ULM logo



pathway artCirculus was originally created in San Francisco by Hillary Keeney (with Bradford Keeney) as part of an experimental project in transformative pedagogy.  Now institutionally based at the University of Louisiana, Monroe, it is dedicated to advancing innovative approaches to creative transformation.  It also serves as a resource center for the ULM online doctoral concentration in creative systemic studies.  We are committed to fostering innovative scholars, change agents, and artists committed to inventing, studying, and implementing creative practices for professions concerned with experiential transformation, whether it takes place in clinics, classrooms, theaters, or community neighborhoods.

CIRCULUS is committed to the development of creative interdisciplinary scholarship that crosses borders between disciplines, fields of study, cultures, ways of knowing, and diverse approaches to change and transformation. Rather than be solely driven by advocacy for particular theoretical understandings and established orientations, we emphasize non-ordinary case studies and anomalies of personal and social transformation that lie outside the logical boundaries and protocols of mainstream strategies for problem solving, learning, and well being. 
The creative systemic studies concentration serves the development of unique facilitators of change, including highly creative interdisciplinary scholars, cutting edge therapists, counselors, coaches, and consultants, remarkable teachers, transformative artists, unconventional mediators, idiosyncratic health care workers, uncommon agents of social change, non-typical healing providers, and provocative cultural evocateurs.
We work from the assumption that “entrenched problems” and “stuck situations” are often made worse by attempted solutions, pedagogy, treatment, or management – or they have co-evolved with the professions created to handle them. These include failures of education, habitual pathologizing in psychotherapy, trivial interaction in cyberspace, ineffectual coaching, non-inspiring consultation, impotent theatre, the runaway phenomena of addictions, iatrogenic medical interventions, dualistic social change efforts, and limited choices of relating to culturally diverse ways of knowing and being.
CIRCULUS sees these areas of complexity as ripe for uniquely different forms of performance that utilize circular interaction and improvisation - what we call circular therapeutics. Our aim is to provide leadership in bringing creative, improvised, and performance-oriented transformational experiences to the situations that hold personal experience, relationships, and community.
We walk away from any rigid presence inside or outside of conceptual boxes, grand theories, or totalizing ideologies. Our movement is toward dancing with the changing flux, the cybernetics of circular process that holds the ongoing creation of social realities.  We emphasize how circularly organized systems of relational interaction are the primary contexts of human experience: “who we become is brought forth by how we interact.” The historical contributions of circular thinking, along with an emphasis on interactive performance, provide an alternative to overly simplistic, monadic, and static understandings, interpretations, and narratives of our presence in the world.
A special emphasis of CIRCULUS is its collection of publications, reading lists, and recordings that are pedagogical performances for use in online venues.  As a resource center, CIRCULUS works closely with the online doctoral program in family therapy at the University of Louisiana, Monroe, that offers an interdisciplinary concentration in creative systemic studies, a nonclinical program for already established workers in the helping professions. Its faculty and consortium of distinguished scholars comprise a renowned group of scholars, practitioners, and artists. The doctoral program spans across academic disciplines and fields of practice and aims to creatively study the way creativity is the key to awakening processes of transformation.
CIRCULUS is committed to pushing the creative envelope so that innovative scholars, educators, therapists, social change professionals, clergy, nurses, doctors, artists, leaders, and generalists, among others, may help bring forth resources and transformation in the lives of others.

Hillary Keeney, Ph.D., Co-Director, CIRCULUS, Senior Research Fellow and Clinical Faculty, Department of Behavioral Sciences, University of Louisiana, Monroe

Bradford Keeney, Ph.D., Co-Director, CIRCULUS, Professor, Hanna Spyker Eminent Scholars Chair in Education, Director, Creative Systemic Studies Online Doctoral Program, Department of Behavioral Sciences, University of Louisiana, Monroe