Session 5 – The Art of Listening

June 22nd 2021 | 7pm – 10pm (CET)

How do artists conduct a practice of listening and how do academics do this? In what ways can art and research be violent? What is our potential as artists and researchers to develop listening as a decolonial and anti-colonial practice and what are the limits? How can we consider and reconsider the work we do? What can we learn and unlearn from each other’s practices?

This interactive workshop proposes listening as knowledge practice. We gather artists and researchers who share pieces of knowledge that are based in the work they do. Yet, in this session you are not only invited to listen to experts; we also invite you to listen to your fellow colleagues and yourself. We offer you the space to reflect on your own artistic and/or academic research practice.

We listen to Asaad Merza and Sofie de Smet, who share testimonies about the performance and research project Tijdelijk. In this process, Asaad and Sofie took on different roles and position towards each other: performer, production manager, researcher, participant, interviewer, interviewee. Which complexities do these different positions entail and how can you question them, reinforce or work along with them, or envision alternative relations?

We listen to Amanda Piña who proposes rituals for temporary dismantling the ideological separation of modern and traditional, the human, the animal and the vegetal, nature and culture.

We listen to Adriana Moreno Cely who considers listening-based dialogue as a wisdom approach. Drawing from her research practice in Bolivia she accounts how listening can be embedded in one’s methodology and may contribute to decolonising academic research.

These reflections are the starting point of individual and collective explorations of listening. Based on the central questions of the session, we reflect on how listening is present in our methodologies and how we conduct knowledge production and exchange in our own work.

This session is witnessed by Mokhallad Rasem, who listens, but also holds the last word – or image – to conclude the journey of our gathering.

Hosted by Marieke Breyne and Elvira Crois, who intend to listen as much to you as you are asked to listen to them.

There is a maximum of 25 participants for this session, so be sure to register soon. When you register, we assume that you will be present on the evening.
If you unexpectedly cannot attend, please let us know as soon as possible, so we can give the next person on the waiting list the opportunity to join.
You can register by sending an email to
We hope to see you then!

Adriana Moreno Cely

Adriana Moreno is a PhD researcher at the Educational Sciences department of Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Adriana has been working with local and indigenous communities for around 15 years, as a practitioner and as an activist. As a researcher, she is interested on knowledge co-creation and mutual learning in a transdisciplinary setting. Currently, she is working in a VLIR- South Initiative project in Bolivia. Her research is using the project as a case study, to explore the factors that could enhance dialogue among academic and non-academic stakeholders. Adriana is adopting transdisciplinary and participatory action research approach to promote the inclusion of local and indigenous knowledge in the production of scientific knowledge. Adriana holds three Master degrees in Natural Resource Management; Education; and Humanitarian Aid & International Cooperation. Her working experience has been focused on education and community development in urban and rural areas; promoting self-management processes and community autonomy using gender-sensitive approaches. She has developed and adapted several participatory methodologies to work with young, adults and elderly people in Colombia.

Amanda Piña

Amanda Piña is a Mexican-Chilean-Austrian artist and cultural worker living between Vienna and Mexico City. Her work is concerned with the decolonisation of art, focusing on the political and social power of movement. Her works are contemporary rituals for temporary dismantling the ideological separations between modern and traditional, the human, the animal and the vegetal, nature and culture. Amanda Piña is interested in making art beyond the idea of a product and in developing new frameworks for the creation of sensual experiences. Her pieces have been presented in renown art institutions such as Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, Paris, MUMOK Museum of Modern Art, TQW and ImpulsTanz Festival, in Vienna. DeSingel Antwerpen,STUK Leuven, Buda Kortrik, Beurschouwburg Brussels, Royal festival Hall London, Museo Universitario del Chopo, Mexico City, Tanz NRW, Düsseldorf and HAU, Hebbel am Ufer in Berlin, NAVE and Festival Internacional Santiago a Mil in Chile. She studied Painting before going into performance and movement based art, Studied Physical Theater in Santiago de Chile, Theater Anthropology in Barcelona and  Contemporary Dance and Choreography in Mexico, Barcelona, Salzburg (SEAD) and Montpellier (Ex.e.r.ce Choreographic Centre Montpellier) with – amongst others – Mathilde Monnier, Joao Fiaideiro, Xavier Le Roy, Olga Mesa and Julyen Hamilton. In 2006 she received the danceWEB scholarship and in 2007 the scholarship for Young Choreographers from Tanzquartier Wien. In 2018 she was awarded with the Fonca Arts grant from the Mexican Government.

