Physical Spaces

Audio version of the text on this page, read by the author

One important invitation I wish to offer is to think critically — constructively — about the physical spaces we all will occupy this week. Just because we aren’t meeting together in one place, we often overlook the fact that we each still occupy a place. Since every online experience sits atop our embodied experience, I want to acknowledge the importance of our physical spaces while engaging in an online environment. I invite you to deliberately find ways to attend to your embodied needs. This can look like clearing a cluttered desk, making plans to have water close at hand, requesting periods of quiet time from those who share your space, going for outdoor walks (if safe and permitted where you are, considering lockdown restrictions and whatnot), or blocking out restful parts of the day where you’ll intentionally step away from the screen. DHSI moved online because we value your wellbeing, and that intention carries over into the digital event and this course. Please take care of yourself.

At the same time, I recognize that our spaces are different and can present challenges. Kids, pets, elders, through-the-ceiling neighbors, Internet connection strength, meal-prep responsibilities, and more will inflect our experiences — for some subtly, for others deeply. We may not all have the privilege of eliminating distractions or stepping out for a walk, for example. I trust, however, that there are proactive metaphorical steps, often modest, each of us can take to set ourselves up for a more successful week. Please take those steps as you see fit.

Lastly, as with the rest of this course, I intend no pressure. There may be something to gain from this thought exercise (including solidarity with future students who may benefit from considering how they, too, arrange their own spaces), but there is no mandate involved here. As always, I encourage you to reflect on what best meets your needs in the moment. Please feel free to reach out — to me (Chris) or to your colleagues — if you have any questions or want support.