Cultivating a dwam

Exploring a dwam-state through personal reflection and participation

My curiosity in Dwam/daydream/mind-wandering has grown over the course of the past year. When I came across my primary school reports not long after beginning the MA I discovered every report card criticised my tendency to daydream. I even remember a particular incident when in the middle of gazing out of the window in a dwam, the teacher rapped me hard on my head in her annoyance - a painful reminder that my dreaming was not acceptable. As I read through the reports I wondered what might have happened if my daydreaming had been valued instead. Over the next few months I began to notice how my daydreaming was interspersed in my day to day life and began to see how it supports my art practice. Often in a dwam a new idea will come to me or complex things will become clearer. I began to realise the value it has for me and I wondered if other people experience this too. I wanted to explore this further with others and the opportunity to run a worshop came as part of the Winter School event. Below is a descriptor and outline of the workshop and also a critical reflection of the event.


Cultivating a dwam workshop


Workshop description

An invitation to join me in exploring the value and potential of a dwam (daydream) through a variety of conversation, media, and methods. Following some group discussion, you will be encouraged to spend time individually exploring what helps you to cultivate a dwam-state and to try some methods which may be new to you. Drift, attend, and be, in this gentle, exploratory workshop.


Workshop outline


Intro (5 – 10 min)

· What comes to your mind – 3 words on post-its

· Why dwam? School reports, reflective practice, curious about others experience of dwam/use of daydream

· The aim of the workshop is to provide a reflective space. It is an invitation to explore a dwam-state and its usefulness for you. it is permission and space to Daydream and mind-wander.

· Format of workshop – discussion, sharing, activity


Discussion (10 min)

· In pairs

· how do you Daydream? When? Does it provide you with anything? Do you pay attention to your daydreams?


Points (5 min)

“it's a mistake to think that daydreams are meaningless because of their content; On the contrary they often spring from deep archetypal needs and images. They lack meaning because they do not connect to anything outside themselves.” Rachel Pollack. 78 Degrees of Wisdom.

· Connecting daydreams with action/things outside of themselves, making a meaningful experience. (sharing chat will ground us in what’s important to us right now)

· Paying attention to our daydreams could be a way to build trust in ourselves and the knowledge we hold.

· sharing conversation with a partner aims to bring to forefront somethings that we are working on


Sharing chat (15 min)

· In pairs

· Share goals/ plans/ passions /challenges related to your practice

· Try to stick to discussing realistic/achievable situations


Dwam time (40 min)

· introduce available activities and why provided (activity holding the conscious mind and allowing us to look sideways at subconscious)

· open space – self-structured, experiment

· may want to add some reflective writing/note things down or may want to do 10 minutes writing at the end

· if you need to touch-base I'm available to support

· mind yourself - if getting lost in your daydream come back to your senses (5 senses). can focus on a particular subject if helpful.


Group circle (10 – 15 min)

· 2-minute chat to neighbour

· Feedback experience

· Evaluation – will send out forms by email



Critical evaluation


Which parts of the workshop did you think worked well or were helpful for participants?

o The workshop was intended to be relaxed and without pressure – an invitation to join me in exploring a dwam-state and its potential value

o Freedom for participants to do their own exploration


What could have improved the workshop for participants?

o A cozier and more comfortable workshop environment

o Access to a garden area

o More time to dwam


What could have improved the workshop for you?

o It would have helped me to be able to see the workshop space in advance in order to think carefully about how to use it.

o It would also have been great to have more participants, as it was it was scheduled for a day that not many students were not in attendance.

o Pre-planning for workshop not running to time.


What were your strengths?

o I was able to facilitate a relaxed and gentle space.

o I believe I held the workshop well with boundaried time for each section and a clear plan shared with participants.

o The activities/suggestions I had prepared were carefully thought through.


What did you learn?

o It can be tricky to reign in group sharing when people get going!

o I can come up with a plan quickly if given time to consider different constraints.

o people appreciate time to dwam.

o Facilitating a workshop is something I can do.

o I was pretty sure about how the group would cope with the workshop because of my prior knowledge of them. Each group will be different and if I was to run this again I would need to tailor it to that group, and be aware of potential challenges.


What were the challenges and how did you overcome them?

o It was challenging to not have seen the space beforehand and so I had to improvise how to use the space when I arrived.

o It wasn’t ideal to be in such a large sterile seminar room and it was a huge benefit to have a large window looking into nature

o The full workshop time as planned was not available due to waiting for participants to arrive and so I had to rework my timings meaning there was less dwam time and less group discussion at the end.

o I was nervous about facilitating but I had my workshop plan written down to keep me right and I set myself as part of the group rather than separate which helped me to feel more comfortable and levelled the power dynamic for me.


What would you do differently next time?

o I would ask participants to leave their seats and join me as I explain the activities I had laid out, as it was, a couple of participants didn’t move to see what was available and so perhaps missed the chance to try something new.

o I would extend the workshop time – it could work as a half day.


What did participants think

o Participant feedback at the end of the workshop was positive and the few feedback sheets I received were very encouraging.

o Feedback Quotes:


“A really great workshop that left me feeling very chilled out and relaxed but also quite grounded and focused”


“this has given me the chance to rethink priorities and expectations – of me towards myself, me towards others, and others towards me”

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