Partner Newsletter 2017 September

September 2017

Dear Partners

Welcome to E-Newsletter number three for the ARC Linkage Project, Creative Convergence.

August and September have been busy – out and about in the field for the research team!

In August and early September, our focus was MTC’s Melbourne Talam. We visited three schools in three regional areas – Geelong, Wangaratta and South Morang – to work with students. In this fieldwork, the research team were focussed on asking students to reflect upon the ways in which the performance remains important to them, beyond (or in spite of) curriculum expectations. We offered a ninety-minute workshop, with a variety of activities that ask young people to recreate aspects of the performance from memory, curate a personal exhibition of images from production photographs, and respond in writing to written prompts such as reviews, quotations and roles. We are also continuing to expand our evaluation of impact measures by using the Dimensions of Experience chart that we introduced at our first partner meeting earlier this year.

In August, we attended Arena Theatre Company’s world premiere production of Trapper at Art Centre Melbourne, and members of the research team will be travelling to East Gippsland in mid-October to follow Arena’s work with schools in that region.

The research team has also begun work with Geelong Performing Arts Centre’s Take Over program, observing workshops, conducting interviews and working with young people from different schools who participated in that program. We are currently working on part two of this project – exploring its online life.

We’ve also watched Bell Shakespeare’s Macbeth, performed at Arts Centre Melbourne in August, and interviewed director, James Evans about choices he makes in preparing the play for schools and for touring. As follow-up, the team will be working with Bell’s regional teacher scholarship recipients to build an online, participatory transmedia experiences for students to explore early next year.

HotHouse Theatre’s At the Hip, a verbatim theatre performance concerning the development of the twin cities of Wodonga and Albury from community and key stakeholders’ perspectives, will be the basis of our first case study with that company. Plans are underway to create an online digital archive of the work that will act as a model for further projects within the longer study that is Creative Convergence.

A meeting with Arthur is imminent and Meg will be attending the National Youth Arts Summit October 6 and 7 to gauge the national temperature re youth arts and theatre for young people.


Each newsletter we ask one of the research team to offer a personal insight into the research process. This newsletter you hear from Abbie Trott, PhD student, Creative Convergence. In this spotlight, Abbie focuses on Dimensions of Experience and the early data being collected around terms that describe impact and affect.

Building on the research into the dimensions of engagement with industry professionals we have asked drama students at three schools across Victoria to fill in the survey. Preliminary analysis of data collected from 71 young people and industry professionals indicates that ‘risk’ and ‘meaning’ were the most common dimensions selected. Interestingly 53% young people circled meaning in comparison to only 28% of industry professionals, with one student stating that “when you can understand a hidden meaning in the play it makes it more enjoyable.” On the other hand, 54% of industry professionals identified risk as central to engagement in contrast to only 21% of young people.

Captivation was identified by 26% of students and 27% of industry professionals as being the next most common term selected over all. Interestingly enthusiasm was only minimally important to industry professionals with 8% but quite important to the students with 24%. Further, while local impact was significant for 46% of the industry professionals, only 3% of students circled it on their survey.

Early analysis indicates that there is some disparity emerging between how young people and industry professionals think about engagement and impact.


Creative Convergence Partner Meeting #2

When: Wednesday 15 November 2017, 3.30-5.00pm

Where: Digital Studio, Arts West, University of Melbourne

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions, concerns or feedback. We look forward to speaking with you all soon.

Warm regards

Dr Megan Upton


On behalf of the research team

Creative Convergence: Enhancing Impact in Regional Theatre for Young People