Our last session of the 2018 academic year was a whole afternoon of arts based methods, with four different speakers.
Jenny Hughes (University of Manchester) and Janet Batsleer presented their work interrogating the problematic ‘hero’ narratives often evoked when arts / drama works in communities. Rather than collecting and re-narrating community stories of suffering or disadvantage, the project looked directly at structural economic inequalities, through performance. It was fascinating to hear about the collaboration with Jenny, as an archival researcher, and Carran Waterfield, as a theatre-maker, both working from their biographical lived experiences. Jenny described this process as “I brought my stories – Karen just threw her body at it”. You can read and view the results of the collaboration in this paper: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14682761.2017.1282404
Birgit Althans was visiting MMU this week from Leuphana University, Luneberg, and shared her work with us on ‘Transcultural education and post-migrant theatre’. Birgit’s team have used a range of modes to record theatre performance work, including written notes, drawings and annotated photographs.
Kate Pahl gave us a flavour of a new research project (with Amanda Ravetz, Becky Shaw, Steve Pool and PI Rachel Holmes); Odd: feeling different in the world of education. The project has a number of strands, using arts methods, performance, making and exploration with materials to explore the notion of oddness. Kate focussed her presentation on the contingent and provisional nature of ethics, and voice of young people, and how the team had begun to negotiate this within the project.
Read more about the project here: https://www2.mmu.ac.uk/news-and-events/news/story/7211/
James Oliver from Monash University was our final speaker, drawing on his work at the intersection of practice, research and community. As a practice presentation. James’ session offered a range of ways into thinking about the role of culture, power and history in research, how facts come into being, and what relationship research might have with doing, knowing and being. Prompting us to consider whether progress is an appropriate metaphor for research, we were left wondering whether dwelling in the space around research, practice and community, might be a way to seek other possible metaphors for research. James’ book Associations. Creative Practice and Research can be ordered here: https://www.mup.com.au/books/9780522869996-associations