Winning performance for local students
Press release issued: 17 December 2008
Eleven students from Merchants' Academy, Withywood, took part in an award ceremony at Bristol University yesterday [16 December]. The event was to mark their participation in a drama workshop, which explored what it is like to be a teenager in Bristol in 2008.
The Year 9 and 10 students (aged 13-14 years) attended the workshop in the October half term as part of a Bristol University research programme to develop innovative methods for obtaining children and young people's views of their out-of-school learning experiences.
Using drama techniques, the four-day workshop worked towards achieving a series of performances held on the final day, entitled 'Stories from the heart'. As part of the project, the students took part in interviews and focus groups about various aspects of their lives, which touched on some moving and sensitive issues. In these performances each student acted as designer and director of a performance by some of the other students, which focused on a key element of their out-of-school learning.
The workshop, led by Martin Hughes, ESRC Professorial Research Fellow in the University's Graduate School of Education (GSOE), was run by Meg Whelan and Dawn Miller from Kokopelli Theatre, a Bristol-based theatre company. It was set-up by Vicki Stinchcombe, a researcher in GSOE, and Polly Higgins, a drama teacher at the Academy.
Professor Hughes said: "The workshop has generated a unique set of data that will prove invaluable in our research. At the same time, the students' feedback suggested they had benefited greatly from the experience. They commented on how they had acquired drama skills, gained confidence, and been able to share some important experiences from their lives. And they enjoyed themselves too!
"Overall the drama workshop provides an excellent example of how the University and the Academy can work together for the benefit of all concerned."