Forum on Educational Theatre Preview #2

Preparations for the Forum on Educational Theatre April 21-24, 2016 are well underway. To register, click here.

As we gear up for the event, we will post descriptions of some of the presentations–one of which appears below:

Workshop: Teaching Qualitative Research through Process Drama

In the Qualitative Research graduate course I teach at Emerson College in the Department of Performing Arts, the students are Masters Candidates in Theatre Education. In an effort to draw parallels to their course of study in an arts-based pedagogy grounded in theatre, I use the framework of the Process Drama in order to teach diverse methods of qualitative data collection and analysis. According to Pamela Bowell and Brian Heap (2013), “Humans use drama to symbolically represent life experiences and make comment on them.”

Therefore, since qualitative research is the study of social life, it stands to reason that we can use process drama strategies to explore, experiment with, and comment on real life situations through the elements of theatre: focus, metaphor, tension, symbol, contrast, role, time, and space.

This workshop will invite participants to experience the use of dramatic activities and in-role exercises to simulate a number of methods used in qualitative research. All participants will be guided through the process of creating an avatar. Their avatar will be a high school student who is “hypothetically” participating in an arts-based research project in which graduate students from a local university are using drama education methods to answer some proposed qualitative research questions. These avatars will then experience participating in different data collection activities, including one-on-one interviews and focus groups. Half of the group will be researchers and half of the group will be “in-role” as high school students. We will also conduct observation activities in which one participant will facilitate a drama game while two participants serve as researchers observing the session. The rest of the group will go “in-role” as high school students playing the game.

Christina Marín, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Performing Arts at Emerson College. She teaches courses in Qualitative Research, Theatre of the Oppressed, Contemporary Issues in Education, and Human Rights in Theatre. She is also the Theatre Teaching Artist-in-Residence for Hyde Square Task Force’s youth theatre troupe ¡ACCIÓN! Community Theatre. She recently directed the inaugural production of Antígona: Las Voces Que Incendian el Desierto for Emerson College’s nascent student production company Raíz Latinoamericana.