplinary forum for teachers and practitioners to present their individual research to the wider community. To be able to share and compare experiences around this subject material will enhance individual understanding of the questions proposed. 

Participants in the Kensinger Meeting July 2017

Susan Sgorbati, Dance and Conflict Resolution, CAPA, Bennington College

Bernard Grossman, Physics 

Andrew Goldman, Ph.D.

Cordelia Sand, Feminist Science Studies

Stuart Kauffman, Science, MacArthur Fellow

Capt. Todd Veazie, Military National Counterterrorism Center, Washington, D.C.

Susie Ibarra, Music

Elena Demyanenko, Dance

Benjamin Harley, Dolphin Dance Project

Dr. Chisa Hidaka, Dolphin Dance Project