Our Shared Inquiry: How might action methods and dramatic expression be applied to help groups build relationships, gain understanding and develop trust?
One of the more pressing demands of civic engagement and community building is to provide ways for members to personally relate and commit to deeper conversations. Where this is possible, we can move beyond engagement and toward building systemic insights that can support behavior change, community-driven innovative and development.
Based on the approaches used by Aiding Dramatic Change in Development (ADCID) in their development community work, this workshop engaged embodiment and performance as modes of experiencing the emergent nature of strategic action in a field of community commitment. The goals included discovering:
- How group drama approaches can build community trust and release communication barriers.
- Experience the co-creation of narratives that help gain understanding of different perspectives and social landscapes.
- Experience making meaning using a simple, yet powerful, Action Sociometry process
- How to express ideas and explore themes of interest using dramatic methods
- Gain a brief overview of how ADCID works with these types of approaches within larger, complex, multi-disciplinary project configurations.
Through years of practice in international development and collaborating with local community-based organizations, Stephen Sillett of ADCID has been working with these aims in mind. Through long-term projects, Stephen has helped shift the relationships and dynamics that local community-based organisations have with the marginalised communities they serve, in Africa and Canada.
Stephen presented the Action Sociometry methods and dramatic approaches where individuals and groups engage in non-verbal reflective inquiry. For this session participants will explore a field of strategic action that they can connect to personally.
Working silently with the Strategic Action Field.
Artifacts of meaning, group construction of the field.
For more information – see the innovative use of mood drawings to unpack body images (PDF)
A video of drama activity being worked on by members of the Zisize Drama Group around the theme of Love and Protection, This shows some deep, silent, engagement by the local team around an emotional image.
About the Host
Stephen Sillett is co-executive director of Aiding Dramatic Change in Development (ADCID), and helps the organization research, facilitate and direct dialogue, drama and art processes for healing and community development. Through ADCID projects and in partnership with other social actors, he is exploring approaches that engage community members in conversations, consciously orientated to maturing visions of the future. Research interests include the facilitation of non-verbal and spatial meaning-making practices within group workshop and the creation of interactive performance. He directs InFusion Labs where theatre artists, therapists, scientists and social practitioners explore spatial approaches to exploration and discovery.
ADCID’s community-driven approach, has evolved over 10 years in rural South Africa, where we have 2 focus areas:
- Peer Influence workshops in Schools across Ingwavuma, South Africa – developed process through funding from Health Canada
- Water and Sanitation project in rural South Africa funded by Oxfam Australia . Large-Group community dialogue and reflective Inquiry process using Socio-Drama Topography.
ADCID has also been focussing on 2 project areas of engagement with communities in Canada.
- CrossGEN: Connecting across Age and Culture. Connecting newcomers with long-term residents to form networks that can inform service provision and innovate ways to deepen interactions in our public spaces. Funded by the Trillium Foundation.
- Imagining Possibilities Project with communities with communication and complex physical disabilities to participate in a community arts journey and engage with others through story creation and performance. Funded by Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council and Toronto Arts Council.