“If we want students to develop the ability to analyze, solve problems, and use information, we must give them the opportunity to practice doing so.”
Patterson, W. (2003). Breaking out of our boxes, Phi Delta Kappan, 84 (8), 569-574.
On Friday, January 29 to Sunday, January 31st, the Faculty of Brock University’s Drama in Education and Applied Theatre hosted a Symposium on Active Citizenship. The event was organized and hosted by Brock faculty Joe Norris, and Yasmine Kandil, and took place at the recently opened Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts.
The symposium was opened on the Friday night by Keynote presenter, Kathy Gould Lundy, who spent her hour plus discussing “place” and “space,” and the transformative nature of drama and theatre to help mould and shape both space and place. The address was a perfect starting point for examining our place within the world, and how we can add our voice to that place, and, as artists, educators and citizens, help shape the space we inhabit. Her keynote address was followed by a brief response by Dr. Jonothan Neelands from Warwick University in the UK, who echoed Lundy’s sentiments and call to action.
The Saturday and Sunday were full of workshops focusing on process drama, integrating the arts, and using drama to actively involve students in the exploration of complex issues, such as migration/immigration (e.g., refugees), and the Holocaust. Workshops were led by Kathy Gould Lundy, Jonothan Neelands (using the book The Arrival to create a process drama around migration, and integrating discussion and drama around the current situation with Syrian refugees), and Carole Miller (using the children’s book Rose Blanche to structure a story drama around the Holocaust).
The event was attended by students in the Brock Drama in Education program, secondary drama teachers, elementary Integrated Arts and Drama teachers, as well as the Brock faculty and visiting professors from York University and Ryerson. Several members of the CODE Management board and CODE members attended the event, and were glad to participate in workshops that inform their own teaching practice, and allows them to take back ideas and practical applications to others in their board and school.
Workshops were followed by a facility tour by Brock University students of their new Fine and Performing Arts Centre. Those who partook in this opportunity were impressed with the space. Several individuals, including the keynote speaker, made several mentions of the impressive nature of the space, and what it means for drama and arts education in Ontario.