Mokhallad Rasem

Mokhallad Rasem (Baghdad, 1981) is an actor and director, and since 1 January 2013 permanent Toneelhuismaker. Rasem has theatre in his DNA: his now-deceased father, Rasem Al Jumaily, was a well-known Iraqi actor who created a form of popular theatre fuelled by simple stories. From an early age, Mokhallad accompanied his father to theatre and this made an indelible impression on him. His father is also active as a film actor and he fosters a great love of literature and photography. In 1996, Mokhallad himself began studying theatre at the Baghdad Conservatory; three years later, he continued his studies at the University of Baghdad. During his studies, the focus is mainly on the history of European theatre, from the Greeks over Shakespeare and Molière to Brecht and contemporary theatre. The context is not an easy one: under Saddam Hussein’s regime, there is strict censorship of any art form that hints at political commentary. This forces directors to come up with inventive solutions in order to talk about the here and now. During this period, Mokhallad Rasem was given the opportunity to make his first plays at the National Theatre of Baghdad, a house where very different directors work. Rasem departs from the European theatre canon and draws inspiration from texts such as Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus and Strindberg’s Dream Play. Through improvisation sessions with his actors, he creates new characters and storylines based on the characters and themes from these plays.

Sofie de Smet

Sofie de Smet is a Belgian postdoctoral researcher affiliated to the research group S:PAM (Ghent University) and the Parenting and Special Education Research Unit (KU Leuven). Sofie obtained her joint PhD in Psychology and Theatre Studies in 2019 with her interdisciplinary dissertation on coping with collective violence and exile in theatre It will always be Temporary. Her current interdisciplinary research focuses on the development of refugee posttrauma care in western host societies at the crossroads of transcultural psychology and theatre.

As’ad Merza

As’ad Merza is a Syrian photographer living in Ghent (Belgium). He participated in different artistic projects in Belgium including Temporary (Mokhallad Rasem, Toneelhuis, 2017), a theatre production created with and by Syrian youngsters. Currently, he is working at IN Gent, a non-profit organization that fosters integration and inclusion for newcomers in Belgium.

Marieke Breyne

Marieke Breyne is a Belgian artist living in Denmark. She active as a performer, researcher, facilitator and project maker. In her work these four roles are taken up alternately and they often intertwine. For example, she conducts workshops as part of a research, she performs within a large scale project that she co-produces, her own artistic work (developed within residencies) becomes part of a long durational performance of an existing company, etc. She collaborates with diverse international companies such as Sisters Hope (DK), Carte Blanche (DK), Theatre de l’Instant (FR), where she performs in physical and sensorial stage works that are often site-specific and long durational. As a researcher she is particularly interested in the body of a performer as a performative object (with a transformative power) and its affectional relation to a site, and a passerby. Marieke is an experience group facilitator in which she deploys performative strategies. She has worked in very diverse contexts, with diverse groups: university students in Cape Town (ZA), youngsters in Lubumbashi (Congo), theatre makers in Birmingham (UK), seniors in Voormezele (BE), etc.

Elvira Crois

Elvira Crois is a doctoral researcher in theatre studies at University of Antwerp and in educational sciences at Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Through a participatory approach, Elvira carries out research into performer training for participatory performing arts in order to provide an analysis of an aesthetics of audience participation. The research is affiliated with the practices of Katrien Oosterlinck (BE), Sarah John (AU/DK) and Seppe Baeyens (BE). Before entering academia, Elvira worked as a socio-cultural worker at GC De Kriekelaar in Schaarbeek, Brussels. Since 2012 Elvira has facilitated several international theatre exchanges (Apaya Network), workshops (GC De Kriekelaar, Erasmus+ projects), and doctoral courses (What does it mean to be a researcher in 21st century academia?).

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