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ICON Seminar 13

Kallio-Kuninkala, Helsinki, Finland


Theme of the 13 Seminar: Catalyzing leadership and transformative projects through Liz Lerman’s Critical Response Process

Last updated August 30, 2016

Seminar 13: Catalyzing leadership and transformative projects through Liz Lerman’s Critical Response Process

Kallio-Kuninkala, 20th– 24th March 2016

This seminar will focus in depth on Liz Lerman’s Critical Response Process (CRP). CRP is a method for giving and getting the type of feedback that “immediately makes you want to go back to work”. It challenges dominant modes of feedback that focus primarily on deficit, or that jump to conclusions about artistic performance, or indeed any kind of work, based on first impressions only. It is an approach that we have explored in several ways at ICON in the last years. We have found it to be a wonderfully creative way of working, with value for our practice artists, teachers and leaders in conservatoires.

The seminar will provide an intensive training in facilitating CRP. It will also provide an opportunity for participants to catalyze their own artistic, teaching, research or leadership projects. We will use these projects as the raw material, the work in progress, through which to explore and practise CRP principles and techniques. In particular we ask for this seminar that participants bring with them bold, innovative projects that they hope will have transformational outcomes. CRP is very well suited to working with material from these sorts of initiatives, and it seems important to take this opportunity for ICON participants, especially Creative Directors, to catalyze forward-thinking work.

A key part of CRP, that we have perhaps yet to embrace and investigate fully in ICON, lies in the fact that it has its origins in contexts of devising work. Fundamentally, the roots of CRP include a search for new artistic landscapes, and ways of embracing unknowns and the challenges to break through existing barriers and assumptions. The process embraces the wonder of not having immediate answers.

There are parallels here with the challenges and opportunities we are now seeing in conservatoires. These relate particularly to the changing learning environments we want to provide for students, and the ways in which we must respond to the strengths of our traditions and musical canons on the one hand, and to the evolving needs and interests of societies on the other. Our practices as artists, teachers and leaders in conservatoires are going through a period of intense renewal and transformation, connected of course to the intense questioning and reevaluation of the purpose and value of the performing arts as a living force in our communities. In this context, we need individually and collectively to develop bold and sustainable visions, and then to make them happen. The very nature of creative tensions, particularly in classical music, between tradition and new work can make this difficult to realize. However, as we devise new identities for conservatoires, and develop our ways of working as artist-teachers, it seems clear that CPR can be a critical underpinning framework and practical set of tools, helping us to challenge our mindsets and enable change with wisdom.

This seminar is dedicated to two things:

•    Deepening our experience of and skills in facilitating CRP and its many variants, and in adapting new variations to meet our own particular needs.
•    Developing visions for and steps within bold and sustained artistic, educational and organizational projects, individually and collectively (participants will be invited to bring projects to work on).


A film maker documented the practice developed during this seminar. To get an insight in to the work, kindly click here.


For further information about on Liz Lerman’s book Critical Response Process, please click here.





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Last updated August 30, 2016


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Last updated August 30, 2016