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THE HERD PROJECT
• cause to drive, or crowd together;
• move together, like a herd
• a group of wild mammals of one species that remain together
• crowd especially of ordinary or undistinguished persons or things
Herd is a creative exploration designed to guide a group of individuals with a random or specific common thread (ie. a HERD of bankers, a HERD of expectant mothers, a HERD of single people searching for love...) HERD ultimately expresses the thread of connection back to the participants while delivering the healing and resilience of creative play throughout.
An underlying conviction of HERD is that every person has a unique expression which is in and of itself a performance. Therefore, there is no requirement of a participant beyond them being open to explore their authentic expression and their faith that the process will hold and carry them throughout.
HERD can become a performance or simply a playuful exploration.
Here's how it happens.
The thread that binds the HERD together is coupled with a central organizing principle. Based on that principle, an initial witnessing event is offered up to the HERD. For example, if the HERD were a group of fly fisherpersons, the organizing principle might be a single statement such as, "The River is Alive".
The witnessing event might be a silent, meditative walk in a shallow creek while listening to a moving piece of music. The participant may come across moments of interaction laid out for them during their walk. They may be carrying with them something connected to, or diametrically opposed to the organizing principle.
The witnessing event is then explored over many days through a multi-disciplinary process led by a master guide. The guide moves participants through exercises in writing, movement, vocal work, visual art and, finally expression.
The exercises are designed to build one upon the other. They are driven by, and circle back to, that single witnessing event. They are designed to focus on the doing and remove the binds of performance anxiety.
What transpires from the exercises are creative clusters of elements, each specific to their particular discipline, authentic to the HERD and carried by the participants forward from the HERD into the world that surrounds them.
One way this could happen is through a performance.
A performative direction looks like this...
The Master guide collaborates with the participants to sift through the creative clusters and elements and make selections of what is set aside and what remains.
The creative clusters and elements that remain are then coded in a simple but specific way understood by the HERD. For instance, with a herd of fly fisherpersons, a phrase of movement might be coded "Trout", a Haiku - "Pond", a series of vocalizations - "Lure", etc.
The coding allows the clusters to then be “orchestrated” into an interactive performance by a "director". The director can be anyone involved in the process or even an audience member given the "code". What transpires is a performance event that is both transformative for the participant as well as the viewer.
Currently HERD is being proposed for a youth creation project. The organizing principle in this case is HERD.
The following questions will be explored:
How do I fit in to the herd?
How do I stand out in the herd?
Who am I - what do I like? Dislike?
How am I authentically creative?
How do I use that to respond to the world around me?
To learn more and discuss possibilities of how HERD could be used by you and those you serve to express connection or create reslience contact:
Wendy Anderson (Mother of The Republic)
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