English, Drama and Writing Studies

Understanding Disorders of the Brain Using Drama


Supervisor

Dr Rina Kim
Ext. 87348

Discipline

English, Drama and Writing Studies

Project code: ART017

Currently, I am developing ideas for an interdisciplinary project for a HRC (Health Research Council) application. Advances in medical science are allowing doctors to keep more people with severe brain injuries alive including people with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Indeed, impaired cognitive capacities in these cases encourage us to redefine the essence of who we are, requesting an expanded notion of personhood. As part of my preliminary research, this project aims to examine the role of arts in general and theatrical performance and simulations in particular in understanding disorders of the brain, and in enhancing brain function and well-being. For instance, in the innovative transdisciplinary project ‘Beckett on the Wards’, Jonathan Heron et al, adapted methods from theatrical rehearsal (such as games, improvisation and movement work) using Beckett’s plays in order to appeal to people who had direct patient contact including managers and clinicians. The project aimed to show that theatre offers a means to understand challenging mental conditions, and raise the importance of “compassionate care” by engaging imaginatively. However, this method is not easily accessible due to its cost to run, and I will be looking for an alternative model to create pedagogical and accessible resources for people who have direct patient contact.

Scholar’s Work

The selected scholar will conduct research on existing models that employ theatre to promote empathy and compassionate care for people with brain related diseases including dementia as well as people suffering from mental illness. My research mainly focuses on dementia. However, some of the games and communication tools, which are developed to encourage mental health carers and practitioners to have empathy towards their patients, could be applicable to the pedagogical model I am planning to develop. The scholar will also do research on existing studies and engaging activities that use art, performance, theatrical stimulations, music, voice and movement that help people with brain related diseases maintain a meaningful lifestyle and stay connected with other people. I will be training the scholar in essential research skills and method. The scholar will also have an opportunity to discuss his/her findings and will be encouraged to develop critical and creative thinking. If the scholar becomes involved in the process of creating pedagogical resources, s/he will become co-author of presentations at international conferences and articles for publication in academic journals.

The scholar’s main work, therefore, includes

1)    To find interesting, relevant and reliable resources including academic articles and case studies

2)    To read and analyse the resource materials

3)    To categorize and summarize each article and finding

4)    To create a bibliography

5)    To be involved in the process of creating pedagogical resources for training people who are involved in patient care.

Required Skills/Pre-requisites

The scholar should major or minor in Drama and/or Psychology. The candidate should have a good understanding of the genre of Drama and theatrical performance as well as a basic knowledge in Psychology. A candidate who has some voluntary or work experience in mental health care, aged/dementia care or domestic violence helpline would be preferred. Effective oral and written communication skills are required.

Literature Review and Preliminary research for Marsden Proposal: Teaching Oceanic Literature: A Global Guide (Book)


Supervisor

Assoc. Prof. Selina Tusitala Marsh

Discipline

English, Drama and Writing Studies

Project code: ART018

I aim to submit a Marsden proposal in February 2018.  I propose to write and edit a book called ‘Teaching Oceanic Literature: A Global Guide’ with regional editors representing Polynesia (including French Polynesia), Melanesia, and Micronesia.  Prompted by twelve years experience as a Pasifika literary scholar who actively engages in the community, this book aims to meet the ongoing demand for two things from teachers (primary to secondary) and those who teach Postcolonial literature elsewhere in the world who want to include Oceania:

1) how do they increase their Oceanic curricula (defined here as literature written by those indigenous to the Pacific)?

2) how might they best teach it?

This book will gather texts, resources, and teaching expertise in Oceanic and indigenous classroom pedagogy from around Oceania to answer both these demands.  Drawing upon Talanoa Methodology (face-to-face conversation), the book will explore knowledge not readily available online and interweave invaluable insights and findings collected from regional symposia, interviews and classroom explorations.

Scholar’s Work

Create a Literature Review on current Pacific/Oceanic literature teaching pedagogical sources. This includes researching whether there is a book like this out there, or close approximates.

Data Collection

You will need to collate information from a variety of online sources in order to provide the following information:

  • ·What Pacific and/or Ocean courses are currently being taught at tertiary institutions around the world or have been taught in the past 5 years?
  • Who is currently teaching Pacific/Oceanic literature and where?
  • What texts and authors are listed on their curriculum?
  • How is the course organised?
  • What secondary sources are listed and under which category?
  • Are their teaching methods, learning environment pedagogies mentioned and if so, what does this entail?

Where helpful and relevant, you will need to create a visual map of the information gathered, ie, a regional map of active teachers / institutions teaching in the field; a word cloud of popular authors/texts being taught.

Once this information has been given you’ll need to analyse the data for patterns that will include these kinds of questions:

  • Which authors/texts are taught the most and why?
  • Are there common pedagogical practices and if so, are there discernible patterns (regionally? Politically?)
  • What gives a curriculum longevity (Page and e-publication? Accompanying online resources? Locality of authors?)
  • Why has it ceased being taught in institutions where it used to be?

Required Skills/Pre-requisites

You will need to be well organised, competent with keeping records and adhering to the agreed MLA style guide, meticulous with facts, curious (ie, community colleges might have less information on their websites than universities and so other avenues must be pursued),  flexible (plans change, questions change), a good and responsive communicator.  Experience in data collection and analysis would be advantagous.  An interest in (or curiousity about) Pacific/Oceanic and/or Indigenous Studies literature is a must, and an interest in learning pedagogy is beneficial.

Applicants should address these required skills in their application and indicate if they have been in touch with the proposed supervisor.

Modern poetry and creative theory


Supervisor

A/P Lisa Samuels

Discipline

English, Drama and Writing Studies

Project code: ART019

To research further the relation between modern and contemporary poetry and theory in order to revise my in-process essay monograph Imagining What We Don’t Know: essays in creative theory. Poets whose work is examined in the essays include Gertrude Stein, Laura Riding, Leslie Scalapino, Lyn Hejinian, and Carolee Schneemann. Theorists whose work is especially pertinent in the essays include Charles Sanders Peirce, Theodor Adorno, Édouard Glissant, and Michel de Certeau. Two points of difference distinguish this work: the intersection of experimental poetry and theory and the combination of expository essays and experimental poetics.

Scholar’s Work

The scholar would operate as a research assistant, helping to investigate areas of modern/contemporary poetry and theory and their intersections. This research would involve library and online research into past work and new developments in experimental criticism, intersections of theory and poetics, and specific modernist and contemporary topics involving the authors whose work is treated in the monograph’s essays. For example, the scholar would research approximately the last five years of publications in the authors whose work is taken up centrally in the essays. The scholar would also read through the essay collection draft of Imagining What We Don’t Know in order to be situated in the arguments and opportunities of the monograph.

Required Skills/Pre-requisites

The scholar needs library and online research skills including database, archive, and scholarly monograph analysis. This requirement means that the scholar needs to be able to carry out independent research in consultation with the project supervisor. A relative familiarity with some of the discourses of “humanities” and literary studies is requisite. Additional familiarity with poetry studies, semiotics, digital literatures, and transnational critical theory would be an added bonus. The scholar would certainly be encountering some of the details and implications of the aforementioned discourses in the course of the research work.

Applicants should address these required skills in their application and indicate if they have been in touch with the proposed supervisor.