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An Ecology of Care: Relationships and Responsibility Through the Constitutive and Creative Acts of Oral History Theatre Making in Local Communities Shouldering Global Crises

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Abstract

As a corrective to the lone, exceptional artist theory prevalent in historical conceptions of ‘creative genius’, this chapter explores how the creative person is formed in community as they participate, practice, and perform new ways of being, relating, and understanding their local context and the perpetually changing global world that edges ever closer. The authors observed such an ‘ecology of care’, amidst the instability of the Brexit referendum in June 2016, working with their local research collaborator Dr. Rachel King-Turner and the Belgrade Theatre’s Canley Youth Theatre group in Coventry England, one site among five in a global, multi-sited, ethnographic research project. In observing the group’s affective and intimate labour at a time of perceived social disintegration, the authors ultimately processed creativity as contagion, imagining their research as community-forming and scholarly performance.

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... Our work builds from an improvised choreography of artistic practices and dialogue in which researchers respond compassionately to significant affective moments in the field and in analysis as they arise. This orientation to fieldwork and data analysis requires researchers to foreground "learning-in-relation" and "deep listening" as metho-pedagogical propositions to not only advance ethical relationships in research (see Gallagher et al., 2018), but to resist "mastery or dependence on any singular epistemological path" (Collier & Perry, 2021). ...
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