|Photo by Thanh Tran on Unsplash|
Eunice was talking about student engagement, and showed us a photograph of students in a workshop using two-handed bladed tools to carve wood. All the students photographed were bent over their task, intensely focused, and absorbed in their activity. Eunice, for comic effect, suggested that this might be because the students were working with very sharp knives, but she wondered how this concentration and focus might be replicated in the classroom.
“working in these transformative spaces can be risky, even harmful. While embodied theater processes can reveal meaningful stories that create opportunities for building community and commonalities, reflection, analysis, and strategizing for action, they can trigger unremembered and unprocessed stories and memories. The potential for surprise and danger needs be recognized and anticipated, to avoid overwhelming individuals, groups, or facilitators. The power of embodied learning should not be underestimated; these experiences must be embraced and turned to positive outcomes.” (p. 62)
“Development & Activism, a course offered at Dalhousie University, sparked controversy about whether a class should prepare students to organise activism, including public protest. Discussing these experiences, I argue there is a place in universities to teach activism as a skill of effective engagement with those in authority and with fellow citizens, thus enhancing democracy. If activism is taken as a process of commandeering space and place to engage with power structures, then the pedagogical experience is about exploring dynamic social geographies that influence, and that are influenced by, processes of organisation, manifestation and dissent. Such exploration is necessary in an era when protest is sensationalised but rarely appreciated for its complexity and when universities do not always defend an open space for progressive engagement.”