Embodied Research

Explore your body as research instrument and how it can support you to stay healthy and well while you are doing research!

Although every research is unique, all projects move through similar stages, including literature research, data gathering, analysis, writing and presentation of our findings – and many more in between.

Intelligence is not just mental cognition – your body can add to valuable insights in any and all of these stages. Asking specific questions of your body’s intelligence, while moving for example with polarities in your data can be highly insightful and offering a fresh perspective on your material.

Also, many researchers experience emotional and mental pressure such as dealing with challenging content and ethical choices, drowning in data, stressful encounters in the field, fear of failure, pressured time management, reflections on personal identity and so on. 

I truly believe that the body can support ANY type of discipline and research question. Over the years I worked with a variety of academics including agriculturalists, environmentalists, somatic practitioners, anthropologists, health care practitioners and art-based scholars. All of them were astounded to realise the enormous potential of their body as a vehicle for knowledge creation and exchange, as well as source of support whilst engaging with research activities.

In my capacity as Research Fellow at Coventry University (2015-2020), and together with Ben Spatz and Doerte Weig, I developed and curated a Somatics Toolkit for Ethnographers. This was paid for by the National Centre for Research Methods in the UK. You can access the below resources for free:

Somatics Toolkit for Ethnographers: full of inspiring blogs, interesting podcast conversations and two series of audio files for your own guided practice through the research cycles and many mental and emotional aspects of doing research: http://somaticstoolkit.coventry.ac.uk.

Embodied Methodologies: three short video tutorials on embodied research methodologies – including an exercise on exploring lines, angles, circles and spirals with your body: https://www.ncrm.ac.uk/resources/online/embodied_methodologies/.

If you are interested to discuss tailor made sessions, specified to your unique research topic, please be in touch via eline@clover-trail.com!

What others say:

The session was refreshing and insightful. Being outside in connection with the earth helped to keep the research grounded, real and ethical. I gained insights not easily obtained indoors. Combining intuition, movement and interspecies communication was exciting and novel. The movement and feel of the earth barefooted definitely helped make a connection. I learned not to ignore the input from the body, the importance of movements and that everything around us is alive and wishes to communicate with us if we open up ourselves to it. (Janus Jensen, PhD researcher, Centre for Agriculture and Water Resilience, Coventry University)

It’s given me more confidence to validate my non-intellectual experience in the academic context a little more. (Myriam Rees, somatic practitioner)

Eline is very experienced. The Yes/No exercise brought up a lot of issues which needed processing and is a very effective tool to revisit when issues crop up in other situations too. It’s a different way of asking questions and receiving answers to qualitative questionnaire type research. I know now that I can move my body when asking and responding to my own questions. (Alex Aylward, Patient and Public Involvement advisor)

I liked the use of movement to express challenges and solutions – e.g. standing one’s ground, embodying self-compassion, acknowledging one’s power etc. I’m impressed that this work is done within the rigours of academic research (my PhD was in science). (Dr Elaine Westwick, independent practitioner).