Ethics, Agency and Disruption: Toward a rights-based practice of working with children in contemporary performance
AuthorAustin, Sarah Louise
AffiliationVictorian College of the Arts
Document TypePhD thesis
Access StatusOpen Access
© 2019 Sarah Louise Austin
This thesis, comprising 50% written dissertation and 50% creative work, argues for a new ethical model of working with children and young people in contemporary performance. Through analysis of Youth Arts pedagogies, inclusive theatre practice, models of participation, the symbolic potential of the child in performance and the work of contemporary Australian practitioners making work with children for adult audiences, this thesis explores an innovative ‘rights-based’ model of contemporary performance practice relevant to working with children and young people. This model, framed by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), challenges the idea of children as vulnerable and in need of protection and argues for the recognition of the child’s voice and champions the creativity of children in performance. The combined practical and written outcomes of this thesis offer a new, nuanced understanding of children as cultural agents, raising the prospect of a creative process that foregrounds deeper considerations of the strengths and capacities of children.
Keywordscontemporary performance, collaboration, rights-based, inclusive theatre, working with children, cultural agency, child's voice
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