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Reverie Symposium

As part of the Knowing from the Inside (KFI) research project we are organising a symposium to explore reverie as an object of study method.

As part of the Knowing From the Inside (KFI) research project we are organizing a symposium to explore reverie.

The day-long symposium will bring together a variety of disciplinary approaches (psychological, psychoanalytic, artistic, religious, anthropological) to study reverie as a phenomenon or state whereby strong concentration and focus appear to meet unself-conscious effortlessness and potential. Psychoanalytical descriptions of reverie suggest the need for a degree of personal safety when surrendering to the vulnerability of ‘losing’ oneself in its states. Filmmaker Jean Rouch’s writing on ciné trance and Marion Milner’s on painting and drawing suggest reverie can be induced by absorption in a process, practice or material. While psychoanalytic definitions draw comparisons with daydreaming, they also appear to share some characteristics with ‘flow’ as identified in psychology, together with artists’ descriptions of ‘being in the zone’. Are these (and other variations such as meditation, mindfulness and so on) different states, different phases or instantiations of the same state, different analytical perspectives on different states – or some other possibility?

The symposium will feature exploratory position papers in order to characterize reverie and associated variations to better understand how it is regarded in a variety of fields and situations, and whether it transcends disciplinary borders. We will also provide room for discussion to address the settings and/or relations that promote reverie, and ask how it is studied as a phenomenon, how it is used as a method by researchers and interlocutors, and for what purposes.

The symposium is convened by Amanda Ravetz, with support from Tilo Reifenstein. We will publish a list of speakers and programme in due course.

For enquiries please contact t.reifenstein@mmu.ac.uk.

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