Susanna Knittel, is a somatic educator, visual storyteller, activist and writer who came of age in the Jungian community in Zurich, Switzerland. After receiving her degree in child psychology and work at the Jung Clinic, she left her homeland to explore the new frontier: America. She settled in San Francisco and became a photojournalist for Swiss Magazines. At Videowest, she made the first short documentary on The Bohemian Grove; it aired on PBS. Robert Frank invited her to be a part of the making of This Song for Jack, filmed during the 30th anniversary of the publication of Jack Kerouac’s On the road. Her film Legacy premiered at the San Francisco film festival.
In Los Angeles, Knittel turned her attention to parents and children, seeking to emulate the relational qualities she had seen while working in Africa as a student. She designed, manufactured, patented and licensed Kocoona, a multi use carrier that allowed freedom for both parent and child and easily and ergonomically integrated work and play.
As an educator concerned with the inner life of children, Knittel introduced the practice of Council in public and private schools. Council teaches and supports attentive listening and authentic expression and now benefits thousands of children in Los Angeles schools and throughout the United States, Europe and Africa. For the International Peacemakers she brought the practice to Italy, Poland, Israel and other European countries and established the European Center for Council Training.
Susanna is a Continuum teacher, who was a longtime student of Emilie Conrad. Here, for the first time since her initiation while working in Senegal, she found understanding about the deep connection between ritual, eros and dance. With The Matrilineage Project, an exploration into our female lineage presented in ensemble performance, she synthesized her practices with consciousness studies and dreams. In 20o8 she was invited to teach at a theater festival in Morocco.
Impelled by the culture's rapid loss of connection with nature and the body, she returned to her first medium and made her documentary Falling for the Mountain, a love story between people and the land. It documents the move to stewardship on her family’s inherited land in the Swiss Alps; Knittel credits her experiences with tribal cultures and friendships with Native peoples and their indigenous wisdom for shaping her working vision.
Other influences: Improvisation, Performance, Storytelling and Engaged Buddhism.
With creativity, movement, innovation and the societal body as principal impulses, Knittel pursues life as an alchemical process, in kinship with her Muslim families in Palestine, Switzerland and Senegal. She has a daughter and lives in Santa Monica. Some summers, she is in the Alps, learning about dowsing and sharpening a scythe.