Jumping into Creativity: Encounters with Performance as Pedagogic Intervention in On and Off-Campus Contexts

By Miki Flockemann, Judyie Al-Bilali and Verity Vass.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The paper identifies the pedagogic implications for expanding the horizons of learning and teaching by including creative engagement within the formal curriculum. In other words, interactions and comparisons between off and on-campus activities are explored to foreground how engagements within and beyond the academic teaching and learning context can enhance the learning experience in productive ways. The focus is on performance as object of study, as practice, and as creative process within a literature department. The discussion draws on the collaboration between teachers within and outside the formal university structures with a view to exploring how self-reflexivity in terms of identity negotiation can be developed. This has a bearing on the way theatre has been identified as an ideal site for exploring how identities are experimented with in performance during times of social transition. it is argued that exposure to creativity through performance is valuable for fostering critical thinking. At the same time, this must be seen against the lack of institutional support for arts programmes in South Africa. This is surely short-sighted in view of the way encounters with creativity can contribute to much-needed analytical skills, as well as providing scope for validating diversity in a non-hierarchical way.

Keywords: Theare and Performance, Identity Negotiation, Self Reflexivity, Pedagogy, Creativity, Literary Studies

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 14, Issue 9, pp.139-146. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 511.960KB).

Miki Flockemann

Professor, University of the Western Cape, South Africa

Miki Flockemann lives in Cape Town, South Africa. Her primary research interest is tracking the aesthetics of transformation as performed in literary as well as other forms of cultural production. Additional research interests include comparative studies of diasporic writings, contemporary trends in South African theatre, and relationships between performance, postcoloniality and pedagogy. She is currently extraordinary professor in the department of English at the University of the Western Cape and co-convenor of an interdisciplinary Humanities course.

Judyie Al-Bilali

Director, Brown Paper Studio Company, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa

For over thirty years Judyie Al-Bilali has been an innovator in the field of performing arts and arts education. She works throughout the United States and internationally and has been the Director of Brown Paper Studio in Cape Town since 2004. Judyie received a BA Cum Laude in African American Performing Arts and a MFA in Theatre from the University of Massachusetts. She is the recipient of numerous awards including a Fulbright Senior Scholar award, a Javits Fellowship in Arts and Humanities, along with grants from the Rockefeller Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts, the MacDowell Colony for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. In the field of arts administration Judyie was a Board Member of the Kentucky Arts Council, was the Development Director for Crossroads Theatre Company, the Festival Coordinator for Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Humana and Shorts Festivals, and an Arts Program Analyst for the New York State Council on the Arts. She is the author of several plays and a book of haiku poetry. Judyie believes we are in a magnificent new era of human development and is honored to contribute to our planetary evolution through the arts.

Verity Vass

actor and teacher, Brown Paper Studio Company, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa

Verity Vass lives in Cape Town, South Africa. She has a BA (Hons) from the University of the Western Cape, with honours in English. She has also studied Human Rights in a Global Era at Dalarna University in Falun, Sweden. She is an active member of Brown Paper Studio creative arts laboratory, which is based at the Centre for Performing Arts at UWC. As an actor she has performed in productions at the Artscape, Centre for Performing Arts, UWC, and the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. Her writing includes the play Naming Names, which was performed as part of the Cape Town Festival and D’Cipher, to which she contributed along with other members of Brown Paper Studio. She also worked as actor and scriptwriter for the short film Point of View, which was conceptualised in conjunction with the Swedish-based Streets: Youth for Justice project. Currently she is a cast member of the play Reclaiming the P Word.


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