Introducing the IFF Research Database Task Group


Over the past year, the IFF Research Database Task Group has been hard at work updating and improving the searchability of the articles on the Feldenkrais Method on the Zotero database which other members before us have accumulated over the years.

Please join us as we present the new updated Zotero database on
9pm Central European Daylight Time (CEDT)
Sunday 26th June 2022
Registration is via mail to iffrg-events@feldenkrais-method.org

We would like to introduce ourselves.

Name: Stéphanie Ménasé
Lives:
Paris, France
Education:
Doctor of Philosophy – Paris Sorbonne, 1999
GCFP: I have been teaching the Feldenkrais Method since January 2011.
Languages spoken: French, English

What drew me to the Feldenkrais Method [FM]
At 40, I was wanting to become more aware of the use of myself and wanted to function in whatever I was involved in at a high degree of efficacy and satisfaction. Until then, I had been practicing the Method regularly (1 to 2 hours per week for 20 years) which helped me in my daily life as a student, and then as a researcher and editor, to quickly recover ease and fluidity. I felt the FM as the discipline that most effectively allowed me to regain the ability to perform in an organized way and feel lightness again, supporting and regenerating the dynamism of my intellectual work.

How I am involved with the FM
I teach FI and ATM’s lessons with the same joy and interest (in French and in English) online and in person. Since my certification, I’ve followed many post/advanced trainings. I am involved in various study groups about the FM. For example, since December 2017, I’m an active member of the study group an AY a day, and part of the team of the teachers of the Daily Improvement Collective. For all those activities, I study the corpus of original lessons given by Moshe Feldenkrais. This enables me to deepen my understanding and experiment with the way I interact with my students or with other people using the FM. The more I work on and with the FM, the more I am touched by the universality of its scope and the intelligence that makes its effectiveness possible.

My interest in the Database Task Group
I very much like the spirit of this group (see also the description of our purpose below).
The work in which we are involved in is to organise the base of references in a clearer manner. Trying to make this reference base consistent by adopting homogeneous criteria of designation and shared categorization, makes us at the same time draw even more the contours of our discipline and the nature of our activity. This process and the observations it generates can bring us to try to define what type of research and studies would be relevant to the Feldenkrais “field” as a unique discipline.

Name: Ulrike Dengl
Lives:
A little village near Munich, Germany
Education: University diploma in sociology of knowledge, psychology and history of art, having studied in Munich and Genova.
GCFP: Heidelberg 2008-2012
Languages spoken:
German, English, French and Italian.

What drew me to the FM
As a patient after an injury of the cervical spine and head, I found relieve only thanks to osteopathic therapy, any other medical intervention was in vain. As a student of the FM, I have learnt to listen to my body. and I gradually recovered. For over 20 years now, this somatic approach has been fascinating me.
I was already attracted to contemporary dance classes that focused on principles of Mabel Todd before I knew about Feldenkrais. As well, I preferred dance classes led by Feldenkrais teachers.
Attending the Feldenkrais Teacher Training with Ulla Schläfke and Roger Russell in Heidelberg and recently also their Graduate Program, I was surprisingly thrown back into the epistemological and systemic way of thinking (that was the main focus during my studies). Practising all these philosophical thoughts in myself deepened the theoretical understanding to an incredible level.
This practical/theoretical background about Feldenkrais, together with the refined perception and the relation to meditation, support me in my life and my being as a mother of two daughters in a musical household. Circumstances made me teaching piano (I finished higher School with Music). And I am still passionately teaching thanks to the FM or, as I like to say, to the “Feldenkrais Art”.

How I am involved with the FM
Since 2010, I have been teaching Awareness Through Movement classes. I also had the interesting opportunity to teach in India twice.

My interest in the data base group
Feldenkrais for me is the most authentic, healthy, and creatively inspiring way that life can be seen in its nature and I miss this approach very often in social life. For this reason, I am contributing to the Research Program. Beyond that, it is interesting to get an overview of all the literature of the Database.

Name: Nicola Zollinger
Lives : Zurich, Switzerland
Education: Environmental System Sciences
GCFP: 2021 in Aurillac, France
Languages spoken: English, German, French

What drew me to the FM
I studied Environmental System Sciences before I began my training of the Feldenkrais Method. My interest in the Feldenkrais Method started as an intellectual interest, because in my early twenties, I started to become interested in the relationship between mind and body. When I started to read the collected essays of “Embodied Wisdom”, I knew that this is something I wanted to study further as well as to start practising in my daily life. Long story short, I finished my training in 2021 in Aurillac, France.

How I am involved with the FM
I initiated a research project, where I am conducting a comprehensive literature review in the areas of ‘Mobility and Balance’, ‘Pain’ and ‘Psychosomatics’. For each of the three topics I collect the quantitative research available to discuss and evaluate the quality and methodology of the studies. Additionally, I am doing a literature study to build a theory for the mechanisms at work that can explain the effects of ATM lessons in the three mentioned areas. I am currently member of the board of directors of the Swiss Guild.

My interest in the Database Task Group
My interest in the Database Task Group stems from my interest into research methodology in general, but as well from my belief that sound research is one pillar that is needed to advance the popularity of the Feldenkrais Method. To achieve this, a solid database is the basis from where to start to do more research and discuss the theory behind the FM.

