Global Impact Stories

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Peace Education and Open Floor movement practice

Author Hanne Tjersland with UN mission

Hanne Tjersland graduated from the MA Program for Peace Studies in Innsbruck in 2016. She is now an Open Floor movement practice teacher and a Ph.D. candidate in peace studies with Open Floor as her research focus at Universidad Jaume I in Castelló de la Plana, Spain. 

“I grew up in Norway, considered one of the most peaceful countries in the world. Growing up, however, I experienced a lot of ‘unpeace’. I sensed how people around me were unable to embrace and connect with themselves. There was a lot of fear, judgment, blame, and guilt. I experienced this first-hand, which also affected my own relationship with myself and created a lot of trauma.

I started to heal this trauma and re-discover a deep sense of self-trust through a variety of embodied practices. When I finally found Open Floor, I found a way to move and play with these painful parts of myself, both on and off the dance floor. 

As a  peace worker, peace researcher, and peace educator I am committed to offering Open Floor movement practice as a powerful resource for peace.

Peace education includes, amongst other things, the creation of spaces where new possibilities for, understanding of and relations to peace(s) can be discovered, explored, reflected upon, experienced, and chosen. In this context, the Open Floor curriculum is particularly helpful to explore the many ‘small peaces’ that continuously emerge, re-shape and shift in our everyday lives. Just as the dance floor is a powerful environment to explore the dynamic interplay between ourselves as embodied and relational human beings.

Rather than viewing peace as a universal concept, peace is understood as a dynamic (ever-changing, plural and never-ending), holistic and relational fabric. In Open Floor movement practice we are not looking for eternal and universal peace but rather navigating between inquiries into the different dynamics, layers, and relations that change with every moment of one’s life. When we regularly practice moving with constant change we can learn to more fully embrace the wholeness of ourselves, others, and life.

One of the key aspects of peace is our human ability to embrace change and continuous re-creation. All humans carry an innate capacity to embrace the messiness, contradictions, and ‘shadows’ they and others carry. This is what allows us to powerfully keep unfolding small peaces every day on this planet.

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