Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Discomfort is: something or somewhere that doesn't make you feel like yourself

The above is a short thought from one of my students on the idea of discomfort.   I think it's a good place to start the conversation around the idea of a comfort or discomfort zone.   I am feeling some anxiety and discomfort at the moment because I haven't narrowed down any concrete places to go yet...I have some ideas, maybe?

This theme emerged from some gentle guiding of students in my after-school art program whose thoughts naturally drifted to food, TV, and home during the idea generating activity.  The students made some connections between these things and the idea of feeling relaxed, so I nudged them towards the idea of comfort.  Since then, we have had a few conversations around the idea of what is comforting/comfortable vs. what is uncomfortable/discomforting.  I have a few mind-maps they worked on and some questions around the theme that I will upload and share later.

We did one activity on Monday- we are working on quick performances (which is completely out of my comfort zone, both in teaching and in general).  The image below came about after a discussion on "actions of physical discomfort"- these students don't feel comfortable in confined spaces with others.  They don't look so uncomfortable, but I am super excited about the idea of documenting these quick actions with my students.


  1. What a great concept to explore! Discomfort is everywhere. Looking back, being uncomfortable was such a huge part of being in school – from small things to big things. I felt terribly uncomfortable with public speaking and felt what seemed to be equally uncomfortable figuring out how to balance everything on my lunch tray in front of the entire school. I felt awkward listening to fellow students who I perceived to have a difficult time speaking in front of a class. I was totally uncomfortable sharing personal experiences, but felt incredibly rewarded when I was able to do so in a safe and comforting environment. Your students are so lucky that you are willing to open this door and explore such a possibly awkward, challenging and rewarding concept! I really look forward to hearing more about this!

  2. This seems to me to be an AMAZING theme.
    1) Keep building on the theme of performative discomfort and photography
    2) Do some drawing while being hindered--long stick,wrong hand, upside down under tables (Be Michelangelo?)
    3) Autobiographical--develop a worksheet to help students think about all sorts of discomforts and discomfortable situations

    Great beginning.