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Response to COVID-19 – losing and finding one another in drama: personal geographies, digital spaces and new intimacies

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Abstract

This article engages with the sudden pivot to online learning and research in a Toronto high school drama classroom during the COVID pandemic, revealing a complex portrait of youth, connection, and the digital world at a time of physical distancing. In light of these shifting ‘personal geographies’, we reflect on what drama practices might be mobilised to invite intimacy into online learning.

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... Drama teachers also have difficulties in using the refined methods and techniques developed as a result of many years of practice in digital applications. Drama teachers continue to adapt their drama studies to the online environment, review and improve them at any time, and always think about online drama education (Donohoe & Bale, 2020;Gallagher, Balt, Cardwell, & Charlebois, 2020;Pease, 2020). ...
... line environments, digital opportunities, and other technological tools within the drama process can improve the quality of drama studies. Some studies show the positive aspects of utilizing the mentioned online opportunities as well as drama pedagogy and technology (Farmer, 2011;Flintoff, 2009;Anderson & Cameron, 2013;Cziboly & Bethlenfalvy, 2020;Gallagher et. al., 2020). The joint use of drama and digital technologies in online environments can increase the willingness of participants (Davis, 2010), planting the seeds of a learning process that is interesting, imaginative, and creative (Cameron, 2009). As with these studies, in the COVID-19 process, where in-person training is not available, strategies ...
... Even though the belief about the feasibility of drama events in the digital environment was negative before COVID-19 pandemic, it has become necessary to reflect on how drama studies can be carried out in a digital environment with COVID-19 . In other words, online drama studies provide a variety of opportunities to reflect on the field of drama and consider how drama is used in different environments (Gallagher et al., 2020). At the same time the COVID-19 pandemic provides artists, educators, teachers and students working in the fields of theatre, drama, and education with different areas to discuss "innovation" and "adaptation". ...
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In the COVID-19 pandemic, people's opportunities for face-to-face education have been limited, and the way they access educational content has changed. During the pandemic, both institutions providing drama lessons and drama instructors had the opportunity to rethink drama education and adapt drama studies in different ways. During the pandemic, different opinions emerged about whether creative drama classes should continue if they continue, what changes will be made in drama studies, drama education programs, and which applications will be used. This research aims to determine the changes in drama lessons during the COVID-19 pandemic, the digital platforms where online drama lessons are held, and the Web 2.0 tools used by taking the opinions of drama teachers. The interpretive qualitative research design was used in the study. The Online Drama Lessons Evaluation Form was used as a data collection tool to determine the opinions of drama teachers working in private or public institutions. 58 drama teachers answered the form. The qualitative data in the research were analyzed by descriptive analysis, the findings were first coded line by line, and the common codes were classified under appropriate categories and themes. According to the results of the research, it can be said that the drama teachers adapted the drama education programs by social distance (face-to-face studies) and transformed the drama activities to be applied on digital platforms. It can be said that the necessary changes were made in the drama activities and the drama education program while giving the drama lessons online, and the Zoom digital platform was mainly used in the online lessons. Drama teachers stated that they used Web 2.0 tools such as Padlet, Menti, Kahoot to evaluate online lessons, get or give feedback, and determine readiness/preparedness.
... As Gallagher et al. (2020) too describe that 'traditional understandings of "embodiment", "participation" and "ensemble" no longer apply' in the virtual only drama classroom during COVID-19 pandemic requiring 'drama educators to think of drama practices that could enable young people to find one another again' (p. 641). ...
... Seeking ways to maintain ways of working 'dramatically', other drama educators have also identified the importance of that when shifting to working in digital spaces, exploring how to use process drama and interactive drama (Cziboly and Bethlenfalvy, 2020;Figure 4. What helps you get through. Gallagher et al., 2020;Tam, 2020), working within dramatic and fictional frames and working imaginatively. ...
... The role of educators such as performing arts teachers in creating engaged social learning encounters is important work that is crucial to remote, online and hybrid forms of learning. Importantly, teachers were still able to use drama to investigate what Gallagher et al. (2020) refer to as a pedagogy of personal geographies through the 'geographical imaginary' (p. 640) they were able to support transitioning personal intersections of place, time and identity affected by the contemporary chaos of ambiguities and contradictions and provide connectedness for students during uncertain times. ...
