On February 28th, 2015 approximately 30 people participated in the Drama in Education and Applied Theatre symposium “Story, Drama, & Video in Personal and Social Contexts” at Rodman Hall of Brock University. The symposium included presentations by former and present graduate students, faculty members, instructors, and a performance by current Drama in Education /Applied Theatre (DIE/AT) students of the Department of Dramatic Arts.
Professors Yasmine Kandil and Joe Norris, assisted by Kat Gottli (BA Dramatic Arts, MEd Teaching, Learning and Development) organized the event to “create a space for dialogue between students, faculty, instructors, and community members about how we conduct our research and the challenges and rewards of using story, drama, or video to mobilize our work with different target groups.” The symposium was an opportunity for instructors and students of the Department of Dramatic Arts to share their research and participate in dialogue about the theories and practices of students, colleagues, and mentors in this ever-growing field.
The day began with a performance by third year DIE/AT students about youth at risk in the alternative education programs and was followed by a rich talkback about the themes explored in the piece.
(A Better Tomorrow. Jenna Klomp, Victoria Van Sickle, Spencer Walker, Michelle Lemme, Melissa Butera, Maddy DeLuca.)
In the field of Drama in Education there were presentations that explored the use of drama to engage and better understand cyberbullying (Exploring Cyberbullying Through Drama for Social Intervention. Gillian Fournier, OCT, MEd), identity formation in relation to social media (Do they “like” me? An exploration of the 21st century student’s new socialization experience and its implication for pedagogical practice. Mary Code, MEd student, Faculty of Education), body image and self-loathing amongst school children (I’m perfect/Imperfect: Dramatic Explorations of body image with elementary and post-secondary students. Dr. Kari-Lynn Winters, Faculty of Education), Romeo and Juliet as Educational Theatre through Facebook (Facebook Romeo and Juliet as Educational Theatre: An Improbable Fiction? Helen Zdriluk, MEd, Department of Dramatic Arts), and the important roles that artists can play within the classroom environment and curriculum delivery (Playlinks: Investigating an Artist-in-the-Classroom Approach to Enhanced Student Learning. Dr. Debra McLauchlan, Faculty of Education).
Applied Theatre presentations included topics such as the pitfalls of charity work in the field of international development and the importance of creating change that is sustainable (Keep your coins: We want change. Rox Chwalulk, OCT, MEd), as well as an examination of the ethical considerations in the use of personal stories for raising awareness and celebrating experiences of immigration and settling (Personal Stories in Applied Theatre: Redefining the Blurred Lines. Dr. Yasmine Kandil, Department of Dramatic Arts).
On the topic of Research Dissemination one presentation explored the use of web-based videos to share and mobilize research initiatives (Disseminating Performative Research Through Web-based Videos. Dr. Joe Norris, Department of Dramatic Arts). From the area of Social Justice and Equity Studies a presentation examined anti-oppressive literature in elementary school classrooms (“They’re trying to trick us!” Making sense of anti-oppressive children’s literature in the elementary school classroom. Kate Paterson, MA student, Social Justice and Equity Studies).
Professor Kandil came from Victoria, British Columbia to join the Department of Dramatic Arts in 2014. Her research investigates the effective methods of Theatre for Development practice by understanding the conditions that provide autonomy and empowerment for marginalized communities. Her dissertation (University of Victoria) showcases two long-term projects: one carried out with a community of garbage pickers living in the slums of Cairo, and the other with immigrant and refugee youth in Victoria, B.C. Professor Kandil’s current research investigates the relationship between not-for-profit organizations’ arts-based projects and participant autonomy and privacy in projects that depict participants’ real-life experiences. The outcome will be to produce a guidebook, for use of organizations and artists, which would outline the parameters and ethical considerations when working with people’s real-life stories in community-based theatre projects.