Name: Liz Senn
Lives: Melbourne, Australia
Education: Doctor of Philosophy, Bachelor of Science, Graduate Diploma Education (Primary)
GCFP: Currently in the SEAus 3 training program (Australia) which I will complete at the start of July 2022.
Languages spoken: English, Japanese and a little Spanish

What drew me to the FM
My passion is child development, particularly brain development. While I was completing a PhD investigating the relationship between the maternal and infant gut bacteria and subsequent child cognition, I came across one of Norman Doidge’s books where he describes a little girl called Elizabeth, who was born without a third of her cerebellum, the part of the brain involved in balance. She was diagnosed as having global brain damage by two top paediatric neurologists. Her prognosis was that she wouldn’t be able to walk or talk. However, after intensive work with both Moshe Feldenkrais and Anat Baniel, she was not only able to walk, but she went on to complete two master’s degrees. I was fascinated to learn of the non-invasive way that the FM transformed Elizabeth’s life by tapping into the brain’s plastic capacities and wanted to learn more. I searched to see whether a training program was being held in Australia. I was in luck – a 5-day introductory course to the Feldenkrais Method was being held in two weeks in the neighbouring suburb, which I went to. From then I was hooked!

How I am involved with the FM
I am currently in the final stages of my training and will graduate in July of this year. I am currently practicing on my kind family and friends who generously lend me their bodies. I hope to start a practice with children as my main clientele not long after I graduate. Outside of the IFF Research steering committee and data base task group, I am also on the Australian Feldenkrais Guild’s National and Victorian committees.

My interest in the Database Task Group
I love working with this task group. The other members are such wonderful people and very knowledgeable. I wanted to contribute to the growth of the Method and the best way I could do that was by using my skills as a researcher. I agree with the other members of the task group that one way to increase acceptance in the general community is to provide scientific evidence to its efficacy and the ability to describe the underlying theory. Improving the research database’s collection of articles and searchability will facilitate future discussion and research into this Method.

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OUR AIM

The aim of our task group is to maintain and improve the searchability and functionality of the current articles in the database. It also means to transform a “catalogue” of references into a database that allows or supports search queries, and uses the functionality provided by Zotero.
The purpose of a search query may lead to pieces of information or leads for further investigation, or contain elements that could provide a better understanding or a broader or more relevant perspective on the consistency, accreditation and operability of FM.

Sources and contributions of the items/articles in the current database
The Database Task Group pays tribute to all the work that went into the current database. The foundation of the content of the Feldenkrais Studies reference database is the result of a project co-funded by the IFF to conduct a new meta-search regarding the FM in the academic library databases provided by the University of Vienna as well as a cross-check and update of the existing reference lists. The database would not be possible without the following sources and contributions by people and institutions:

  • Reference List of the Australian Feldenkrais Guild (Kim Wise, Karol Connors)
  • Zotero collection based on data from the old IFF list (Dav Clark)
  • Reference List of the German “Feldenkrais Förderverein” (Claus-Jürgen Kocka, Herbert Hollesch, Carolin Theuring)
  • Reference List of the Meta Review Study of 2015 (Susan Hillier, Anthea Worley)
  • Commented Reference List in PhD project (Wolfgang Busch)

The first IFF research list was started by former IFF Board Member Cliff Smyth in 1993, and has been managed and significantly expanded by other former Board Members, Werner Krauss and Rob Black – with contributions from Jim Stephens, Pat Buchanan, and others – over many years. The project team to create a new and updated reference database for the IFF in 2015 was comprised of Cliff Smyth, Wolfgang Säckl, Dav Clark, Jessica Taylor and Stefan Wiltschnig (as Project Coordinator).

How the current Database Task Group has furthered the work of the above mentioned people
We met each month over the past year and a half. Together, we discussed and designed a plan to make the items easy for people to search and find.
Here are some of the improvements that we have made.
Tags
Tags are labels we give to the items for the purpose of identification and to improve searchability.
Here we have thought deeply and created a rigorous criteria for classifying an item. We have created nine categories, including type of item, keywords on topic, level of evidence (scientific definition), whether the item talks about the Feldenkrais Method or uses it in a scientific study. For each category, we created multiple corresponding tags which will enable users to conduct a broad or a specific search as required. We then went through and tagged approximately 800 items individually with the new categorisation system. The tags can be combined with other possible classifications (by name, by date, by type of publication, etc.).
Abstracts
When tagging each article and we also checked whether there was an abstract and searched and added those where possible so when people conduct a search, they are able to get an idea of what the item is about without having to find and read the whole article.
Translated abstracts
If an abstract was written in a language other than English, we kept that abstract and then used DeepL to translate that abstract into English.
Web links
We added web links whenever possible. Some items have been difficult to locate.
Publication data
We have checked and updated all articles for publication data, including authors, journal name, date of publication, volume, page numbers, DOI or ISBN, and language.
Video tutorial
We are in the process of making a video tutorial on how to use the Zotero database, which we will upload onto the IFF Website to help users unacquainted with it.
Missing articles
When the new database goes up, we will be asking the community to send us any articles that are not on the database to help us complete our collection.

When will the new database be available?
The new database will be available in the coming months. We have completed the majority of the set work planned and are now in the process of ‘polishing’ it. The public will be able to search for articles, but they will not be able to add or alter existing articles.

Please join us as we present the new updated Zotero database on

9pm Central European Daylight Time (CEDT)
Sunday 26th June 2022

Some of the topics that we will cover are:

  • An introduction to the Zotero data base
  • How the articles have been tagged
  • How to search for articles
  • An overview of the types of articles in the collection

Registration is via mail to iffrg-events@feldenkrais-method.org

Hope to see you there!

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