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Image theatre as a method for evaluation and research

The field of art-based methods for evaluation and research is growing rapidly. Both researchers and art practitioners are finding the ways to collaborate with each other and bringing socially engaged art tools to the field of social research. I have recently presented with my DiArt colleagues at the Educating Creatively Conference in Chester (UK) September 2019. This was indeed a collaborative project between two applied theatre practitioners and one researcher. This were our research questions:

Does the body contain information?
•Can we generate data through the body?
•Can we collect embodied data?
•Can we code it, analyse it and interpret it?
•What is the role and skills of the researcher?

We focused on the work of August Boal´s image theatre and how physical theatre can be used to articulate and share people experiences. The purpose was to initiate a conversation and future practice of image and physical theatre as an innovative art-based research method.

DiArt at Educating Creatively Conference, Chester, September 2019

We conducted a laboratory at Fabra & Coats in Barcelona to experiment with the body, movement and more specifically image theatre as an art-based evaluation method. We used the developed tool and our new learning to undertake an evaluation session at Xamfrà, a community centre for Music and Theatre in Barcelona.

So this is what we found out:

•The process involves that we embark on various cycles of reflecting through the body, followed verbal discussion with the intention of constantly connecting the two kinds of data (verbal/intellect with movement/body)
•Image theatre can be used in the stages of generating new data, developing themes, coding/categorising data, interpret data and share it
•The method can generate different insights
•This technique allows participants to revise the themes of their research by adding a lens of their embodied knowledge
• You make sure that data analysis stays grounded as opposed to purely rational

Are you interested in developing your understanding of the body, movement and image theatre as an art-based research method? Do contact us at www.diartconsulting.net and tell us about your interest.

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