Artful Mediation by Dr. Roberta Morris

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  • Artful Mediationby Dr. Roberta

  • Why Artful Mediation? Everyone has their own side of the storythat needs to be aired, shared, and heard.That'sbasic to almost all mediation practices.

    What we emphasize in Artful Mediation is that these are indeed stories, part of a rich tradition of storytelling and other artistic practices.This is a creative process

  • Storytellers utilize conflict as a means of character development. A plot-heavy story is one in which there is conflict yet no character arc, no character development.Narrative mediators refer to this as conflict-saturated narratives. Artful mediation focuses on character development as much as settlement in achieving conflict resolution.

  • Dominant StoriesSome stories dominate the culture and participants imaginations while others remain unexplored/underdevelopedConflict-saturated relationship stories relegate other stories to the marginsPervasive cultural stories shape families, workplaces, institutions, communities, (e.g. gender, social class, disability, sexual orientation)

  • Binary systems dominate many western cultural narratives:Cowboys/IndiansSpace Invaders/EarthlingsHe/SheAggressor/Victim

    There is always another way to structure the story, many other ways.

  • Power is constituted in storiesPower specifies who can speak, to whom, about what Power is a function of discoursePower establishes normsPower is legitimated in lawPower is constructed in organizational hierarchies*

    **slide from John Winslades Narrative Mediation in the Workplace ACR 2006. Used with permission

  • Positive and negative experiencesConnections

  • Conflict-Saturated Dynamics emphasize negative experiences in relationshipConflict

  • Linking positive experiences in conflict narrative opens possibilities for a new narrative, and a happier outcomePositives

  • RememberThe persons not the problem; the problem is the problem

    Michael White

  • Strategies for artful re-telling of the storyShift from conflict story to a preferred genre (i.e., tragedy to situation comedy)Re-author relationshipsRe-position relations to dominant stories Change the relationship story in order to solve the problem and relationships

  • There are different ways and different mediums for storytelling. Artful Mediation uses all the gifts people bring to the table. Some people are gifted at oral storytelling, some with drama, some are better at writing,singing, painting, or dance.

    While many traditional mediation practices might privilege linguistically gifted people, Artful Mediation affirms various means of expressing and resolving conflict.

  • What kind of genius are you?1) Verbal-linguistic (word smart) ?Already priviledged in most mediation practices; Artful practices include role plays, brainstorming/improv Puppetry, masks, and other dramatic elements may be considered.

    2) Logical-mathematical (numbers/reasoning smart)?Affirm the talents of someone who is more talented with numbers than words: You do the math!

  • 3) Visual-spatial (picture smart) Use and honor doodling; the filmmaker can story board the problem; the architect may consider it as a building project . New storytelling technologies. YouTube, video cams, etc.) can be tools in a mediators toolbox.

    4) Body-kinesthetic (body and athletics smart) Allow for pacing; walking mediation

  • 5) Auditory-musical (music smart) Parties play their own song in their heads. Diane Keating prepares for scenes this way and my students and clients report this to be most helpful.

    6) Interpersonal communication (people smart) Again, already priviledged in most mediation practices, artful mediators are careful to balance this with other participants strengths.

  • Multiple gifts7) Intrapersonal communication (self, soulfully smart) Use of silence; respecting an introverts need to sleep on it; focus on respect 8) Naturalist Use of nature analogies; using natural light and venues that incorporate natural elements

  • Existential IntelligenceHoward Gardner, the pioneer of multiple intelligence theories in education, suggests another form of intelligence may be added: Existential Intelligence, that is the ability to grasp ultimate meanings.

    Kenneth Clokes work, transformational mediation techniques may be relevant here.

  • Artful practices and ethicsArtful practices have an ethical dimension, since aesthetics (the work of artists) refers to the design of the world we create and recreate in our dramas and conflict resolutions.

    Ponder the famous philosopher, Ludwig Wittgensteins claim:

    Ethics and aesthetics are one and the same. Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus 6.421

  • An artists measureThere is a need to experiment, to take risks, and develop creative techniques. Keep in mind the artists adage with respect to creative experiments for making peace:

    Whatever works is good.