Stephen Sillett

Enacting a space that is beyond internalism and externalism 

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Presentation description:

Stephen will share spatial methods and spatial frameworks that emerged from a need for deeper participation in community-engaged arts and development projects, due to the complexity, uncertainty and ambiguity of the local realities.
The broadest framework involves InFusion Space Modelling, which provides the potential for multi-scale exploration across mental space research areas. Expanding our enactive appreciation of "being oneself" at home, compared to other social settings, teams, organisations, and purposeful engagements with the world.
As part of this, Stephen will share some InFusion Space theories for how peri-personal action fields and social topographies can provide a unifying, plausible medium for how mental space psychology is enacted as a dynamic ecological system. This ties into active inference process models where body schema form our generative model for action in the world- an approach that dissolves the internalist/externalist divide. The InFusion Space theory puts mental space psychology within adaptive peri-personal space, and Stephen really looks forward to sharing these approaches at this congress.


Stephen is co-founder of Aiding Dramatic Change in Development, a non-profit that co-creates inspirational experiences that help people influence and transform the world around them. He has implemented participatory theatre and arts projects in South Africa and Canada, and workshops in Uganda, UK, Portugal, and Austria. Stephen is influenced by psycho-physical acting approaches of Michael Chekhov, and psychodrama of Jacob Moreno. Stephen is an active member of Active Inference Lab, a participatory open-science laboratory that is curating and developing applications related to the Active Inference framework. Stephen is working on a practice-based PhD at Canterbury Christ Church University, his study is now focussing on an action-orientated spatial activity called Conceptual Action Sociometry, which can be used to research complex multi-sensory social experiences. 

Some other notes about Stephen

His practice engages with diverse and often highly marginalised communities, through participatory art-dialogue workshops and immersive theatre. This has enabled community-engagement beyond what was thought possible, and led to the formation of community-based teams of artist-facilitators. This has led to the development of a number of creative spatial activities that have a common aspect of exploration and discovery. For local level explorations this involved spatial work involving Socio-Drama Topography to engage shared geographic contexts, and for communities with complex disabilities a world building approach called Envisioned Scenography. To develop these projects he needs to "scale deep" the experiences of participants, to "scale-out" the values and capabilities of artist-facilitators and partner community-based organisations, and to "scale up" to inform policy makers. This has involved a number of developmental evaluation cycles.


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