My PhD dissertation in Performance Studies at the University of California, Davis is titled Affective Facilitation, Performance and (De)humanization. It aims to contribute to applied theatre facilitation by re-valuing its ‘impact’ from a hemispheric perspective (given that most applied theatre theory comes from the Global North, reproducing western/colonial epistemologies). My project shows how facilitation can work against dehumanization (i.e. isolation, containment and premature death that disproportionately affects those deemed “less-(than)-human”) by centralizing affect and embodiment. These important aspects of applied theatre are too often overlooked when the focus is placed only on social impact (which is typically instrumentalized within neoliberal agendas). My main research question is: How can applied theatre facilitate a transformation in the affect of a group of people and help them feel an embodied co-presence within contexts of displacement/enclosure and violence? I hypothesize that ‘affective’ facilitation requires context-specific approaches that shift relations to allow for much-needed experiences of human connection and care, beyond subjectification. I look at my own and others’ facilitation practices in contexts of displacement/enclosure (prisons, immigrant detention, and migrant communities) between 2012 and 2020 in Colombia, Chile and the US, moving the conversation from a focus on individual self-development towards collective symbiosis, valuing process rather than product, and proposing an understanding of this work in which transforming relations to potentiate alternative ways of thinking/feeling/being(-with) is in itself an arts practice. I conclude that this necessitates the cultivation of life-affirming relations, a specifically feminine capacity, as the female body is the ‘first territory’ of both subjugation and resistance to colonial/patriarchal/capitalist paradigms of violence. Affective facilitation can foment humanization— a sense of our inherent interdependence with all life—not via a set methodology but rather critical not-knowing and openness to being changed. To move applied theater theory beyond neoliberal ideals of  productivity, focusing on affect lets us see overlooked facets of human interdependence and responsibility to others and the world.


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