How applied theatre and drama education engage with new intermedial forms.
This themed issue of RiDE invites contributions from practitioners in the field of applied theatre and drama education that reflect upon the opportunities and challenges of the ever-increasing mutability of the dramatic form in contemporary cultures across the world. It builds upon the recent themed issue: Innovation, technology and converging practices in drama education and applied theatre (Volume 17, Issue 4 2012) in its recognition of technology’s influence in this domain, whilst seeking to consider the multiple confluences of media that are occurring at a local, national and transnational level; informing and destabilising many of the conventions of dramatic practice.
This themed issue of RiDE, entitled Responding to intermediality, therefore calls for contributions that reflect on how applied theatre and drama education have responded or may respond to these new intermedial and intermodal challenges. Proposals are particularly welcomed from practitioners in theatre and performance and drama educators who have utilised intermedial practices in applied and educational settings, and have experiences and observations from a diverse range of discourses that reflect the geographical and cultural breadth of this theme.
We must be mindful however, that when referring to such hybrid practice, we do not assume that it is either ubiquitous or uniform across all locations or cultures. Different contexts offer specific possibilities and tensions dependant on artistic and educational traditions, access to technology, socio-economic liberties or constraints, gender specific issues, alongside a multiplicity of other factors. This issue welcomes proposals that are mindful to and analytical of these factors.
The specific term intermedia was first coined by the writer and Fluxus artist Dick Higgins in his 1966 essay succinctly entitled Intermedia, which was an attempt to describe the new hybrid forms of performance that were proliferating at the time. He noted ‘…much of the best work being produced today seems to fall between media.’ (1966: 1) There is now, arguably, a constant hybridisation of the dramatic medium, fusing together new intermedial forms using live disciplines such as dance and circus skills, but also visual arts and digital practices ranging from film and screen-based practices, through to telematic, virtual and augmented reality applications. These fusions are not merely combinations of pre-existing art forms that can be defined and analysed through their constituent parts, but rather they are new phenomena in which the respective media generate, in the words of Chiel Kattenbelt, a ‘mutual affect’. (2007: 6) Alongside these confluences of ‘discreet’ media, there are countless modal interactions where recognisable paradigms, traits or structural elements from one medium are being appropriated into drama.
In recent years, the subjects of intermediality and intermodality have been reflected upon at length by many writers, including Freda Chapple and Chiel Kattenbelt (2006), Sarah Bay-Cheng et al. (2010) and Lars Elleström (2010). Further debates have centred around the proliferation of novel forms of theatre that are defined and shaped by digital and networking technologies, such as those termed ‘virtual theatres’ (Giannachi 2004), ‘digital performances’ (Dixon 2007), or other (Benford and Giannachi 2011, Parker-Starbuck 2011).
Some of these theorizations include critical analysis of how such hybrid forms impact on applied theatre and socially engaged practice. Notably, Carroll et al. (2006, 2009) have considered the potential of technology within the drama classroom to reveal new modes of learning, although their focus was more specifically on technology as a tool within education, rather than the wider consideration of intermedial pedagogy. Several writers, including Amy Petersen Jensen (2008) have also highlighted the significance of multimodal literacies within young peoples lives and how pedagogy may seek to harness this knowledge more creatively. However, the field is developing so rapidly that only parts of this territory have been explored to date with limited examples of how drama pedagogy has responded or may respond in the future.
Contributions to this themed issue may be represented in a wide variety of formats, to capture and reflect the extent of practices. A range of written journal articles are encouraged from short 1,000 word provocations to longer 4 – 5,000 word papers. We would also welcome dialogues, interviews, and practitioner reflections. Furthermore, contributors may wish to consider hybrid media responses that consist of a combination of writing and audiovisual materials, including visual and filmic vignettes and commentaries on rehearsal processes, class based projects, community interventions and events etc, which can be accessed online.
It is anticipated that responses to the theme will be diverse, but could consider some of the following questions:
- What new modes of enquiry does intermediality create for applied theatre educators and learners?
- What new potential is there for individual and collective learning?
- How do specific geographical or cultural factors influence applied intermedial practice?
- What culturally specific opportunities and tensions arise when conventional drama strategies are encroached upon by other media influences in form and/or content?
- Do technologically infused drama learning environments connect or isolate us?
- Do we become fragile or empowered citizens in the face of technology in performance and the uncertainties of hybridity?
- What skill-sets or knowledge ‘repositories’ are required to teach drama in these intermedial environments?
- Do specific groups of learners (age groups, genders etc) respond differently to new intermedia forms? If so, how and why?
- How may drama teaching and learning be defined, articulated or argued for in the face of such hybridity?
- What future paradigms may be predicted in this field?
Proposals may also wish to draw upon key theoretical concepts related to the topics of intermediality and intermodality including hybridity, hypermediality, intertextuality, intramediality, remediation, transmediality, digitality and network culture.
Bay-Cheng, S. et al. (eds.) (2010) Mapping Intermediality in Performance. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.
BENFORD, S. and Giannachi, G. (2011) Performing Mixed Reality. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Carroll, J., Anderson, M. and Cameron, D. (2006) real players? drama, technology and education. Trentham Books.
Carroll, J., Anderson, M. and Cameron, D. (2009) Drama Education with Digital Technology. London: Continuum.
Chapple, F. and Kattenbelt, C. (2006) Key issues in intermediality. In: CHAPPLE, F and KATTENBELT C. (eds.) Intermediality in Theatre and Performance. Amsterdam: Rodopi. pp. 11 – 25.
dixon, S. (2007) Digital Performance: A History of New Media in Theatre, Dance, Performance Art and Installation. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Elleström, L. (2010) The Modalities of Media: A Model for Understanding Intermedial Relations. In: Elleström, L. (ed.) Media Borders, Multimodality and Intermediality. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 11–48.
GIANNACHI, G. (2004) Virtual Theatres: An Introduction. London and New York: Routledge.
HIGGINS, D. (1966) Intermedia. The Something Else Newsletter. Vol. 1 No 1. Something Else Press Inc. New York (online) Available: http://primaryinformation.org/SEP/Something-Else-Press_Newsletter_V1N1.pdf
Jensen, A. P. (2008) Multimodal Literacy and Theater Education. Arts Education Policy Review, Vol. 109 Issue 5, pp. 19-28.
KATTENBELT, C. (2007) Intermediality: a Redefinition of Media and a Resensibilization of Perception (online) Available: http://www.palatine.ac.uk/events/viewreport/515/
PARKER-STARBUCK, J. (2011) Cyborg Theatre: Corporeal/Technological Intersections in Multimedia Performance. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Proposals: 1st April 2015
First drafts: 1st September 2015
Hybrid media responses: November and December 2015
Final copy: 1st February 2016
Publication: May 2016
RiDE: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance is a refereed journal aimed at those who are interested in applying performance practices to cultural engagement, educational innovation and social change. It provides an international forum for research into drama and theatre conducted in community, educational, developmental and therapeutic contexts. The journal offers a dissemination of completed research and research in progress, and through its Points and Practices section it encourages debate between researchers both on its published articles and on other matters. Contributions are drawn from a range of people involved in drama and theatre from around the world. It aims to bring the fruits of the best researchers to an international readership and to further debates in the rich and diverse field of educational drama and applied theatre.
Peer Review Policy:
All research articles in this journal undergo rigorous peer review, based on initial editor screening and anonymized refereeing by at least two anonymous referees. All reviewers are internationally recognized in their field, and the editorial board of Research in Drama Education aims to support scholars from many different parts of the world.