Participatory theatre as a social research method

Presenter(s): Umut Erel and Erene Kaptani


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This online resource gives an introduction to participatory theatre for social research. It looks at the uses of the Theatre of the Oppressed, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, and participatory ethics for social research. The resoure particularly explores how participatory theatre methods:

  • can generate research data,
  • how they can help engage participants in dialogue with other social groups
  • and how these methods can generate model for engaging research participants, policy makers and practitioners in an integrated way from research, to engagement and dissemination.
  • It includes a short video clip to exemplify the method of Forum Theatre.

Participatory theatre as a social research method

This online resource gives an introduction to participatory theatre for social research, discussing in particular Forum Theatre as part of the Theatre of the Oppressed (Boal) to explore how participatory theatre methods: 1) can generate research data, 2) can engage participants in dialogue with other social groups, 3) how these methods can generate model for engaging with policy makers and practitioner. It includes a short video clip to exemplify the method of Forum Theatre.



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About the author

Umut Erel is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the Open University, UK. She has widely published on migration, ethnicity, gender and class. She is interested in how these issues play out in practices of citizenship, differentiated along gender and ethnic lines. Currently she is exploring migrant women?s mothering practices as citizenship practices in their own right and with respect to shaping their children?s ethnic, cultural, political identities and modes of citizenship.



She is Principal Investigator (with CIs Prof. Maggie O?Neill, University of York and Prof. Tracey Reynolds, University of Greenwich) of PASAR - Participation Arts and Social Action in Research, funded by the ESRC http://www.ncrm.ac.uk/research/PASAR/ investigating the potential of participatory theatre and walking as research methods for the social sciences.
She was PI, with Prof. Tracey Reynolds (CI) of an AHRC networking activity on migrant mothers? citizenship and participatory theatre ?Migrant Mothers Caring for the Future?.http://www.open.ac.uk/socialsciences/migrant-mothers/index.php



Erene Kaptani is and arts consultant in social research and PhD candidate. Her research interests are participatory performance making, physical theatre, decolonial methods, performative ethnography, migration and social action. She uses performance with groups to stage counter narratives and actions for challenging hegemonic public and institutional interactions. In this video she speaks about her work in PASAR project where she has used participatory performance with young girls in school, with a group of migrant mothers and as intervention in NRPF policy. She is now working on a play which stemmed from this research and is doing her PhD on Participatory Performance as decolonising practice. hhtps://erenekaptani.wordpress.com?

Primary author profile page



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