What is it?
Alexander Technique in Autobiography [ATA] offers an opportunity for pupils, students and teachers to reflect on how the Technique has entered their lives and how their lives, in turn, have affected their experience of the Technique.
It does this by providing a place for people to tell their stories and if they want, have them heard by others. The platform is currently under construction: this page articulates the vision behind the ATA Project.
ATA celebrates the human and individual; it celebrates subjectivity and the sharing of experience; it values truth and honesty.
ATA stories are a primarily a resource in their own right: The ATA Project is not driven by a research agenda. These stories about the Alexander experience are of immediate interest and value. In both writing and reading them there is much to be learned.
But, undoubtedly, ATA stories have the potential to be analysed or interpreted collectively, drawing out common threads or meanings. The story-telling framework has been designed with this in mind. For example, it offers a number of predefined questions that narrators can respond to if they want. This can make it easier to collect together stories that touch on common themes and issues.
Why do it?
Telling stories provides an opportunity for reflection. As a narrator, you can, for example, deepen your understanding of yourself, of the Alexander Technique, of teaching and learning practices. Telling a story can also be emotionally enriching. It can help the narrator affirm who they have become, where they have come from, what they have learned, what they are capable of. The process can offer catharsis, the opportunity to express what has been long left unsaid.
Narrators can also derive satisfaction from knowing that their stories will enrich the wider community (as described in the next section).
- Narrators can view all the stories in the ATA Collection (except those flagged for the ATA Research Project team only). This means you can read stories that are flagged for internal publication within the ASO website and are not available to the wider world.
- Narrators can participate in the ATA online forum on the ASO website, where they can share their ATA experiences with other ATA authors.
Making a contribution
Alexander Technique in Autobiography has been created because it benefits not just the individual narrator but the wider Alexander community. ATA stories have the potential to
- encourage others to reflect further on their own experiences, helping deepen self-understanding
- highlight issues in teaching practice or training environments that need addressing; they may help improve professional standards
- alleviate the sense that others may have of thinking that they alone have struggled with a particular issue
- recount practical techniques that others can adopt or adapt
- illuminate Alexander concepts and help deepen an understanding of the Alexander Technique
- throw light on the history of the Alexander Technique
- inspire others to persevere, to change their views, to adopt new approaches.
The stories belong to the narrator - always
The stories collected through ATA always belong to the people who tell them.
They can be revised, removed from the website or updated with new developments and insights as and when the narrator see fit.
At the narrator's discretion, stories can be
- made generally available to the public;
- made accessible only to other narrators; or
- can be restricted to the ATA editorial team.
A narrator can choose to be identified or stories can be published anonymously. The only proviso is that all stories added to the website are accepted on the basis that a licence has been granted to Alexander Studies Online to process or quote them, always anonymously, as part of the ATA Research Project. This permission persists even after the story may have been removed from the website or revised.
The copyright of a story remains with the narrator and material will only be published by Alexander Studies Online in accordance with licences granted to it (which includes the default licence described above). See our Copyright Policy for a fuller description of copyright on the ASO website.
ATA Editors have the right to deny publication to any material that might be considered offensive or libellous.
Narrators have the option to grant ATA Editors permission to correct spelling mistakes or obvious grammatical errors.
Currently the ATA platform is geared towards stories in the English language. The option to handle contributions in other languages will be actively explored when the English-language version is stable and proven.
Routes to contribute
The website is designed to accept stories directly using simple what-you-see-is-what-you-get editing tools.
However, narrators may also opt to contribute their material as MS Word documents or in other formats that would allow copying and pasting into the website.
If there are sufficient resources, the possibility exists of interviewing narrators and transcribing the interviews. Given that this is so much more resource intensive this cannot be a priority.
Whilst the emphasis is on the autobiographical and the personal, the ATA platform allows the collection of historical material i.e. accounts of important events that may draw upon information received from third parties or from documentary sources, or reminiscences of significant individuals and what they may have said about their own lives.
Such contributions are welcomed.
A permanent testimonial
Alexander Technique in Autobiography is not a time-limited project. It is intended as a permanent testimonial and monument to the individuals who contribut to it and to the Alexander Technique.