Collaborative Science Lab: What is possible using Theory U and Social Presencing Theater in Science

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When Andrea Chlopczik, from Zurich’s ZHAW School of Applied Sciences, asked “How can emerging methods of embodied inquiry help in scientific work?” we decided to find out.  

You are invited to join us at Swissnex on Pier 17 in San Francisco for this workshop, hosted in collaboration with two senior Social Presencing Theater (SPT) teachers and facilitators. Mery Miguez and Andrea Chlopczik,  have designed this unique learning opportunity for scientists, leaders and change-makers in the scientific sector to explore ways they can make their working teams ‘work’ and what it might take to transform science for what’s possible, today, in addressing our most challenging problems.
Theory U is a method and approach in changing complex systems.  It has been applied in healthcare, educational settings and governmental reform efforts. One consistent theme we keep hearing in the science sector is the need to explore how we can conduct science better together. We think Theory U can help us do that.


“The question comes up how to communicate the essence of our projects in a way that transforms and heightens the quality of collective awareness and action, this is why we have started to experiment with a new synthesis between theater, embodied presence, dialogue, stillness and presencing, it’s called Social Presencing Theater”.Otto Scharmer.

In this two day workshop you will be introduced to Theory U and Social Presencing Theater, a body-based method for integrating thinking, feeling and intention (head, heart and hand). Developed as a social technology of Theory U, SPT helps you tune in to alternative ways of knowing, including the physical intuition of the body and the collective wisdom of the community. Through simple, mindful movement practices, SPT helps expand your point of view so that you can better access current reality and the highest potential of the future. Social Presencing Theater can produce sudden insights on how to bring about positive change in your life, work, and the world around you.


In our work with scientists we observed that a change of paradigm in "how" the scientific enterprise works is needed. It has become very clear that "business as usual" is not sufficient in these complex times. We realized that our individual Self (in relationship) is our most effective tool for making innovation and profound change possible.
Our aim in this workshop is to explore the place where that “relationship” emerges - through integrating intelligence and compassion with the capacity for action and it’s leveraging impact for meaningful change.
Social Presencing Theater is an emerging art form developed by Arawana Hayashi that explores the creative potential of Theory U.  SPT is one arm of the Presencing Institute, founded by Otto Scharmer and based out of MIT.  It is a global network of people engaged in social change projects using Theory U.
“Social presencing” is collective awareness that allows the wisdom of the group to arise. The root meaning of the word “theater” is a “place for viewing” or making visible the deeper patterns in the collective.  It can be defined as a "place of enactment of significant events or actions." That is how, as a method, SPT allows a community to see its patterns and relationships to enable that community to collectively see itself and enact its emerging future, moving into saner and healthier choices.
This framework opens the door to an innovative approach to collaboration.


"An SPT session is like a human sculpture, in which members of the organization arrange themselves as a model of the system they work within. They are assigned to play the part of one another onstage, and to stand and move in ways that evoke the unspoken but real tensions and connections of the enterprise. Suddenly, they see who’s not communicating with whom (but needs to be), which supposed allies (who claim to share the same goals) actually oppose each other, and where the isolation and frustration points prevent high-performance work from getting done". Arawana Hayashi. 

What you will learn and experience:
We will explore and strengthen key capacities for change-makers and leaders such as:

Strengthening your own inner ground and connecting with the deeper purpose of your work

Nurturing and tuning your Self to become your most effective tool

Embracing and leveraging ‘not knowing’ as a competence for catalyzing change and innovation

Transform areas or domains that are stuck and thus creating the state of flow in self and social systems

Learning how to embody an emerging future for yourself and in working with your teams, (presencing)

Seeing and acting from the field and larger whole (field- and awareness-based insights and choices)


Logistics and Cancellations:
Day one: October 12, 2017 – 9 am to 5 pm
Day two: October 13, 2017 – 9 am to 4 pm
Meals are not included. Please dress comfortably so that it is easy to move.
The amount paid (minus a $50 cancellation/processing fee) will be refunded for all cancellations received in writing before October 5, 2017. No refunds will be granted after that.

Faculty: Mery Miguez


Mery Miguez is a Social Presencing Theater (SPT) teacher and arts facilitator, meditation teacher and changemaker. She is also a certified Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP Marin) practitioner. Her personal arts practice is theater clowning.
Her passion is to facilitate transformative learning experiences, where groups get in touch with their highest potential through accessing individual and collaborative creativity. In her experience, she finds that when we are able to tap into the collective awareness in the present moment, as a society we are able to sense what wants to emerge in the next moment. The result of this is profound innovation.
Mery’s unique approach has been shaped by her lifelong journey to find the core from where we humans express the very best of ourselves. She loves finding ways to support people to open up to their gifts and be more of who they really are, helping people become co-creators of the world they want to live in. Mery is convinced that as each of us finds our place in the puzzle of life, society becomes more whole.
A native of Argentina, Mery moved to New York City in 1997 to pursue her love for acting and theater. For the last 15 years, she has had a professional career in contemplative practices which includes teaching meditation and hosting meditation retreats and workshops. In 2014, she completed her studies of Advanced Social Presencing Theater under the auspices of the Presencing Institute at MIT with Arawana Hayashi and Otto Scharmer. Mery Miguez is part of a small global team of 14 approved Social Presencing Theater teachers and facilitators. For the full list and to learn more about SPT, click here. She has been involved in hosting and facilitating several U-Labs, both in person and virtually (in English and in Spanish) since the launch of the first MOOC in January of 2015. In the past 2 years she has been engaging in bringing these tools into the scientific sector, working as a facilitator and program designer for ReImagine Science.
What she loves most about Social Presencing Theater is that it’s a methodology that embraces embodiment and presencing as it applies to leadership, creative arts, systems thinking, Theory U and mindfulness-awareness practices, all of which form the backbone of Mery’s approach in working with individuals and groups.
Currently, she lives in San Fancisco with her partner.

Andrea Chlopczik

Andrea is a coach, facilitator, teacher. She holds degrees in Applied Psychology and in German and American Language and Literature. Her work with individuals and groups is based on the framework of Theory U and Presencing, exploring how our inner condition informs the way we express ourselves in relationships with others. Her intention as an occupational psychologist is to contribute to growth and wellbeing of individuals, teams and organisations.
Andrea was born in Germany, near Frankfurt. She has been living in Switzerland with her Swiss partner since 2007. Her professional journey started as a director’s assistant at the theater and lead her through various stages in bookselling and at publishing houses. She then redirected her focus to the business world and did editing and communication work for business consulting firms before she started her career as a coach and teacher of psychological basics in communication for business consultant. By earning her masters degree in applied psychology and by learning from her experiences in her various professional fields, Andrea added the more systemic view to the perspective of the change maker in her organizational development work. She teaches basics of systems thinking and change management at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences.
As a practitioner of Social Presencing Theater SPT Andrea is exploring more deeply the way individuals connect to each other and how they co-create results in their social systems. She is interested in the visible and invisible patterns which are holding together social fields of any kind.


  1. swissnex Pier 17, Suite 800, San Francisco, CA