On July 4th to 8th, CODE President, Matthew Sheahan, participated in the International Drama in Education Association’s (IDEA) 9th World Congress in Reykjavik, Iceland, entitled Drama For All - Drama For Tall and Small. During the four day congress, he participated in the three session meeting for IDEAs General Council, strengthening relationships with drama in education associations and organizations from around the world, and advocated for a path forward aligning with CODE’s principles and standards.

It was my pleasure to represent CODE at the IDEA 9th World Congress and conference in Iceland. The first day started with the first meeting of the IDEA General Council, bringing
organizational, associative and individual members together from all around the world. Then there was a presentation and Q and A with the World Alliance for Arts Education, and we
finished with a keynote lecture from Rannveig Björk Thorkelsdóttir, entitled “Drama and what to do about it?”

Rannveig Björk Thorkelsdóttir at the opening ceremony for the Congress

The second day started with special interest groups (SIGs). I worked with Silvia Vammaro and Marianne Nødtvedt Knudsen in a group called “Theatre for community development.” The aim of this group was to “explore some ethical and challenging themes connected to the artwork with different communities with vulnerable people. And to show that by playing, everything is possible.” The rest of the day consisted of workshops and paper presentations, followed by a second keynote, “Give Us More Drama” by Faisal Kiwewa, where he also proposed the “Reykjavik Declaration” of support for drama in education globally.

I had the privilege of presenting my workshop on the third day, “Erasing the Margins - Drama Addressing Inequities without Appropriation of Voice.” The workshop aligned with the strategies and ideas encapsulated in the new document produced by CODE’s Equity Committee, Recognize, Reflect, Refocus - Addressing Anti-Black Racism in the Drama and Dance Classroom. The workshop went extremely well and elicited a lot of productive discussion (so much so that we were 15 minutes late for lunch :). The third keynote took place that day, which was “Drama Education in the 21st century – complex education for complex societies?” by Kristian Nødtvedt Knudsen. We also finished a marathon meeting of the General Council, and joined Young IDEA for a performance of their collective creation, Locked Down.

"Erasing the Margins" workshop

Day four saw the finale of the SIGs, workshops and papers, and a final keynote, entitled “ The Study of Performance is the Study of Life – Past and Present ” by Terry Gunnell.

The theme of this congress, drama for all, ran through every paper, workshop and keynote presentation. I learned a lot from our international family that I intend to implement and share through CODE, and utilize to enhance my own professional practice. We have a lot to learn from each other, and we need to continue to focus on making drama in education a priority at the local, provincial, national and international levels.

Performing with IDEA colleagues in a short interpretative piece called "The History of IDEA"