My research focuses on performance and technology. Tracing the word technology as it develops through the words techné, technology, technical, technique and information technology, I am interested in how we do, what we do, when we do, what we do. I work with performing artists, athletes, leaders, governments, companies, and anyone who is interested in improving performance. I am often asked how I got into this type of work. It took a lot of time, but it now seems like one long path.
For as long as I can remember I have been interested in one question, “how do we live a good life?” Good life in the philosophical sense means trying to find what we are most capable of doing, then developing that area, and attempting to use your skills and training in service of others. By focussing on that question, I began to be known as someone who could help people with their work. It started by helping with problems, but changed into an emphasis on improved performance.
My PhD was a study looking at how meaning has changed throughout time. I looked at the transformation from manuscript culture to book culture, then compared it with the more recent changes when we moved from book to digital. It took a lot of extra work to do, and required a larger than normal committee, but it was a wonderful experience. I think you could call that work, “how do we do meaning?” It was a study of the technology of ideas.
Once I started working as an English professor, I kept studying. I love taking courses to keep learning. During that process, I started taking more courses in Drama, and some people at The University of Calgary convinced me that I should do an MFA. MFA’s are terminal degrees the way MBAs are, so it was no easy undertaking, but once again it was thrilling. My focus there was directing, but I think you could call it “how do we perform meaning?” It was a study of ideas in action.