Research Challenge 2

Self-care kit for for service and support workers

Civil servants, healthcare workers, and public service providers must manage the emotional toll that comes with helping the most marginalized. In small doses this is possible, but compassion fatigue often sets in, especially if people are exposed to stress every day. Are there evidence or theories from the cognitive sciences (for instance, notions such as ego depletion and Dunbar’s number) that suggest limits to the extent of our abilities to meaningfully engage in and care for others, but also suggest strategies for expanding these boundaries? Can embodied practices (such as somatics, movement mindfulness and contact improvisation) and technologies (such as multisensory stimulation and virtual reality) be mobilized to address compassion fatigue? Can we support this way self-care, build our emotional resilience and in consequence provide tools for relating with others in deeply empathic, yet respectful for own and others boundaries way?

In this topic, we will research the causes and components of compassion fatigue experience, its related phenomena: defence mechanisms, burn-out, ego depletion, etc. We source in embodied practices appropriate tools for self-care and empathic relating with others. In particular, we will research the role of touch in our everyday contacts and its situational and cultural context. In practice research, we will develop a toolkit of embodied practices for promoting self-care and preventing compassion fatigue in a wide range of healthcare and public service practitioners.

In this project you will explore and learn to

  • Critically engage with multiple disciplinary body of literature and research
  • Conduct practice-led research merging applied and art studies
  • Use ethnographic and autoethnographic methods in systematic research
  • Experience a broad range of embodied and somatic learning practices including embodied imagery, mindful movement, and contact improvisation
  • Apply art practices and methods to health and social care settings
  • Creatively use mobile technology and biosensors in embodied interventions
  • Develop an intervention (?) based on embodied practices

Skills, disciplines, and perspectives welcome include (but are not limited to) the following

Health care, counselling, psychology, social studies, augmented reality, somatic practices, dance, movement, performance arts

Sustainable Development Goals Addressed

Primary Facilitators and Mentors

Other facilitators and mentors may also contribute to this project

Inspiration, resources, and readings