6th Scenario Forum Online Colloquium - 30 January 2021 - 13:30 GMT/UTC + 0 hours


If you wish to attend please register here: https://forms.gle/aKTdMqmSjmwrYkyQ7

PART 1 (approx. 50 min, consisting of 25 min presentation, followed by 15 minute discussion in breakout groups and 10 minute plenary discussion) 

Erika Piazzoli, Trinity College Dublin

Elif Kır, Istanbul Medeniyet University

The Double-edged Sword of Storytelling:
Ethical Concerns in Conducting Performative Language Practice with Refugees

Does performative practice always empower, or can it also disempower? How, and why is that? Piazzoli and Kir have asked this question, among others, to a number of international practitioners working in vulnerable settings, including refugees. In this paper, they offer a synthesis of the findings from eight interviews with experienced teacher/artists and L2 facilitators. A salient issue unearthed by the inquiry is that storytelling can be a double-edged sword, when performative practice involves refugees and asylum seeker populations.

The authors begin with an overview of different ethical principles that have emerged from the literature across best-practice case studies. They argue that working with refugees requires a critical questioning of social positionality and power, with an awareness of biases, privileges and frameworks (Canas, 2017). They highlight some of the ethical concerns when storytelling and drama are used to ‘replicate’ the past, rather than ‘create’ new possibilities, what Jeffers (2008) framed as reinforcing ‘narratives of victimhood’ through the arts. The analysis points to the interconnected relationship between vulnerability, agency and power, and to the subtle dynamics at play in a learning environment. In this sense, it is useful to reflect on whose stories are created, how they are portrayed, and what they represent.

Canas, T. 2015. Retrieved from: http://riserefugee.org/10-things-you-need-to-consider-if-you-are-an-artist-not-of-the-refugee-and-asylum-seeker-community-looking-to-work-with-our-community/

Jeffers, A. (2008). Dirty truth: Personal narrative, victimhood and participatory theatre work with people seeking asylum. Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance. 13(2), 217–221.


PART 2 (approx. 50 min, consisting of 25 min presentation, followed by 15 minute discussion in breakout groups and 10 minute plenary discussion) 

Anna Santucci & Rachel Walshe, University of Rhode Island 

Resisting from Within by Performing as Teachers and Learners: A Higher Education Dilemma 

“In the absence of a truly communist society in which a

communist pedagogy might indeed be emancipated from its subjugation to wage

labor and the labor theory of value, the virtue of a polytechnical education lies in its

potential to release human creativity from the restraints of the division of labor. The

virtue of theatre, as a mode of polytechincal education, is that it is an artistic

practice that can be practiced, collectively, by amateurs, rather than produced by

professionals for the consumption of others” (Ridout 2013, 83-84).

Can performance practice protect some space for learners as such “passionate amateurs” (Ridout 2013) within our higher education institutions, especially in contexts that have historically thrived thanks to a robust consumer model that highly monetizes curricula? How do we navigate the obstacles faced when attempting to resist capitalist models of education from within? Is any disruption of the “banking” concept of education (Freire, 1968) and its operations even possible when our daily scholarship and practice are constantly surrounded by and getting absorbed into transactional systems? 

Santucci and Walshe believe that interdisciplinary teacher education grounded in performance practice can provide holistic professional development experiences with the potential to resist the capitalist framing of preparation for productivity, focusing on personal growth rather than narrowly postulated skills- and objective-driven trajectories. Yet such potential can be hard to realize…

In “Performing as Teachers and Learners”, an initiative recently launched at the presenters’ university, members from the schools of Theatre, Business, Education, and the Office for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning joined forces in a pilot project that aims to support the professional development of educators within the institution (mainly PhD and MA students, for now) by nurturing their growth as authentic, passionate, and interculturally responsible academic agents. This presentation will discuss the evolution of this initiative and the challenges faced along the ongoing journey in seeking to realize its goals. Participants will also be invited to reflect on performance practice as a site of resistance within their own educational contexts, share lessons learned, and brainstorm possible future strategies.

Freire, Paulo. (1968) 1970. Pedagogy of the Oppressed.

Ridout, Nicholas. 2013. Passionate Amateurs: Theatre, Communism, and Love. Univ of Michigan Press.