Research-based Theatre (RbT) is an innovative, arts-based methodology that uses theatre and drama approaches to stimulate dialogue and foster new understandings of critical and complex social issues (Belliveau & Lea, 2016). It is an umbrella term encompassing a wide variety of approaches to this integration of theatre and research. By engaging with various genres of theatre production and performance such as (but not limited to) playbuilding, readers’ theatre, forum theatre, playback theatre, and shadow puppetry, RbT draws upon the strengths of both artistic and academic modes of expression. As RbT is a form of public scholarship, practitioners must carefully consider the intended audience(s) of their work as they navigate the aesthetic and academic demands of the methodology (Beck, Belliveau, Lea & Wager, 2011). Findings from audiences who have witnessed RbT (e.g., Belliveau & Nichols, 2017) indicate that the perceived authenticity and liveness of RbT performances can lead to significant growth in understanding complex and challenging subject matters, such as bullying in schools, people living with disabilities, mental health stigma, and the impacts of Indian Residential Schools. These findings suggest vast potential for interweaving research and theatrical practices across both formal and informal educational settings.
In this special issue, we invite contributors to examine how RbT may be used to address complex issues related to equity, diversity, inclusion, oppression, anti-racism, and stigma in education. We welcome submissions that consider RbT and diverse communities in education across Canada and internationally, from childhood to adulthood in classrooms as well as community settings. Emphasizing the importance of both traditional scholarship and artistic creation in RbT, we encourage a broad range of submissions including but not limited to:
- Research articles that describe studies using RbT in education;
- Narrative reflections on RbT creation practices in education;
- Scripts or script selections, or other creative outputs, such as poems or visual work related to RbT in education, or video recordings of RbT pieces.
In the sharing of their work, we encourage authors to consider the following questions:
- What are the affordances and constraints of integrating RbT into research in education, and how might these impact future development of the methodology?
- How has your identity as an academic/scholar informed your RbT-related practice, and how has your RbT-related practice informed your academic/scholarly practice?
- What works fall within the scope of Research-based Theatre, and how does the field negotiate the intentionally porous boundaries of Research-based Theatre?
- How do we navigate the liminal space between research context and theatre, and how does this transform research?
- How can RbT, a methodology rooted in liveness, be adapted to work in synchronous and asynchronous online spaces?
RbT is a collaborative and flexible methodology that educators, students, and researchers can co-lead as fellow collaborators and inquirers. A relevant method of inquiry and knowledge exchange for working with marginalized or underrepresented communities, RbT seeks to create spaces for those who are the experts in their own experiences to shape the telling of their narratives. We are especially interested in submissions that reflect on collaborative education based RbT projects and investigations of issues related to equity, diversity, and inclusion.
We welcome submissions in English for this special issue. All academic articles will be peer-reviewed. Creative works, such as dramatic scenes, videos, and podcasts, will be considered as part of MJE’s Artistic and Creative Inquiries section. Where possible, these submissions will be peer-reviewed. We also welcome submissions to The MJE Forum and Notes from the Field (including works that cannot be blinded for peer review); however, such submissions will be reviewed by the guest editors and will not be peer-reviewed. Further details on each type of submission including length can be found on the MJE submission guidelines.
Submissions should conform to the McGill Journal of Education submission guidelines (https://mje.mcgill.ca/about/submissions). This includes adhering to the 7th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. Where possible, please provide a blinded copy of your document in Word format. Submissions are to be made through the journal website and should be identified for the Special Issue: Research-based Theatre in Education. Please send the full submission along with full contact information by January 17th, 2023.
Deadline for Submissions: January 17th, 2023
Guest Editorial Team
Graham W. Lea, Assistant Professor
Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba
George Belliveau, Professor & Head
Department of Language and Literacy Education, University of British Columbia
Beck, J. L., Belliveau, G., Lea, G. W., & Wager, A. (2011). Delineating a spectrum of research-based theatre. Qualitative Inquiry, 17(8), 687-700. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077800411415498
Belliveau, G., & Lea, G. W. (Eds.). (2016). Research-based theatre: An artistic methodology. Intellect.
Belliveau, G., & Nichols, J. (2017). Audience responses to Contact!Unload: A Canadian research-based play about returning military veterans. Cogent Arts & Humanities, 4(1), 1-12. https://doi.org/10.1080/23311983.2017.1351704Read more about Call for Submissions: Research-based Theatre in Education