• In the Thick of It, Proximities of Belonging in Performance Research

      Piasecka, Shelley; University of Chester (National Drama Publications, 2014-04-30)
      Themes of belonging: to a group, identity, culture and place have dominated education and performance research in recent years. For the social sciences, the educational significance of belonging tends to surface within ethnicity and race (see Demie, 2005; Hassan, 2009; Tomlinson, 1998), gender and sexuality (see Cole, 2006) and self-esteem and citizenship education (see Ma, 2003; Halliday, 1999; Piper and Garratt, 2004). In these contexts, questions of belonging are typically premised upon ideas of inclusion and exclusion, notions of Otherness and constructs of personal and social identity. For the purposes of this paper, though, I approach belonging from the perspective of the dramatic inquiry and storytelling. To introduce the theme, I refer to proximities of belonging, as exemplified by Conquergood (2004) and for dramatic practice, Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed. By way of illustration, I consider two projects undertaken as part my PhD: Heroes and Villains: a performance project with junior school children from a junior school in Stoke-on-Trent and Robin and the Pirate Letters: an early readers initiative for infant children in Cheshire East.