Episode #109: Play and Joy through Embodied Learning with Tommaso Lana

Barbara BrayRethinking Learning Podcast

Rethinking Learning Podcast Episode 109 with Tommaso Lana

Tommaso (Tom) Lana is a performance and consulting artist, and creator of Embodied Learning. I’ve had several conversations with Tom and am excited about sharing his journey with you from growing up in Milan, about the German school, and learning several languages. 

Your background

I grew up in the early 80s in the south outskirt of Milan, Italy. When I was a child, that gray, post-industrial city, was the center of one of the worst heroin epidemics in the country.

Suddenly, public spaces became unsafe for children who, since then, had been growing up playing freely and without parental overview on the street, in playgrounds, and anywhere under the open sky. I grew up indoors, as today’s children do in the pandemic. Luckily my parents’ apartment had a terrace, which was my outdoor escape.

Moving to Germany: The interactive museum and learning about the senses

My career in the world of experiential learning started in 2005 when I left Italy. I was the manager of visitor services at “The Experience Field for the Development of the Senses” in Wiesbaden, Germany. The most memorable experience I had at that sensory interactive museum was working at the “blind cafe” along with visually impaired colleagues. If dark dining is today a fashionable concept, back in the day, it was a pioneering performance art project. As a person who is able to see, being in the condition of waiting and guiding customers in the darkness helped me to wonder about the natural ability of learning by involving physical and emotional experiences. In the darkness, I’ve rediscovered my childhood, the experiments I used to make on the terrace, and the joy of learning organically.

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