Article
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As countries moved to halt the spread of the COVID 19 pandemic in 2020 access to physical sites of learning was restricted, so teachers across diverse educational contexts were required to rapidly embrace different modes and combinations of delivery. With a desire to profile the voices of teacher experience, a number of educational researchers initiated a research project to examine the experiences of teachers during COVID-19 times. The stories of performing arts teachers, revealed some shared areas of similar concern with other teachers – namely a rapid increase in using different technologies and online tools and an extensive increase in workload. Teachers expressed concern for those students who became ‘invisible’, and for the ‘invisible’ aspects of the classroom and learning that was difficult to replicate online. The research highlighted the importance of the ‘human dimensions’ of learning in these art forms and the important role played by professional networks.
... While lockdowns have been an opportunity to develop and explore the possibilities of distance learning models (e.g. Gallagher et al., 2020;Skregelid, 2021), both teachers and students from all over the world have mentioned missing the social aspect of learning during this period (Mutch and Estellés, 2021;Rio-Poncela et al., 2021;OECD, 2020). In response, several scholars and educators have claimed that using the arts in educational contexts nurtures human relations during these disruptive times (e.g., Gallagher et al., 2020;Tam, 2020;Davis and Phillips, 2021). ...
... Gallagher et al., 2020;Skregelid, 2021), both teachers and students from all over the world have mentioned missing the social aspect of learning during this period (Mutch and Estellés, 2021;Rio-Poncela et al., 2021;OECD, 2020). In response, several scholars and educators have claimed that using the arts in educational contexts nurtures human relations during these disruptive times (e.g., Gallagher et al., 2020;Tam, 2020;Davis and Phillips, 2021). As they noted, the social, relational and embodied aspects of learning, sometimes called the "nonacademic" or "invisible" outcomes of education (Martin et al., 2013;Davies and Phillips, 2021), missing during lockdowns are the ones most specifically promoted by arts-based pedagogies. ...
Article
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Te Rito Toi is an online open access educational resource designed to help teachers respond to the extraordinary circumstances of the pandemic and provide all children with opportunities to engage with the arts. Central to the Te Rito Toi project was the concept of well-being, one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SGD 3). The study reported in this article delved into the perspectives of a group of New Zealand educators who used Te Rito Toi after the Covid-19 lockdown to explore the ways in which this resource helped them to engage their students in both individual and collective recovery. The analysis of the interviews revealed the following four themes: 1) building relationships and a sense of belonging; 2) enhancing communication and empathy; 3) connecting with wider social issues; and 4) contributing to community recovery.
... Desde una óptica institucional, resultan interesantes los casos de transformación de las organizaciones juveniles durante las fases duras de la pandemia. Encontramos casos de organizaciones juveniles artísticas que transforman sus formatos expresivos de presenciales a digitales (Gallagher et al., 2020), y además convierten su institución en un espacio de cuidado y atención social (Guerrero, 2021;Wolf & Poulin, 2021). Los centros juveniles de ocio, de participación y educación en el tiempo libre, que a diferencia de España han captado la atención de no pocos investigadores internacionales durante la pandemia (Ettekal & Agans, 2020;Granic et al., 2020;Marciano, et al., 2020) relatan procesos de transformación debido al nuevo marco social, y se interrogan sobre la naturaleza de la participación juvenil en formato presencial o virtual, también de los formatos híbridos. ...
Article
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El presente artículo resume una investigación realizada en Cataluña (España) sobre el comportamiento digital de educadoras y educadores en entidades de educación en el tiempo libre durante la COVID-19, momento en que se suspendieron sus actividades presenciales como medida de salud pública. Se desean analizar los procesos y las dinámicas que éstos han llevado a cabo, poniendo especial énfasis en sus competencias de resiliencia e innovación. Se ha aplicado el método de la encuesta mediante cuestionario con 69 ítems a una muestra de 646 jóvenes educadoras y educadores de estas entidades. Se ha llevado a cabo un análisis estadístico descriptivo univariado y bivariado en función de variables de población (edad, género, residencia y tipología de entidad). Los resultados nos describen un comportamiento resiliente de educadoras y educadores con el fin de mantener la actividad educativa durante la suspensión de presencialidad. Sin embargo, el impacto educativo y los niveles de satisfacción con las actividades educativas online son bajos, y se observa una incompatibilidad metodológica entre presencialidad y online. También se constatan diferencias significativas entre educadoras y educadores según el tipo de entidad. Las educadoras y educadores esperan más presencialidad en el futuro inmediato, y más reconocimiento social y político.
