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‘Tractatus de imagine mundi’, (a view of an imaginary world)

Patterson, Rebecca Victoria (2017) ‘Tractatus de imagine mundi’, (a view of an imaginary world). Doctoral thesis (EdD), Manchester Metropolitan University.

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Abstract

This thesis takes the form of an arts-based inquiry. It asks questions about pedagogical constraints in the context of teaching and learning in Higher Education Initial Teacher Training under the auspices of the neoliberal practices, which dominate the present educational landscape. The inquiry uses emergent methodologies relating arts-based practice as research and follows diverging routes, which intertwine between performance and exegesis. The exegesis, in conjunction with performance, present a reflexive narrative that meanders throughout the inquiry offering a critical exploration to the reader. The project involved a group of fourteen Post Graduate Certificate of Education, Drama Trainees working in collaboration with the researcher, to devise an original piece of theatre entitled, ‘Tractatus de Imagine Mundi’ (A View of an Imaginary World). The project took place over a three-week period (approximately eight rehearsals), which culminated in two public performances – one matinee and one evening. The ensemble worked together during the ‘Enrichment Phase of the PGCE course, as a voluntary activity. The intention of the inquiry is to examine the processes involved in creating and performing a piece of live theatre using dramatic inquiry and devising and to examine pedagogical experiences and interactions that materialise therein. It also takes in to account the audience/observers’ perspective of drama as event. The thesis explores experience and events in ways other than they first presented themselves. Using a pluralistic approach to theory, the inquiry examines notions of shared experience and embodied learning, and asks how both conscious and unconscious connections might lead to a deeper and agentive sense of learning. Using the concept of drama as event, the inquiry asks: What can drama do? and explores the generative potential of drama practices in the wider context of HE and Initial Teacher Training. This thesis draws together text and performance and concludes that prioritising ways of creating, engaging and fostering active learning rather than fearful compliance might offer a constructive ethical response to contemporary pedagogical challenges in HE.

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