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Empathy Lab

Understanding Culture
Through Embodiment

3 minute

Highlight Reel

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Empathy Lab creates an exchange between theater arts and ethnography to increase critical experiential approaches to storytelling.


Theater artists train physically and creatively to enable intuitive movement and action, while anthropologists generally train through theoretical frameworks.


Empathy Lab trains all participants to investigate content through physical, ensemble based devising processes, as well as, critical research.


Participants increase practical fieldwork skills and explore innovative means for theoretical and artistic expression.


Observation is Communal

“to describe an ethnographic ‘ fact ’ is also to describe the situation of

intercommunication, by

taking into account all the partners involved, including the ethnographer.”

--Jeanne FavretSaada

Stories build Insight


“You are an explorer . You understand that every time you go into the studio, you are after something that does not yet exist.”

--Anna Deavere Smith


Collaboration creates Empathy

“We are debris arrangers. Equipped with what we have inherited, we try to make a life, make a living and make art. We are assemblers. We forge received parts into meaningful compositions.”

--Anne Bogart


Experiments enable Innovation

“great works of literature either dissolve a genre or invent one.”

--David Shields





Lochlann Jain is a scholar and artist, and the author of three books. 



Choreographer /Director

Krista DeNio is an interdisciplinary choreographer, director, performer, writer and educator. Artistic Director of KD>>Moving Ground, she is committed to engaging interdisciplinary collaboration that bridges performance work, education and activism toward a socially just world. Current projects include EchoTheaterSuitcase and NETWORK. Krista has been an Artist Facilitator with Skywatchers and ABD productions, creating performance work, and engaging advocacy and community building with residents of San Francisco’s Tenderloin district. She is a House Artist at CounterPulse and a member of the International Interdisciplinary Artist Consortium. As a lecturer, she has worked most recently with U.C. Berkeley’s Theater, Dance and Performance Studies department, and as a visiting professor and collaborator in Empathy Lab, a course developed in collaboration with Anthropology professor Lochlann Jain, at Stanford University. Krista teaches dance and performance making throughout the Bay Area and country.She received her BA in Dance/Dramatic Art and I.S.F. [Development and Human Rights] from U.C. Berkeley and her MFA in Theater: Contemporary Performance from Naropa University. 

Reach Out!

Lochlann Jain
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