... Seeing their joyful expressions when doing the drama activities was one of the things that had kept her motivated especially when considering her apprenticeship in drama. Establishing a sense of intimacy in the exclusively-online pedagogical work has been noted as a challenge for drama educators by Gallagher et al. (2020). It was indeed challenging for her especially at the beginning, but she felt accomplished as not only she felt closer to the students, but the students too talked about how they felt more intimate to one another in the online sessions. ...
Article
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The COVID-19 crisis is an unprecedented tragedy that has affected the education sector worldwide in a way that no one has probably ever imagined before. The ongoing lockdowns had forced schools and higher education institutions (HEIs) to close, and this has had a huge impact on us as we were planning for our drama modules for language learning to be conducted face-to-face. In this reflective piece, we recollected not only the challenges that we faced along the way, but also the opportunities that we saw whilst navigating drama in this whole new online world.
... The current state of Covid-responses in applied drama Applying drama methods and arts education in the aftermath of Covid-19 has commenced in outreach work around the globe. Recent practice includes, for example, work with children and teachers in the digital realm or ways to deal with losing a reallife community through innovative, creative tools (Po-Cho Tam 2020; Kathleen Gallagher et al. 2020). Focusing on working with people with learning disabilities, this article adds another facet to these emerging new practices resulting from a creative response to the challenges of . ...
Article
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This article re-contextualises applied drama practice in the wake of Covid-19, with a particular focus on cognitive diversity. From an inclusive perspective, it asks how encouraging self-expression helps to diversify the still often one-dimensional perception of people with learning disabilities in media reports. It thereby continues an on-going argument around empowered representation within disability drama and culture. The article traces arts practice that engaged a group of women with learning disabilities in reflections about the lockdown 2020. The practice section of the article documents three concrete examples from a workshop series with the members of Powerhouse, a group of women with learning disabilities from the East of London.
... The concept of agency in applied intermedial work has been used in relation to classroom learning (Anderson, Carroll, and Cameron 2009;Carroll and Cameron 2009;Bearison and Granowetter 2012) with children from a refugee background (Dunn, Bundy, and Woodrow 2012) newcomers in an urban middle school (Maloney 2021) creative projects in School responding to COVID-19 (Gallagher et al. 2020) and media literacy programmes with young people (Alrutz 2013). Familiar constructivist and libertarian pedagogies derived from Vygotsky and Freire are re-framed in terms of intermedial projects as either enabling greater manipulation and engagement of learning through the technology or enabling participants to become critically engaged prosumers (individuals who create digital products, ideas, and culture that they wish to consume) rather than merely interactive consumers of technology. ...
Article
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Hospitalisation can be a challenging experience for young people, including higher levels of anxiety, social isolation, and depression. In this paper we identify the possibilities of an applied theatre pilot that aimed to combine co-designed virtual reality (VR) approaches with intermedial work with young people in hospital. Within the pilot study we worked with three participants in individualised bedside workshops over a four-week period. Analysis from the pilot demonstrated the significance of the co-design process leading to greater degrees of agency for young people, and opportunities for the participants to share experiences with medical staff, carers, and siblings.
... The aim of this paper is to share our reflections, as Associate Artistic Director and as Teaching Artist, on how we designed for and engaged in a learning environment that supported this unique kind of connection in a virtual world. We attempt to answer a question posed by Gallagher et al. (2020) at the beginning of the pandemic: "How can virtual drama still nurture community and connection for young people?" (p. 639). ...
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In this paper, members of the education staff share their reflections on how they designed for and engaged in a learning environment that facilitated a particularly connected ensemble. Key aspects of instructional design addressed in the article include the motivation behind the show, the theatre company's growing commitment to youth mental health, traditional "in-the-room" devising practices, and the utilization of online technology.
... Second, in some residential care services for accommodated minors in Northern Italy, impressive adaptability was demonstrated among the minors and flexibility and creativity from the educators were reported (Zenarolla, 2021). Thirdly, youth-centred arts organisations also became an example of resilience by transforming their expressive formats from face-to-face to digital activities (Gallagher et al., 2020), and by turning their institutions into a space for social care and attention, thus expanding and deepening their original framework (Guerrero, 2021;Wolf & Poulin, 2021). ...
