Speakers’ Biographies

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We are thrilled to present the biographies of the invited speakers for this virtual symposium. 

Harlene Anderson, Ph.D., is recognized internationally as being at the leading edge of postmodern-social construction informed collaborative-dialogic practices. First developed for use with families and mental health systems, Harlene’s approach has proven effective in encouraging successful problem-solving, increasing competence, and achieving sustainable outcomes within organizations, businesses, higher education, research, and daily life.

As a creative thinker, author, therapist, consultant, coach, and educator, she takes her tools worldwide to help others create new possibilities and astonishing results for their clients, organizations, and themselves. She embodies her own belief in learning as a lifelong process, encouraging and challenging people to be inquisitive, creative, authentic, and open to the ever-present possibilities for newness in others–and in themselves.
More about Harlene at http://www.taosinstitute.net.com/harlene-anderson and at http://harleneanderson.org.

Saliha Bava, Ph.D., focuses on performative methodologies, dialogue as socially just, hyperlinked identities and relational play as part of her activism where she questions the dominant discourses of research methodology, social justice, identity, and mental health. She runs a virtual Play Lab in NYC where she explores generative relational play practices for a richly hued life! She is currently focused on relational intelligence and creative designing for living, leading, and learning.

 Saliha is an Associate Professor of Marriage and Family Therapy at Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry, NY. She serves on the Board of the International Certificate Program in Collaborative-Dialogic Practices; on the advisory board of Taos Institute; and as a doctoral advisor for the Taos PhD and Diploma Programs. She is an AAMFT Approved Supervisor and served on the Board of American Family Therapy Academy (2012-2017). As the Director of Research with the International Trauma Studies Program, NYC, she offers training on community engagement and has researched theater, community resiliency, and psychosocial practices. She is the co-author of “The Relational Book for Parenting” which draws on her research and practice of relational play.

For 20+ years, she has consulted, designed, and implemented performative/play-based and dialogic processes with organizational, community, family, learning, and research systems. She embraces living as processes of improvised inquiry. Learn more http://www.taosinstitute.net/saliha-bava and at salihabava.com.

Kristin Bodiford is Principal of Community Strengths and brings over 20 years of strategic planning, engagement, and communication experience to her work with communities, offering skills and expertise in working with groups of people and organizations to create a positive future. Kristin’s background in working with communities using dialogue models and other transformative strategies brings a unique blend of expertise to her work supporting community and systems planning for positive change. Kristin’s research interest focuses on how tapping into and strengthening our relational resources helps us to propel social innovation.
More about Kristin: http://www.taosinstitute.net/kristin-bodiford

Celiane Camargo-Borges, Ph.D. I’m a lecturer, researcher and practitioner working at the interface of psychology, health/wellbeing, education, process design/experience design and community building/organization development. My work focuses on relational forms of practices that enable the creation of environments where more effective means of collaboration and decision-making are enhanced.

I consider myself a transdisciplinary professional. With my interdisciplinary background, combined with my cross cultural experience, I am engaged in blurring disciplinary boundaries and integrating different ways of knowing to help tackle complex matters. Currently, I am faculty at Breda University of Applied Sciences as well as a country specialist at KIT/Intercultural Professionals, Amsterdam, consulting and training professionals working in an international environment. To know more about the projects I am involved with and my publications, please go to: www.designingconversations.us
More about Celiane: http://www.taosinstitute.net/celiane-camargo-borges

Ronald J. Chenail, Ph.D., is Associate Provost, Professor of Family Therapy, and Director of the Graduate Certificate in Qualitative Research Program at Nova Southeastern University (NSU). He founded The Qualitative Report (TQRhttp://nsuworks.nova.edu/tqr/), the world’s first online, open-access trans-disciplinary qualitative research journal in 1990, and remains the journal’s editor-in-chief. He also serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Divorce and Remarriage (Taylor & Francis; http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/wjdr20/current).
More about Ronald: http://www.taosinstitute.net/ron-chenail

Jan DeFehr, MSW, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Winnipeg. Informed by two decades as a social worker/counsellor in “youth corrections” and community health settings, Jan’s central teaching and research focus involves publicizing the extensive interdisciplinary critique of mental health/psychiatry in educational and healthcare contexts. Influenced by the dialogic emphasis on withness, answerability, and responsivity, Jan facilitates dialogically-structured social inquiry as an alternative to methodologically-driven qualitative research. She is currently working with colleagues from the Kanankil Institute in Mérida, Mexico to co-author a book featuring the dialogic inquiry processes of two outstanding Kanankil Masters’ theses.
More about Jan: http://www.taosinstitute.net/jan-defehr

