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Anthropology Research Seminar

February 27, 2024
27 University Square/01/003
16:00 - 17:15

Dr Sara Walmsley-Pledl (QUB), ‘Making Performance through Co-creation – A Transforming Experience?’

This talk is about practice as research in relation to socially-engaged creative work with Ukrainian refugees in Dublin during summer 2023. The focus is on co-creation and transformation, in particular the engendering of resilience. A number of perspectives are offered for framing the evolving process of moving from the act of sharing lived experiences through to development of a coherent performative piece of art. This establishes the versatility of a creative pedagogy for artist and co-creators to support shared imaginings with the potential of subsequent social impact. I suggest that an emergent performance both in process and realisation is a form of ethnography. I use the concept of Structured Play to frame the facilitation of a shared, imagined  and safe space where participants explore creative possibilities through collaboration and knowledge exchange. The presentation also addresses the issue of funding and applied arts. I argue that the legacy of participatory performance arts lies in the generation of social and cultural capital as well as the acquisition of artistic literacy and resilience. 

Dr Walmsley-Pledl is an artist and researcher and is currently a Visiting Scholar at Queen’s. She is interested in creative engagement and transformation. She has investigated the social and creative processes in music ensembles in Germany (Ph.D QUB, A.H.R.C. funded 2003-7). She carried out a project with the Ulster Museum in 2012 on expanding access to their collection for the visually-impaired. She was a Leverhulme Trust Artist in Residence (2015-16). She then worked Germany with refugees on participation in theatre. More recently she has worked on the Community Engagement through Performance Art (CEPA) project that forms part of a Dublin City University research project (run by Dr Marcos Dias and funded by the Irish Research Council) on co-creating performance with Ukrainian refugees in Dublin. Currently she works in the area of climate change and flood-affected communities (Blueprint 2024) and increasing awareness and resilience through the sharing of lived experience, soundscape creation and performance-making. 


School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics
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