The Decade of Embodiment

Two years ago I hosted a few sessions for the The Embodiment Conference 2018. I enjoyed that experience, especially the opportunity to facilitate a conversation between David Abram and Glen Mazis. So when I was invited to be the Manager of the Ecology and Research Channel for the The Embodiment Conference 2020, I jumped at the chance. I’d need to bring together and coordinate over 100 of the most interesting speakers in the world! Wow! But this was just one of ten Channels that brought together over 1000 presentations for the 500,000 people who registered to attend.

No-one has ever done anything on this scale before and over the last few months we discovered why! It was the most intense work I’ve ever undertaken and it was only by drawing on the embodiment practices I’ve learnt over the years that I got through it. There’s a beautiful symmetry here that illustrates how personal practise can serve a bigger purpose.

Our aim was never simply to get the biggest names from around the world. We wanted to find people doing great work on the margins, the people who’d never spoken at a TED Talk but whose voices needed to be heard. I know of a least one example where a ‘big name’ Keynote speaker reached out to Presenter whose work wasn’t widely known to say how inspiring it was. That’s very special, and brings me to a second insight: An event like this is all about the connections it can create.

Once I’d recovered a little from the long adrenaline powered days of the Conference, I began to wonder, ‘What’s next? Where does this go now?’ Although the Conference was extraordinary, it was a ten day event not a movement. What can it catalyze? I’m already in touch with people about articles for The European Journal of Ecopsychology and – dare I even say it? – I’m planning an online conference on embodied ways of knowing for 2021. This brings me to my closing thought: Overcoming cultural distrust of embodiment is a process we need to express in our everyday lives. Let’s make the 2020’s the Decade of Embodiment!

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8 thoughts on “The Decade of Embodiment

  1. Would love to know more about your online conference on embodied ways of knowing when it happens. I am currently in my second year of a MA in Dance and Somatic Wellbeing at University of Central Lancashire in the UK and hope to look at embodiment in nature as an aspect of my final research project. Saw a few talks including the brilliant David Abram at the Embodiment Conference so thank you for all the hard work organising that (I can only imagine!). Had just finished Becoming Animal by David so the timing was perfect. Great hope making the 20s the decade of embodiment!

    • Hi Natasha, yes, there is now a subscription option. Thanks for prompting me to sort this out! You’ll see a click box option at the bottom of any comment or reply you make.

  2. Hi
    Absolutely fascinating.
    What was not represented was all the work that is done around
    The Vision Educators were not there.

    • Hi Irina,
      Can you say more? Do you mean discussions on the power of the visual sense? It’s true we didn’t cover that though I don’t think we had anyone presenting on any specific senses. There were several presentations on the crossover between art, ecology and embodiment. Some of those definitely included a strong visual element. I’m thinking especially of the Panel on Embodied Art with Narelle Carter-Quinlan,Jamie McHugh and Stephanie Gottlob.

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