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Crafting Collaborations of Art and School: Contextual Studies in SwedenThis study explores relations, experiences and processes between art and school collaborations at policy, organisational and individual levels. This is done through a historical account of policy documents as well as a contemporary qualitative study. The study focuses on two professional theatres in Sweden with extensive experience working with schools. In that context, professions of actors, teachers and drama pedagogues participating in collaborative projects, their roles, craftsmanship and a community of practice (CoP) as well as their encounters as professionals have been investigated. The study results show that theatres collaborate with schools because of their ruling policy and aim of reaching all children. Schools collaborate due to policy requirements, own interest and improvement. Drama pedagogues are much involved in the whole creative process, and the profession seems to be heading for a higher status at theatres. The individuals collaborate because it supports the creative process and the aim of their craftsmanship and/or personal mission. For drama pedagogues and artists, collaboration becomes a tool in itself, but for teachers the arts become a tool. The teachers have a personal interest in and experience with the arts. Encounters with professional artists can encourage teachers to use or continue to use artistic skills in teaching. The actors are rooted in the craft of their art and values driven in their wish to have encounters with children and youth. The drama pedagogue’s roles as mediator and confidant are important for the success of a collaborative project but also risky due to information accommodated. All encounters in this study were strongly framed by a drama pedagogic CoP. Within the frame, rooms of artistry based on the actors’ CoP occur. These rooms indicate the creation of a regime of competence, a shared CoP where the professionals are able to encounter each other as equals and share a creative and social process of meaning making. The fictional part of the study indicates that the drama pedagogue can become a border guard as much as a bridge in collaboration, standing in the way of teachers and actors directly sharing and transmitting valuable knowledge. A dialogue on aims, practice and competence become crucial for the professionals in order to achieve cooperation and thus learning.
The Plastic Ceiling Project: Representing the Pain of Mothers that Work and StudyMy previous research around mothers that work and study, showed that many of their everyday, emotional experiences could be regarded as “unseen” in that they were routine, invisible and unnoticed and were often played out in private. For those experiences that could be regarded as emotionally painful, their “unseen” nature was further complicated as tendencies toward denial, withdrawal, and self-isolation were common reactions to deeply felt emotional pain. Thus, these experiences were frequently concealed in two ways as they were both “unseen” and hidden. A fundamental principle of feminist research is to liberate by exposing, that which is concealed and suppressed and to make feminine lived experiences visible. Modern, feminist research uses a wide range of research methods and in recent years, arts-based and narrative research have emerged as disciplines from within the broader field of qualitative research. Feminist scholars have found visual, narrative inquiry methods to be useful tools in obtaining rich data from traditionally marginalised perspectives and have stressed the transformative opportunities for the development of continuities between the “unseen” and the “seen” through potential to reveal and expose hidden oppression, promote empathetic understanding of the ways in which people experience their worlds and present new opportunities for communication, protest and campaign I believe that artists and ethnographers often share strong, emancipatory affinities through their research intentions and so could productively collaborate and learn from each others’ practices. An artist-practitioner and mother myself, I also had responsibility for leading the postgraduate teacher training provision in a local university full-time and studying for a doctorate and I became interested in the potential of using arts-based, ethnographic research to investigate and tell the stories of other working/studying parents. I was particularly interested in findings from previous research which had identified that whilst all parents routinely reported similar issues around practical issues of balancing multiple roles; the painful, emotional aspects of managing life as a working/studying mother were exclusively female territory and had been described by almost every female participant as pernicious, significant and disempowering aspects of their lived experiences. I set up The Plastic Ceiling Project with the intention of developing an arts-based research methodology unequivocally and explicitly grounded in emancipatory feminist principles. My initial research question was simply; “why do mothers that work and study often report painful emotions such as guilt, shame, frustration, anger, and loneliness?” This work is an exploration of The Plastic Ceiling Project and its effectiveness in realising these challenges.
Travelling to the top of the mountain: The use of found poetry to explore Palestinian and Arab teachers' perceptions and experience of their participation in a drama in education summer schoolThe purpose of this qualitative arts-based research study is to illustrate the potential of using found poetry to explore Palestinian and Arab teachers' perceptions and the experience of their participation in a drama in education summer school. The study sought to gain insight of how nine teachers from Palestine and Arab countries start their journey in learning drama and how they make sense of their experience. This study is grounded in narrative inquiry and interpretivist standpoint theories and presents teachers‘ lived experience in poetic form. In this study, I adopted a qualitative case study design paired with poetic research methodology to interpret and analyse the teachers‘ experiences in depth. The study uses semi-structured interviews and the reflective journals of nine participants in the drama in education summer school. Three key themes were identified: space and place, coexistence and the power of drama. I created forty found data poems representing these thematic findings in the words of participants. The poems were briefly analysed to open discussion and allow the readers to make their own interpretations. Found poetry was illustrated as a means of data analysis and re-presentation in qualitative research. The analysis and re-presentation of the teachers‘ interviews and reflective journals through found poetry led to an in-depth understanding of their experience. The findings of the study revealed that the summer school had a positive impact upon them. It offered them an opportunity to interact, communicate and coexist. The findings also revealed that drama had a positive impact upon teachers personally and professionally. It is concluded that researchers, education policymakers and teachers may benefit from understanding the experience of teachers‘ participation in the drama in education summer school through poetry.