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Purpose: The article uses two case studies to explore the impact of repeated lockdowns upon the delivery of child protection and youth offending services in the UK. Design/methodology/approach: The article draws upon two in-depth interviews - drawn from a global mixed-methods project on the Covid-19 pandemic - with a Child Protection Officer in the North West and a Youth Offending Worker from the West Midlands. Findings: The two case studies demonstrate that already-austerity hit Children’s and Young People’s services moved almost all their service delivery online, preventing frontline child practitioners and youth offending workers from properly assessing, monitoring, and supporting vulnerable children and young people. In both case studies, the participants claim that repeated lockdowns have done irreversible damage to their client relationships; jeopardised potential progress out of vulnerable situations; and heightened risks for many of their client group. Notwithstandingthese two workers faced pressure to adhere to both the Covid-19 regulations and health and safety protocols. While our participants felt this affected the quality of their engagement with young people, they aired frustrations at other colleagues who, they suggested, appeared ‘content’ to have minimal contact with their client group. Nevertheless, the two workers demonstrated admirable resilience as they strove to deliver essential support to their clients. In a climate of local authority debt, school closures and further challenges to information sharing because of the pandemic, these two workers doubt support systems will return to pre-Covid standards and expect online working to continue, to the detriment of vulnerable children and young people. Essentially, these two examples indicate how Covid-19 measures close the door on protecting vulnerable children and young people. Originality: The article builds upon the emerging empirical evidence on how lockdowns have impacted children and young people’s services. Practical implications: The limited yet detailed findings potentially highlight important deficits in the social care sector in general. Social implications:Though ungeneralizable, we suggest our participants’ experiences might be replicated in some other child protection and youth offending services across the UK.
... Second, in some residential care services for accommodated minors in Northern Italy, impressive adaptability was demonstrated among the minors and flexibility and creativity from the educators were reported (Zenarolla, 2021). Thirdly, youth-centred arts organisations also became an example of resilience by transforming their expressive formats from face-to-face to digital activities (Gallagher et al., 2020), and by turning their institutions into a space for social care and attention, thus expanding and deepening their original framework (Guerrero, 2021;Wolf & Poulin, 2021). ...
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This study aims to explore the narratives that young leaders from leisure time educational institutions have drawn from the impact of the lockdown and mobility restrictions on their activities. The study population are the young leaders who lead leisure time educational institutions, who had to deal with a prolonged lockdown in 2020. A semi-structured interview guide was designed and four focus groups were organized with twenty young leaders, aged between 19 and 26. The data collected was also analysed by following a content analysis inductive process, based on the principles of the grounded theory. Young leaders report creativity and adaptation in their activities during the lockdown as an important provisional measure taken to continue to deliver children’s services. To do this, many had to break/bend Covid-19 regulations and restrictions. As ‘educators’ this appears reasoned and critical but undertaken as ‘young people’ it looks rash and spontaneous. The paper only uses only the qualitative data gathered during the project and, without triangulation, the results must be given some caution. The young leaders’ voices and testimonies provide a fresh source of reflexivity to question the dominant approach to managing the delivery of youth services during the pandemic period. This study shows us how young leaders belong to a very heterogeneous generation who react to social challenges in diverse ways.
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When revising my book Liveness: Performance in a Mediatized Culture for the second edition that appeared in 2008 (the book was originally published in 1999) one of the things I wanted to emphasize was the historicity of the concept of liveness, the way that the idea of what counts culturally as live experience changes over time in relation to technological change. When I was invited to consider the specific question of digital liveness for a presentation at Transmediale 2010 in Berlin, however, I found I was no longer satisfied with one conclusion I had reached, partly because of my own shifting intellectual commitments. My review of the history of liveness from the early days of analog sound recording up to the advent of the digital initially led me to the conclusion that our experiencing digital technologies as live is a function of the technologies' ability to respond to us in real time. I now wish to interrogate my own position in an effort to outline a phenomenological perspective on digital liveness, defined very broadly. My premise in Liveness is that liveness is not an ontologically defined condition but a historically variable effect of mediatization. It was the development of recording technologies that made it both possible and necessary to perceive existing representations as "live." Prior to the advent of these technologies (e.g., sound recording and motion pictures), there was no need for a category of "live" performance, for that category has meaning only in relation to an opposing possibility. The history of live performance is thus bound up with the history of recording media, and extends over no more than the past 100 to 150 years. To declare retroactively that all performance before the mid-nineteenth century was "live" would be to interpret the phenomenon from the perspective of our present horizon rather than those of earlier periods. However, the idea of liveness was not brought into being simply by the arrival of