Project Title: "Immersive Performance Practices for Translating Experiential Knowledge: Assessing the Affective Potential of Sensory-Focused Dramaturgies in Generating Empathy and Understanding"
Dr. Esling is working collaboratively with survivors of traumatic brain injury (TBI) to devise a small-scale immersive performance for medical and healthcare students to experience. Through this process, Dr. Esling and her collaborators are experimenting with ways of communicating embodied experience, perceptual difference, and autobiographical memory. The aim of this practice-based artistic research is: to experiment dramaturgically with awareness using eye masks, binaural audio, and touch; and to assess the impact of these ‘attunement’ strategies in conveying lived experiences of TBI. This study examines how specific dramaturgies may facilitate a reconception of what it means to empathize through performance. It asks: How might sense-specific immersive performance present a framework for audiences to practice different modes of listening, which may translate to contexts beyond the performance experience? And, how might these performance strategies and experiences enhance understandings of patient-centered care and compassion in healthcare and medical student education?