Alison O’Grady: Human Rights and Critical Consciousness For Personal Practice

How do we learn to be human and humane in the world? How do we prepare our students to be good global citizens in a world where over 6 million people are currently stateless?

Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions?… If you prick us, do we not bleed? The Merchant of Venice – Shakespeare Act 3, scene 1

How do we learn to be human and humane in the world? How do we prepare our students to be good global citizens in a world where over 6 million people are currently stateless? Where do we go to find the hope in the hopeless? This paper focuses on research that aims to develop a participatory approach to human rights education using theatre as a pedagogical tool. This understanding includes education in; taking responsibility for defending the rights of others, fostering and enhancing leadership, and promoting personal empowerment (Flowers et al. 2000). This paper will explore theatre and drama as a humanising force in human rights education in a higher education context.

Alison O’Grady:
Senior Lecturer and Course Leader of the Drama and Performance BA at the University of Worcester. She has particular interests in Applied Theatre and Directing. Her work with Language Alive TIE, specializing in bilingual projects, led to Arts Council funding to collaborate with The National School of Drama TIE Company in New Delhi. As a founder member of Voicebox TIE she established the Equal Voices International Arts Festivals, showcasing performances from the Birmingham and Delhi companies. Her recent research is focused on five applied programmes that she devised and directed (2011 – 2016). These aimed to raise educational aspirations and develop widening participation. Her most recent publication in the Journal of Applied Arts and Health is based on the process of developing an applied theatre performance to teach undergraduate nursing students communication skills around paediatric end of life care.

Tegan Arazny (Facilitator & Documenter)
Tegan is a strong advocate for the development of Theatre and the Arts in community settings and has been involved with numerous Applied Theatre programmes throughout her professional training and experience. Tegan graduated with a Master of Arts with Distinction in Applied Theatre from The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London. She has professional experience in Community Performance that promotes Young People’s expression and engagement through Puppetry and Theatre practices. As well as collaborating and performing with ERTH Visual & Physical Inc and Welsh theatre company PuppetSoup, she has co-directed and worked alongside Shop Front Arts Co-Op Junior Ensemble of 8-14-year old’s to create the original devised production, The Unknown. Tegan is currently working as Teaching Artist for Sydney Theatre Company’s ‘School Drama’. This is a Teachers Professional Development Program designed to improve teaching and learning by modelling the use of drama-based strategies with quality children's literature.