This workshop aimed to draw attention to the nature of ‘place’ as a key aspect of working in the ‘here and now’. Places have the capacity to fill us with sensory experiences and stimulate encounters with our autobiographical and procedural memories. These can influence the way that I think about my identities and the choices I have as to how I behave and bring myself to a task.
Karen introduced participants briefly to ideas on place, linking with our attachment patterns and the capacity to be curious. As a basis for discussion and activity participants worked with the question ‘Where is Tavistock?’ and drew on their associations to actual and imaginary places that the word Tavistock inhabits.
The event had a Pre-Workshop ‘walk and talk’ that began in Tavistock Square Gardens, London WC1H. Providing an opportunity to connect with the originating location of The Tavistock Institute of Medical Psychology at its Tavistock Square Clinic and to encounter shifts in place and perception brought about by nearly a century of change.
Tavistock Square Gardens, August 2017One minute to 12, midday.
We arrive, he from the east gate
me from the west, on time,
on territory, each from our different hemispheres,
thanking technologies, and a love for the work
that brings us together on this bright August day. I show him my impetuous book purchase,
we talk daughters, families, Leicester conferences
then get down to the task of being in this place, now,
noticing what, if anything it might have to say about
number 51, Tavistock Square Gardens. We meander, become flaneurs for the day,
read plaques, notice the passage of time before
conscientious objectors were memorialised,
notice the invitation to remember Hiroshima. Beyond the railings the street is paved with newer devastations,
‘life-changing’ in sanitised news-speak.
People rang that morning, Are you there? Are you safe? There are no blue plaques for Tavistock,
nothing to indicate early days, pioneers,
nothing that speaks to the common-place confrontations
and reconciliations that might be graced by change,
self with self, self with others, others with others, but that
they are gathered here, in the students and statues and us,
walking, thinking, talking about these things.
Karen Izod, with thanks to Allan Shafer
: I work as a consultant to change and professional development, concerning myself with how we can work to best effect and utilise professional judgement. This involves working with the dynamics encountered in sustaining connection with one’s self, one’s colleagues, and one’s intentions in the tasks that we undertake.For several years I have been exploring ideas about how ‘place’ informs who we are, and how we behave as organisational representatives, which is based on theories of attachment and relational psychoanalytic approaches.I am a Professional Partner of the Tavistock Institute, having co-founded and directed its Practitioner Certificate in Consulting and Change (P3C), and the Certificate in Coaching for Leadership and Professional Development (CLPD). I am also a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of the West of England.Much of my work is experiential and experimental, making use of a variety of visual and verbal media to surface thoughts and ideas. Additionally I am a poet and writer on our relatedness to landscape and the environment. I live in Guildford, Surrey, on the edges of the North Downs.