Designed by Audrey Williams
The goal of the “Dancing in the Dissonance” activity is to introduce the concept of “dissonance” as a tool to build curiosity and respect for difference in shared meaning-making spaces. The activity draws on narrative and musical tools for conflict resolution to build a better understanding of how people make meaning both individually and as part of a group. By the end of the activity, participants should have a better appreciation for how curiosity, complexity, and difference relate to healthy experiences of conflict.
By working with a pre-selected song to make and share meaning around sonic representations of conflict, participants will have the chance to ponder how meaning making happens on multiple levels, including:
- on the level of the individual;
- on the level of the group; and
- on the level of the message between artist and audience.
This activity can be carried out in settings where participants already know each other as well as in settings where participants are just meeting each other for the first time. This activity involves a pre-class work expectation, and so it should be used in contexts where the facilitator has enough advance connection with participants to send pre-class materials to them.
At each stage, the activity is designed to help participants build greater appreciation for the flexibility and adaptability of meaning while also exercising their curiosity about how people can have different experiences of the same phenomena. Participants will learn how to see dissonance as an invitation to curiosity, and will walk away with an understanding of how to use curiosity to navigate difference in a generative, rather than destructive, way.