[Featured image of statue, Port Elizabeth, South Africa, copyright 2014, with permission from pixabay dot com]
CONFERENCE IN SOUTH AFRICA — OCTOBER 2019
There is much anticipation and pleasure in knowing that our week long Conference near Port Elizabeth, Republic of South Africa is very much on the horizon.
IAVMT has been holding annual, latterly bi-annual Conferences since 2001. Gathering together in many different countries over the years, we have found the Conferences invaluable, revitalising and stimulating: totally necessary in our connection with each other, our way of working and its development.
We are an international organisation and the places where we have held Conference reflects this: the first being in London UK in 2001. Since then we have met in Martha’s Vineyard USA, Colorado, Vermont, Austria, Australia, Norfolk UK, Toronto, Canada, and Outshoorn, Republic of South Africa – our first visit to South Africa.
Because we are so widespread as an organisation, keeping in touch via the internet of course, meeting in person and actively sharing ideas is hugely important and spurs on the development of Voice Movement Therapy (VMT). Within the Conference melting pot we can have the invaluable active experience of individual practitioner’s ways of approaching and using VMT core principles and in this embodied and envoiced way we can challenge and expand our understanding. This is vital in revitalising and developing our own work, always seeking to deepen and develop as practitioner.
There is much opportunity for sharing issues together in peer supervision. The week also incorporates the AGM at which grounding resolutions and decisions are clarified, minuted and implemented. There is always lively and important discussion too as to how we can find and negotiate setting up places and situations where we can offer this liberating voice, body, psyche experience to individuals and groups.
The Conference is a platform for our dreaming as individuals and as an organisation. Relationships and collaborations are forged and re-ignited and we get to witness the growth of our work, our colleagues and of ourselves.
All Conferences have been a nourishing mix of workshops, illuminating talks and discussions, much singing and vocal sounding of course, partying and sightseeing—enjoying life, our voices and the liberating atmosphere of the places and being together.
Over the years some of the varied activities and offerings have included advanced individual Sphere work and vocal timbres; dynamic, authentic movement and voice in Self exploration and transformation; calling and connecting more deeply with our own voices; re- membering ourselves with laments and lullabies. We have delved into our own psyche with fairy tales, myths and archetypes; connected with subpersonalities with movement, vocal art, creative writing and drawing . We’ve explored voice in Contact Improvisation and shared the process and outcomes of ground-breaking case studies and been enthralled by reports of practitioners’ work in places such as Cambodia where song has been revitalised with huge input from one VMT Practitioner.
We’ve benefited from opportunity and guidance to improvise and compose our own songs—and to sing and share these and the many that practitioners have composed.
Our Conferences have provided us with a space for connecting with the invisible, unconscious and other than human worlds, sometimes along with shamanic practices as we explore VMT core principles ever more deeply.
We have experienced and learnt how to voice different song genres, such as yodelling, blues, folk. On several occasions, increasingly often, we have lead community singing and given public performances.
In the last few years we have begun organising Open Days to present aspects of VMT to the public. There have been talks about the effectiveness of VMT in working with different groups, for example: children with developmental delay; people who have self-harmed; and individuals in clinical rehabilitation. Practitioners share their work with different healing disciplines, which interface well with VMT and provide adjunctive elements: Alexander technique, Gestalt, and aspects of Trauma work for instance.
The possibilities are manifold and the experience rich and diverse.
We look forward with a deep sense of vitality and hope to.
“GATHERING, GARNERING, GROWING”
Our South African conference, October – November 2019
by Veronica Phillips, VMTR and Gina Holloway-Mulder, VMTR
For more information visit our website at www.iavmt.org .