This blog introduces my emerging performance studies theory of Adaptivism; which fosters an ability to respond to life challenges with a fully resourced capacity for creative response; for generating alternatives, solutions, innovations, for taking initiative. The Theatre of Social Change is a non-critical performing space in which Adaptivism is developed. Working outside; away from the proscenium of aesthetic theatre, we gather in parks, houses, TV studios, offices, on the road, at supermarkets and train stations, actualising an unorthodox, unfunded, inclusive, ethical canvas for dreaming, for thinking and crafting bold gestures of social change.
Adaptivism invites collaboration; stimulating creative practice and collaborative discourse in a world of adversity and opportunity. The projects aim to engage young adults at the pivotal threshold of the profoundly important stage of initiation into adulthood. Performative objectives seek to develop methods and practices that encourage free thinking and enable confident expressions of selfhood within a creative landscape.
Many of the short performance works on this site have been collaborated, filmed performance projects produced by Teone Reinthal and include a number of talented first year university students of the Introduction to Social Enterprise Course at Griffith University (2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014).
Although the course is not a performative subject, I have urged it to become so, with the enthusiastic support of my convenor, Dr Susanna Chamberlain and the unbounded, inspiring courage and talents of my curious and unlimited students.
The blog contains activism links, a small selection of my community films, previous projects relevant to the topic of social enterprise, class power-points and a collection of writings, (some of my own, and some lucid, inspirational works of others). My writing on the blog reflects on past and present community-based arts projects, and seeks to define why and how I teach, offering insight into the motivating forces behind my work, and how I strive to encourage others towards accessing and mobilising their own creative abilities.
KICKING THE CAN…
What happens when we allow American culture to overwhelm Australian culture? What can we do to stimulate healthier experiences and excitement in our young people, as alternatives to self-harming and community-harming ways? What social consequences exist for families and communities when substance abuse occurs? What additional support do communities need to help prevent and heal these issues?
How do creative expressions benefit communities?
In 2008 Logan Beaudesert Health Coalition (Queensland Health) commissioned me to provide media training in creative performance and technical facility for Indigenous youth within Beaudesert community. The training project sought to raise stories derived from community consulted dialogues about youth health issues (substance abuse, under-age joy-riding etc).
The project, originally planned as a short-term (6 week) visual arts intervention engagement has since gathered momentum, having now spanned twelve months, and continues to expand. A range of emerging works have been developed to culminate in several outcomes – Rain Painting, a short narrative drama, an exhibition of production stills by Steve Reinthal, KTC (1 & 2), documentaries that make comment on the tough issues of chroming and community-driven response to healing these problems.
For me, as a visual artist, this Indigenous-specific creative partnership consolidates several years of rewarding professional engagement resulting from an immersion in Queensland Indigenous community arts projects. My projects draw broadly from these fruitful relationships, and examine opportunities for traditional and contemporary culture to support social development through assisted forms of creative expression. Permission has been granted from the Mununjali community and from Queensland Health to utilise the field research in the theoretical reporting, and for these findings to be incorporated into academic documentation which will be given back to the communities for reflection and archiving.
“I want to be clear in my project’s intentions that I am creating an artist’s dialogue that is in no way attempting to rehabilitate or superimpose external values about people’s choices. It simply serves to open creative platforms for discussion, and stimulate potentially healthier pathways for self-development. The process offers rich learning outcomes about social and personal consequences of substance misuse.”