Children's Embodied Voices: Approaching Children's Experiences Through Multi-Modal Interviewing


  • Charlotte Svendler Nielsen



phenomenology, hermeneutic phenomenology


This article focuses on a multi-modal interview approach that has been developed as part of a research project. The goal of the research was to explore and better understand children's embodied experiences and expressions in movement. The multi-modal interview approach emphasizes the non-verbal, giving children an opportunity to focus on "the felt sense" (Gendlin, 1983), and to express their experiences in a variety of forms and through the use of metaphors (Egan, 1997; Gendlin, 1983, 1997). Inspired by Arnold Mindell's (1985) work on shifting channels in our ways of experiencing the world, this paper works with an adaptation of Eugene T. Gendlin's "focusing technique" one that significantly expands Gendlin's repertoire of modalities by using drawing, colours, words, sound, music and movement. Narratives have been created using children's voices and expressions. The article includes an example of a narrative that illustrates how the approach has helped children express their movement experiences. The narrative is analysed by means of a hermeneutic phenomenological approach (van Manen, 1990), through which themes/lived meanings of the child's experiences are elucidated. The article closes with a discussion of how the multi-modal interview approach can help to cast light on the relationships between body, movement, and language, and how the approach could also inspire a somatic perspective when teaching movement and dance in schools.