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Sarah Eliza Kelly

MPhil work

My practice-based research explores ways of coming into an active empathetic relationship with the world through the practice of radical empathy, a receptively expanded means of ‘being-with’. It emerges from the fundamental acknowledgement that we live in precarious ecological times and are in need of collaborative survival strategies if we are to continue taking refuge on the Earth. 


The geo-political decisions and relative socio-economic lifestyle choices of the Global North warm the atmosphere, melting ice caps and causing severe weather changes to fatal effect. My research looks for ways of bringing movement to the sense of affectual overwhelm that can occur in response to attempts to engage with the enormity of this information. It suggests that collective amnesias and detachments, as strategies of defence, are in turn supported by our current cultural narratives. Such narratives, culturally specific stories largely presented as universal truths, lack explicit affirmations of the reciprocal nature of interconnectivity. Instead they perpetuate a mythic, anthropocentric divide between liveliness and inertia centred around the concept of productivity. 


In response, my research seeks to explore and reframe the assemblages of reciprocation between beings (both human and non-human) and matter (material and non-material alike) through the lens of radical empathy. Consequently, it asks what it could mean to embody micro-political acts and attitudes of empathy, and how in turn they might inform our modes of survival and reparation, including the stories we tell to sustain them.  

Info

  • Sarah Eliza Kelly
  • MPhil

    School

    School of Arts & Humanities

    Programme

    Print–

  • My practice-based research explores ways of coming into an active empathetic relationship with the world through the practice of radical empathy, a receptively expanded means of ‘being-with’. It emerges from the fundamental acknowledgement that we live in precarious ecological times and are in need of collaborative survival strategies if we are to continue taking refuge on the Earth. 


    The geo-political decisions and relative socio-economic lifestyle choices of the Global North warm the atmosphere, melting ice caps and causing severe weather changes to fatal effect. My research looks for ways of bringing movement to the sense of affectual overwhelm that can occur in response to attempts to engage with the enormity of this information. It suggests that collective amnesias and detachments, as strategies of defence, are in turn supported by our current cultural narratives. Such narratives, culturally specific stories largely presented as universal truths, lack explicit affirmations of the reciprocal nature of interconnectivity. Instead they perpetuate a mythic, anthropocentric divide between liveliness and inertia centred around the concept of productivity. 


    In response, my research seeks to explore and reframe the assemblages of reciprocation between beings (both human and non-human) and matter (material and non-material alike) through the lens of radical empathy. Consequently, it asks what it could mean to embody micro-political acts and attitudes of empathy, and how in turn they might inform our modes of survival and reparation, including the stories we tell to sustain them.