In this article we explore the question of presence of persons in a collaborative process. We explore this question by presenting aspects of the collaboration between us, Ang and Gatt, as it unfolded. The focus of this collaboration was how the way of knowing, the epistemology of theatre enquiry and that of anthropology could mutually influence each other. Our joint work was not focused on producing any predetermined outcomes; certainly we did not set out to collect results. Herein we present a paradox raised by the question of presence. For collaboration to engender mutual learning, participants or collaborators need to be personally invested and equally so. However, for the flow of learning and creativity to occur the persons involved needed to allow themselves to disappear, a sort of surrender, which is not the same as creating an unequal or hierarchical relationship. Rather it is allowing the joint work to become the focus, instead of the focus being the individuals involved. We explore in what ways a collaborative process might be usefully understood as an experiment in making space for emergence, for allowing something to emerge before judging it, before attempting to apply what we already know to it.


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pp. 67-94
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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