SEAE Seminar Series: July 2021. Matrixial Eco Gnosis, with Associate Professor Barbara Bickel

Matrixial Eco Gnosis: Restoring Reciprocal Relations Through Art, Ritual and Trance-Based Inquiry - click here to view the recording

Associate Professor Barbara Bickel, Associate Professor of Art Education Emerita at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, USA


This presentation draws from a particular kind of knowledge that is heart-based and snake-based. For too long we have been unconsciously entranced by colonizing forces that have suppressed our connection with nature, intuitive knowing and creative impulses. Through sacred artworking, ritual and trance processes taking place in site-specific locations we can learn from and be guided by nature. Bracha L. Ettinger’s matrixial understanding of the art-making process of artworking “is to be humbled in the presence of spirit’s incarnation. Artworking is a process of encountering and breaking ourselves open to the lifeforce of the other….as a work of mourning [it] opens to grief and its companion mystery” (Bickel, 2020, p.4). I hold the desire that my artworkings will aesthetically and ethically awaken others to enter a matrixial alliance to reclaim their own inherent trance state abilities. Consciously entering trance opens possibilities for unlearning and learning. Unfolding an art, ritual and “trance-based inquiry” (Bickel, 2020), I will share an essay that dwells with eco gnosis and steps into the mystery of a 10 minute co-poietic art video I created that is entitled Eco Gnosis.

Bickel, Barbara (2020). Art, Ritual and Trance Inquiry: Arational Learning in an Irrational World. Palgrave MacMillan.


Barbara Bickel is an artist, researcher, writer, teacher and Emerita Faculty of Art Education, Southern Illinois University. She co-founded and currently co-directs Studio M*: A Collaborative Research Creation Lab Intersecting Arts, Culture & Healing in Canada where she teaches art as an inquiry process and engages socially-engaged art practices with the human and the more-than-human world. Her research interests include arts-based inquiry, a/r/tography as ritual, trance-based inquiry and learning, collaboration, socially-engaged art, matrixial theory, feminist spirituality, and restorative and transformative learning. She has published articles and book chapters widely in fields such as art education, curriculum, mothering studies, and visual art. Her art and performance rituals have been exhibited internationally and she is a co-founder and active member of the Gestare Art Collective (2009-). She is author of Art, Ritual and Trance Inquiry: Arational Learning in an Irrational World, co-editor of the book Arts-Based and Contemplative Practices in Research and Teaching, and co-editor/curator of Artizein: Arts and Teaching Journal. To learn more about her art and writing see:

The Sustainability, Environment, the Arts and Education (SEAE) Research Cluster is globally recognised for enacting profound change in/through transdisciplinary environmental and Arts education research that disrupts and generates new ways of being and becoming, which provokes dynamic responses to critical local-global calamities.

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SEAE Seminar Event

Date and time

From: 09:00 AM Thursday, July 22, 2021 To: 10:00 AM Thursday, July 22, 2021