Carolyn Ellis is distinguished university professor emerita of communication and sociology at the University of South Florida (USF). She has established an international reputation for her contributions to the narrative study of human life. Having published extensively in qualitative methods, storytelling, emotions, and loss and trauma, she integrates ethnographic, literary, and evocative writing in short stories, research articles, and documentaries to portray and make sense of lived experience in cultural context. She is best known as an originator and developer of autoethnography, a reflexive approach to research, writing, and storytelling that connects the autobiographical and personal to the cultural, social, and political. Seeking to do research that has the possibility of improving human lives and enhancing social justice, she currently is engaged with survivors of the Holocaust in collaborative and compassionate interviews guided by a relational ethics of care.
More about Carolyn: http://www.taosinstitute.net/carolyn-ellis

Kenneth J. Gergen, Ph.D., is a founding member, President of the Taos Institute and Chair of the Board, and the Mustin Professor of Psychology at Swarthmore College. Gergen also serves as an Honorary Professor at the University of Buenos Aires. Gergen received his BA from Yale University and his PhD from Duke University, and has taught at Harvard University and Heidelberg University. He has been the recipient of two Fulbright research fellowships, the Geraldine Mao fellowship in Hong Kong, along with Fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science, and the Alexander Humboldt Stiftung. Gergen has also been the recipient of research grants from the National Science Foundation, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, and the Barra Foundation. He has received honorary degrees from Tilburg University and Saybrook Institute, and is a member of the World Academy of Art and Science.
More about Kenneth: http://www.taosinstitute.net/kenneth-j-gergen

Jenny Helin is Associate Professor at the Department of Business Studies, Uppsala University in Sweden. Working in the areas of organization studies and philosophy, her current research investigates poetic, dialogic and imaginative understanding of organizational life. Starting with her doctoral study, entitled Living Moments in Family Meetings (2011), Helin is passionately inquiring into generative ways of developing collaborative research methods and academic writing practices.
More about Jenny: http://www.taosinstitute.net/jenny-helin

Sheila McNamee, Ph.D., is Professor of Communication at the University of New Hampshire. She is a founder, board member and vice president of the Taos Institute. Sheila is Professor in the School of Humanities at Tilburg University, The Netherlands. She is the 2001 recipient of the Class of 1944 Professorship and the 2007/2008 recipient of the Lindberg Award for outstanding Scholar/Teacher (both at the University of New Hampshire ).  Her work is focused on dialogic transformation within a variety of social and institutional contexts including psychotherapy, organizations, education, health care, and communities.
More about Sheila: http://www.taosinstitute.net/sheila-mcnamee

Monica Mulrennan, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography, Planning and Environment at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada.

She was born, raised and educated in Ireland. Her research is centred on indigenous-led strategies of environmental stewardship that draw upon indigenous institutions of knowledge and practice, and enhance local authority over decisions affecting the lives, lands, seas and resources of indigenous communities.She has worked closely with the James Bay Crees (Eeyou Istchee), in northern Quebec for more than twenty years and is currently involved in an ambitious proposal to create indigenous-led protected areas within Eeyou Istchee. She also maintains a research partnership with indigenous Torres Strait Islanders in northern Queensland, Australia, including her current project on the connections of indigenous Torres Strait Islander women to the sea.

Monica is a board member of Community-Based Research Canada (CBRC) and co-editor of a forthcoming book volume on partnerships in indigenous-led protected area planning.

Gail Simon, D. Prof. I’m Editor of a new journal, Murmurations: Journal of Transformative Systemic Practice which I co-founded to provide an opportunity for relationally reflexive practitioners to get their research published. My own doctoral research was on Writing (as) Systemic Practice and I experimented with creative, practical, and ethical ways of speaking from within my work. I teach writing in qualitative research to masters and doctoral researchers and run writing retreats. I lead the Professional Doctorate in Systemic Practice at the University of Bedfordshire which produces practitioner research and the development of contextually suited approaches to inquiry. I have co-edited two books and written several papers on practitioner research.
 More about Gail: www.beds.academia.edu/gailsimon and http://www.taosinstitute.net/gail-simon

Sally St. George, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Calgary. She also serves as the Graduate Program Director and the Director of the Couple and Family Therapy Program. In addition, she is a Family Therapist/Clinical Supervisor at the Calgary Family Therapy Centre. Sally serves on the Board of Directors for the Taos Institute as well as the Global Partnership for Transformative Social Work, as a Senior Editor of The Qualitative Report. 
 More about Sally at http://contacts.ucalgary.ca/info/sw/profiles/163-144006 and http://www.taosinstitute.net/sally-st-george

Dan Wulff, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Calgary and a family therapist and clinical supervisor at the Calgary Family Therapy Centre. His research and practice efforts center on integrating the practices of social work and family therapy, and seeing therapy as a form of research. Dan also serves on the Boards of Directors for the Taos Institute and Global Partnership for Transformative Social Work as well as serving as a Co-Editor of The Qualitative Report.  
More about Dan: http://contacts.ucalgary.ca/info/sw/profiles/163-143990 and http://www.taosinstitute.net/dan-wulff