Thursday, 10 September 2015

Participatory Approaches to Peace Building [Workshop delivered as part of the Winchester University's ‘I too, remember dust’: Peace-building, Politics & the Arts’ Conference 7 & 8 September 2015]

Interactive Theatre Creative Practice Workshop
The Arts and their intervention: Peacebuilding and reconciliation initiatives in post-conflict situations.

CAP’s Methodology is based on Augusto Boal’s Forum Theatre and, more recently, Theatre for a Change’s Touch Tag Theatre, our interactive and participatory approach examines current behaviour and attempts to make positive changes where it may be necessary.
Once the workshop participants examine their own behaviour and practice their own personal behaviour change, then the focus of the workshop will shift to how they can use the methodology in their own work of advocating for changing social attitudes around peacebuilding and reconciliation through dialogue. 

The Common Air Project [CAP] equips participants with the awareness, knowledge and communication skills to transform their own lives and the lives of others - personally, socially and professionally. CAP introduces participants to unique theatre-based tools that encourage positive behaviour change in their own lives and those with whom they work / interact. CAP uses a highly experiential form of learning which can be described as a participatory approach to social change. It is via participation that individuals generate the awareness and ability to implement practical and positive changes in their own lives and gain a voice in society as a whole. As well as exploring current behaviour, this methodology also enables a group to find its own solutions to the issues raised within a community. It is through genuine physical & emotional commitment that individual and/ or group behaviours can be examined and, if need be, positively changed. 
We aim to achieve a balance in the relationship presented rather than, as in Forum Theatre, one side ‘winning’ over another [that of the ‘protagonist’ over the ‘antagonist’].  In conflict resolution, balance must be the goal in order to make it sustainable as a reversal of power will only continue the oppression of one side over another. 

The potential of the Methodology:
These participatory approaches to social change offer a structure in which to examine behaviour in a variety of contexts and settings. The participating community provide the realistic content (based on their own experience) to be examined and then discover and widen the possibilities of positive changes amongst existing individual and institutional behaviours. 
Participatory  / Interactive Theatre reveals to the participating audience, the main character (protagonist) trying to deal with an obstacle, difficulty or breakdown in communication and failing. This may be due to resistance in the other characters (the antagonist/s) as well as behavioural patterns and dynamics underlying their communication. The initial play ends ineffectively and the audience (who face similar issues that are faced by the protagonist) is invited to enter the world of the play to see if their interventions might improve the final outcome. As a community, the actors and audiences ‘rehearse behaviour change.


·     Pedagogy of the Oppressed – Paolo Freire
·     Theatre of the Oppressed – Augusto Boal
·     Games for Actors and Non Actors – Augusto Boal
-     Whose Reality Counts?: Putting the First Last - Robert Chambers
·           Theatre for a Change (

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