Looking after our Students and Ourselves #GII2019
Session called by Josh Darcy
Present: Ines, Mishi, Caitlin, Graham, Paul, Angelina and Lainie. Roddy and Caitlin bumblebeed in later. I have no surnames due to faulty memory.

Opened with the idea that the students in the title could be anyone that was in an impro group, of whatever sort – even a non impro group that was using impro methods.

We brought the ideas discussed in the first session’s groups of safe space and mentoring up early on.

Paul talked about how perhaps we intuitively look after each other. He was challenged on this by Caitlin and expanded what he was saying to mean there was a philosophy within improvisation that we should do this. Angelina asked if we could go round the circle and talk about what the subject meant to each of us, so we did – sort of.

Graham spoke about his group of older first time improvisers and how there were definite challenges of how far you can push in that situation.
Drop in groups in which ongoing care is difficult as people might just leave and not come back – how to check up on them?

Caitlin mentioned corporate improv exhaustion.
Angelina outlined the differences between best practice in therapy as opposed to improvisation.

Mishi was curious about the point at which improvisation becomes therapy. She said that she feels she doesn’t have the tools sometimes. Josh echoed this sentiment and said that he was studying a pastoral care MA at the moment to try and give himself some of these.

Ines talked about using Tai Chi to look after herself after sessions.
Lainie brought up her work in storymaking with traumatised young people and the need to close the space. This was later echoed by Roddy who recounted some of his time in Wormwood Scrubs prison, and the difficulty the inmates had in the evening if they’d opened themselves up to vulnerability during the session in the day.

There was some more talk about age, Graham spoke of using masks for his older people group, and the lack of obvious age when masks are donned. Freeing.

Paul: work with young people. Improvisation as a tool for communication, talked about behaviour (antisocial or otherwise) being about communication.

Roddy talked about the “Piece of Cake” exercise. Having a place where something that’s absolutely easy for the participant is rooted, so they can return there and then move to a more difficult place in the stage.

In closing we discussed supervision for impro teachers, how a network could be formed of fellow practitioners who would be able to help each other in a mentoring/supervisory way, but without hierarchy.