• Barbara A Bickel Southern Illinois University Carbondale
  • R. Michael Fisher Worklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Alberta




Arts-based inquiry, therapeutic medical intervention, Nature, trance-based inquiry, wit(h)nessing


This arts-based co-inquiry engages the intersection of the Western medical-based world/reality and the Natural world/reality. To bridge these worlds the co-authors utilize a spiritual-based trance-formative practice using trance and arts-based inquiry. Instigated by a diagnosis and open-heart surgery of one of the co-authors, the purpose of their project is to offer an example of how a relational approach embracing Nature and art within a connective aesthetic of co-inquiry can offer deep healing and renewal. This spirit healing transcends the physical recovery from the medical intervention, extending a fearful experience into a gift of fearlessness. The writing weaves theoretical, dialogical script, images and poetic texts with an invitation to experience an eight minute art video that includes poetic voice, improvised vocal sounding, visual art and narrative reflection. The story explores the areas of intimate wit(h)nessing, therapeutic resilience and transformative learning at the physical, emotional and spiritual levels.

Author Biographies

Barbara A Bickel, Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Barbara Bickel, Ph.D. is an artist, researcher, and educator currently practicing in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. She co-founded Studio M*: A Research Creation Lab Intersecting Arts, Culture and Healing in 2017 and is an Associate Professor of Art Education, Emeritas at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, USA. Her creative research interests include arts-based research, trance-based inquiry, collaboration, socially engaged art, connective aesthetics, spirituality, feminism, and restorative and transformative learning. She co-edited the book Arts-Based & Contemplative Practices in Research & Teaching and is co-founder and current Editor in Chief of the book series Arts-Based Educational Research with Springer Press. She is also co-founder and co-editor of Artizein: Arts and Teaching Journal

R. Michael Fisher, Worklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Alberta

R. Michael Fisher, Ph.D. is an Adjunct Faculty, Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Alberta and co-founder of Studio M*: A Research Creation Lab Intersecting Arts, Culture and Healing www.studiom.space and founder of the The Fearology Institute http://fearlessnessmovement.ning.com.

He is a Canadian philosopher, artist, educator and fearologist, having studied and written extensively on fear from a transdisciplinary perspective for three decades. He is author of numerous books, including The World's Fearlessness Teachings and Fearless Engagement of Four Arrows: The True Story of an Indigenous-based Social Transformer. In 2018 he founded and is senior editor of the International Journal of Fear Studies.


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How to Cite

Bickel, B. A., & Fisher, R. M. (2020). HEART OF THE MOUNTAIN: A NATURE, ARTS, AND TRANCE-BASED INTERVENTION INTO A MEDICAL CRISIS. Art/Research International: A Transdisciplinary Journal, 5(2), 425–451. https://doi.org/10.18432/ari29471