recording technologies. Brian Winston, a historian of media technologies, suggests that several factors have to be in place for a new medium to develop. These include "ideation" (the imagination of a new technology to serve a specific purpose) and the maturation of the science needed to produce it. However, a new medium will not be developed until a "supervening social necessity" for it is perceived, and it is selected for investment. Winston's analysis can be extended from media technologies themselves to the discourses surrounding them. New ways of thinking and talking about a new medium will not arise until there is a social need for them. In the case of sound recording, which developed from the mid-nineteenth century on, this need did not arise until the institutionalization of radio broadcasting, which began around 1920. It did not happen earlier because the prior uses to which the technology was put did not call for it. With cylindrical recordings and phonograph records, the distinction between live performances and recordings remained experientially unproblematic. If you put a record on your gramophone and listened to it, you knew exactly what you were doing and there was no possibility of mistaking the activity of listening to a record for that of attending a live performance. As Jacques Attali points out, the earliest forms of sound recording, such as Edison's cylinder, were intended to serve as secondary adjuncts to live performance by preserving it. The ways early sound recording technology was used respected and reinforced the primacy of existing modes of performance. Live and recorded performances thus coexisted clearly as discrete, complementary experiences, necessitating no particular effort to distinguish them. Radio broadcasting presented a new problem, however. Radio was institutionalized primarily as a live medium: In the U.S., the Department of Commerce [the government agency that first oversaw radio] granted preferential licenses to stations that didn't use recorded music, since there was a feeling that playing records was a rather inferior style of broadcasting—mainly because live music gave far superior sound reproduction. In 1927 the industry's new governing body, the Federal Radio Commission, reemphasized that phonograph performances were "unnecessary." Listeners therefore had good reason to assume that the music and other programming they heard on...
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The Journal of Aesthetic Education 39.4 (2005) 119-131 The history of drama education can be read as a series of arguments over dichotomies: process and product, theatre and classroom, artist and teacher, and so forth. One of the more recent discussions has focused on technology versus live classroom drama. At the heart of these discussions is an attempt to define the aesthetic dimensions of the subject. In one sense, these are fruitful discussions to have as they reflect the dynamism of a live art form in schools. There seems, however, to be a tendency for these debates to entrench themselves into ideological positions. In this paper, I would like to promote the idea that we do not have to develop oppositions or dichotomies before finding that the middle ground provides the richest experiences for drama students. I would like to propose that we see these emerging technologies as providing yet other (albeit different) stages upon which the drama aesthetic can be played. Drama education has had an uneasy and often contentious relationship with discussions around aesthetics. Often the drama education community has split along two lines—those who value process and those who value product. Work by drama educators such as Judith McLean has demonstrated the centrality of the understanding of the aesthetic and the importance of putting an aesthetic understanding at the center of teaching and learning in drama. Her development of an Aesthetic Framework provides teachers with an approach for understanding the position of aesthetics within drama teaching and learning that bypasses the fruitless dichotomies of process versus product. As most now agree, the drama classroom has a place for both process and product. In both, we can find important aesthetic features of drama education. Having weathered the dichotomies of the past, there are now fresh challenges to the understanding of drama and aesthetics. The prevalence of and pressure for integration of new technologies in the drama classroom are also challenging drama educators to incorporate technology within the drama aesthetic. The ubiquity of technology that relates to drama education is facing teachers with serious challenges to engage with a dramatic aesthetic in classrooms. Perhaps the most stunning challenge is the exposure and experience twenty-first-century children have to rapidly changing technologies. As Morris explains, students are exposed to more drama in settings other than classrooms and theatres: This is a compelling and imminent challenge. If drama educators cannot or will not find ways to work with technology, students will find other places to express their creativity outside the drama classroom. Added to the pressure from students who have grown up with these technologies, there is increasing pressure from curriculum developers and school systems to integrate technology into teaching. All authorities and educational policy bodies in Australia are mandating integration of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) into drama curriculum. Recently, the New South Wales (NSW) Board of Studies mandated ICT as an area of "cross curriculum content," necessitating its inclusion in all Years 7-10 syllabi (which include all of the arts). For instance, the Year 7-10 drama syllabus states " . . . teachers should allow students the opportunity to explore different information communication technologies in their class work." Recent studies have demonstrated mixed rates of participation and enthusiasm for the introduction of ICT in Australia and internationally. In the Australian study, half the respondents surveyed were not using ICT of any kind in their drama education. A recently completed survey by the British Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) found that ICT use in drama classes was unsatisfactory in 10 percent of cases and only satisfactory in 50 percent of classrooms. Ofsted concluded from these...
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