The project concept emerged from discussions at the International Drama In Education Research Institute (IDIERI) in Limerick in 2012, where a group of drama researchers with an interesting in using technology to create and/or share drama agreed to collaborate on a project of this nature. Pam Bowell (of Bowell & Heap fame) suggested that in the lead up to the ‘Heathcote Reconsidered’ to be held in July 2013, an international project could involve young people, their drama teachers/facilitators and researchers in creating a drama utilising some of Dorothy Heathcote’s processes (in particular Rolling Role) exploring and adapting them for the 21st century.
Of course doing projects in schools that involve cyberspaces and sharing involves lots of considerations and negotiations so it has taken nearly six months to get to a stage where we now have project groups and their teacher/facilitators coming on board. Our site facilitators so far are Xenia in Greece, Glenn in Queensland Australia and Jen in the USA with Singapore and Sydney to come on board soon and perhaps also a site in the UK.
A number of other researchers will be working with us too to help us document and make sense of learnings that may emerge from the project. Hopefully on this blog people can introduce themselves, their groups and update on progress as we go! It's starting to get exciting, thinking about the cross-cultural sharing. I don't know about other readers, but in my days growing up we used to offered the opportunities to have penpals when we were in primary school. I had two, one from Manchester and one from Sweden and we wrote letters and sent photos for many years, until we became teenagers and our interests diversified, part time jobs, music and boys began to take us more of our time. But I still remember the excitement of receiving the letters and finding out what was similar and different about our lives (The Bay City Rollers?? ABBA??? Now I'm revealing my age).
With our concerns to keep kids safe in schools now and the creation of firewalls and platforms to keep everything secure and everyone else out are we reducing opportunities for young people? Are we reinforcing that globalisation for them is about consumption of international content and commodities and not really about being participants and citizens? With this project we want to recognise the creative potential of young people and their teachers and to enable them to share and participate with an international community - to be creative practitioners and global citizens.. It might not all go to plan or always work out as we hope, but one of the things we can learn from Dorothy Heathcote is that she did take huge risks. She planned extensively, carefully considered possible responses and directions, then acted responsibly and responsively in the process. If things didn't work so well she would work inside and outside the moment to consider alternatives and then find another path or solution... and that is what we will do too! I look forward to learning more myself and sharing the journey as we go!
Sue Davis, Qld, Australia.