Dara Culhane

Commitments to four foundational principles guide my practices as an anthropologist, an ethnographer, and a teacher.

(1)Recognition of diversity and common humanity. I believe university students learn best in an environment where they are recognized as unique individuals and as members of distinct collectivities who have both the capacity and the obligation to act ethically in the classroom and in the world.

(2) Respect for rigorous processes of scholarly inquiry. I actively cultivate in students a critical, reflexive appreciation of both the knowledge they learn from life experiences, and the discoveries and possibilities that may be realized through scholarly processes of inquiry.

(3) Informed, creative engagement in the social world. I consider participation and communication fundamental to anthropological/ ethnographic research, to teaching and learning, and to effective social engagement.

(4) Practical, principled professional development. I take my responsibility to prepare students to enter the world of work within or beyond the academy seriously.

Co-Founder and Co-Curator, 2010-ongoing
Co-Director, 2019-2022
Centre for Imaginative Ethnography,

Editor, Film and Exhibit Reviews, Anthropologica
2019 – ongoing

Associate Editor, Performance Matters

Sarah Louise Turner

As an educational consultant with the Centre for Educational Excellence at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, B.C., I spend my days thinking about curriculum and pedagogy. Day in and day out. Supporting instructors either one on one, or working with faculties and departments to deeply question and envision curriculum that honours their personal beliefs, their current students, institutional aims and requirements, and sound educational theory. At the heart of my work, is over thirty years of leading and facilitating theatre-based exercises to all ages. From 3-year-olds to 83-year-olds, it has been one of the greatest gifts of my life to be able to guide groups through processes of exploration:

  • tapping into unexplored possibilities,
  • experiencing their bodies in new and exciting ways,
  • gaining a much deeper awareness of their own senses,
  • and the possibility of how energy can expand when focused on group creation.

Over the past ten years, I have moved out of traditional theatre training programs and explored how these exercises, techniques, and states of mind can benefit students, instructors and staff in academia to approach their work in new and fresh ways or develop skills that can help them address challenging aspects in their work. From incorporating listening and improvisation into Business accounting classes to improve their interviewing skills to developing and expanding on vocal technique to prepare a graduate student for their defense or a conference presentation, the possibilities of the application of this work is profound. Likewise, these exercises have been powerful tools for bringing community together in the non-profit sector, spiritual communities, NGO’s, assisted living homes, and more.

It is our great hope that you will be able to easily adapt these exercises to your own context. They have been tried and tested over many years. While we will state the source of an exercise when available, many times these exercises are passed on instructor by instructor and adapted to meet the needs of a particular context. I am indebted to numerous individuals who either introduced me to these exercises or shared in the shaping of them. Firstly, Tiffany Lyndall-Knight, who I shared 8 glorious years of co-teaching with at the Richmond Gateway Academy, all my peers and instructors in the MFA co-hort at Indiana University, the beautiful and gracious instructors at Canada’s National Voice Intensive, the radiant Sheila Langston, who I continue to learn from and who helped me to see the echoes of Marion Woodman’s work in voice, the joyous and playful community at the William Davis Actor’s Studio, the close network of colleagues at the Vancouver Film School, my work wife, Shauna Jones, and all of the amazing students everywhere that I have had the deep pleasure of learning from over the years. Of course, this resource wouldn’t exist without the phenomenal Dara Culhane, who has challenged me to think deeply about the limitations of my own training and to imagine a space where this work can be more attuned to the world. Thank you Patsy Rodenburg, Cecily Berry, Arthur Lessac, Krisitn Linklater, Viola Spolin and Dorothy Heathcote for your now disintegrating texts that literally guided me through every class in my first few years of teaching. To Jim Lortz and Marion Bankert Michael who sparked so many flames.