Posted on 07/02/2012
Helen Nicholson was the keynote speaker, panellist and workshop leader for The Festival of Original Theatre (FOOT), a conference and theatre festival at the University of Toronto, Canada, that brings together academia and the arts for cross-disciplinary exploration and exchange. FOOT celebrated its 20th anniversary at the conference on February 2 – 5, 2012.
This year’s FOOT interrogates the complex relationships between Theatre and Learning in both theory and practice. The conference comprised three broad areas of exploration: learning theatre, learning through theatre and theatre plus learning. Each stream feature scholarly panels, performances, workshops and a roundtable discussion. With presenters from six different countries, this year’s festival was a unique international forum for researchers, artists, students, teachers and parents to meet and explore theatre in education, theatre for social change, theatre training and theatre for young audiences (TYA), among many others.
Helen Nicholson’s keynote drew on inter-disciplinary research to consider the city as a pedagogic site of performance, a place to learn and to reflect on questions of social justice. Taking examples of practice from London, England, her keynote opened new questions about the materiality of learning, and the implications of globalisation on artistic pedagogic practices. Helen’s workshop, that drew on her experiences of working in Japan, extended this theme by considering the cultural specificity and porousness of theatre-making with young people