WELCOME & OPENING LECTURE

reallyAnke Strauß and Jacco van Uden

Starts: Thursday 11 FEB 10:00 (free entrance)

Corporate Bodies was born out of boredom. On a conference, where organisation scholars and practitioners we supposed to meet to share the latest insights of their work, the founders of Corporate Bodies found themselves in a situation, where multiple speakers (mis-)used their bodily co-presence for a seemingly never-ending performance of self-worshipping. Leaving their bodies sit there, whilst zooming out, the founders of Corporate Bodies decided not to return to the session after the break but to keep on talking about more exciting things – like movies and what one could learn about organisational life when watching them.

One of the reasons why we see the chance of learning something about organisations when watching movies has, again, something to do with our bodies. Usually, our bodies are immersed in organisations. Our bodies move in the presence, are parts of situations and this presence-in-the-moment of organisation makes it hard to gain the necessary distance for reflection.

Organisation studies fixes these moving bodies in front of the writings of textbooks and scholarly articles, losing the body on its way. Movies, too, make use of setting still our bodies to gain the necessary distance for reflection. Yet, movies are full of bodies instead of texts, bodies that ask us to be empathic, to feel with them. Hence we get to know organisational life not through a mental operation but by experiencing it. An experience that can become a ”shock to thought” as Deleuze would put it.

We consider such a shock to thought highly valuable with regard to knowledge of the organisation sphere, because despite its presence, the body is an often neglected dimension of organisational life – in research as well as in practice.

Hence this inauguration lecture is about the history of Corporate Bodies, about film as a means to address, learn and know about organisational life, contemporary issues of bodies in the organisational sphere, as well as why and how insights gained during this festival might feed back to the academic system.