Participatory theatre for transformative social research

Erel, Umut; Reynolds, Tracey and Kaptani, Erene (2017). Participatory theatre for transformative social research. Qualitative Research, 17(3) pp. 302–312.



Reflecting on the transformative potential of participatory theatre methods for social research, the article draws on a project with ethnically diverse migrant mothers in London. The research reframes the experiences and practices of socially and ethnically marginalized migrant mothers as active interventions into citizenship. We also challenge recurring public discourses casting migrant mothers as threats to social and cultural cohesion who do not contribute but instead draw on the resources of the welfare state. We highlight how participatory theatre methods create spaces for the participants to enact social and personal conflicts. It also validates migrant mothers’ subjugated knowledges of caring and culture work creating new forms of citizenship. By enacting different versions of collective stories, the theatre sessions therefore become rehearsals for socio-political transformations.

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