Activity 2 : Addressing conflict through active witnessing

  • To recognise stress patterns in the body
  • To find new creative solutions to solve the conflict
  • To explore the meaning of movement expression
  • Conciliating and negotiating
  • Showing respect and consideration for others
  • Supporting others

Indoor/outdoor space with enough room to move

This activity is based on the concept of Active Witnessing, by Martha Eddy. Active witnessing combines the principles from the “Active Listening” technique, used in communication and conflict resolution contexts. Witnessing is the process from Authentic Movement that allows the unconscious feelings and processes to emerge. It can help observe, feel and imagine alternative ways to respond to a conflict situation.

  1. Individually, participants are invited to think of a conflict situation that is still meaningful for them but is not overwhelmingly intensive.
  2. After a few moments, when everyone is ready, turn to the person next to you and decide who will begin.
  3. Person A will have 1-3 minutes to share the conflict situation. After 1 minute, with the sound of the bell, person A includes movement to their verbal story. After another minute, person A continues to tell the story by only moving but stops speaking out loud for another 1-1.5 minutes.
  4. Person B then echoes back the essence of the movement story for 30 seconds.
  5. Always let participants know when there are 10 seconds left for any transition and that it’s okay if they stop mid-sentence or mid-movement.


  1. Once the movement part is completed, the pair has time to reflect and share about their experience. Partner A starts. Using “I” statements shares how the process felt for them, going through all 3 phases (sharing with words, sharing with movement and observing partner B echoing through movement). Partner B practices listening with full presence.

After a few minutes of sharing, partner B talks about their experience, also using “I” statements, focusing on their inner response.

  1. After sharing in pairs, gather in the circle for group debriefing.

This is a very basic description of Active Witnessing methodology developed by Martha Eddy - adapted for the purposes of the Erasmus+ Training Course “Non-Violent Theatre”.

Stepien K., Skorczyńska M. (2019) Non-Violent Theatre for Artivists.

How did you experience the difference between speaking about the conflict situation and moving in relation to the same situation?

Did you notice any patterns in your response to the conflict? Any sensations in your body, tension, a particular movement, tone of voice, words?

What did you observe when your partner echoed your story? How did it feel to be mirrored? Did you see anything new or surprising?

How can this experience and observation be useful and supportive of any conflict situation in the future?

This activity is an intergenerational activity considering the ways conflicts to be solved in different age groups, problem solving skills. In this sense, it is suitable for intergenerational collaborations.