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Youth, Theatre, Radical Hope and the Ethical Imaginary: An intercultural investigation of drama pedagogy, performance and civic engagement

An international, multi-sited ethnographic research study led by Professor Kathleen Gallagher, OISE, University of Toronto in collaboration with Dr Rachel King, CES.

In 2014, Professor Kathleen Gallagher was awarded funding by Canada's Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) to conduct a 5 year, multi-sited ethnographic research study that is investigating what ‘hope’, ‘care’ and ‘civic engagement’ means within the context of drama classrooms and youth theatres in Canada, India, Taiwan, Greece and the UK. Dr Rachel King is the lead UK researcher and has conducted two years of practice-based research in Warwickshire and Coventry. For more infomation, please visit: Radical Hope Project, OISE.

Gallagher's study aims to question the ways growing inequality, economic polarisation, and social dislocation are threatening strong pedagogical models of learning and youth citizenship. The lives, and life prospects, of young people have been destabilized by global economic and political uncertainty. Social and educational policies, as well as popular cultural representations of youth, are often sorely lacking youth perspectives and understandings. In response to this, each researcher aims to capture young people's lived experiences of 'hope', 'care' and 'civic engagement'.

In March 2016, Rachel was awarded funding from the Institute of Advanced Teaching and Learning (IATL) to conduct the second phase of the research project. Having already established a partnership with The Belgrade Theatre in Coventry, Rachel was keen to work with one of their outreach youth theatres. In April 2016, Rachel began a project with The Belgrade's Canley Youth Theatre entitled 'Unlocking living stories of ‘hope’, ‘care’ and ‘civic engagement’ in Campus, Canley and Coventry'. The project aimed to bring together youth theatre participants (aged between 10-16) and Warwick postgraduate students to create an oral history performance based on their 'past', 'present' and 'future' stories. After a 10 week devising process, the group performed their piece, 'The Museum of Living Memories' at the University of Warwick. The following short film provides an insight into this partnership:

This project has has been supported by the Warwick Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning and the Warwick Institute for Advanced Study for this work.