Life-Long Learnings: ‘Pedagogy’, Research-Based Theatre and the Ongoing Performance of Teachers’ Narratives

Invited Research Talk by Dr. Chris Summers, University of Melbourne

Date: July 5, 2024  
Time: 1 PM
Location: Multipurpose Room, Ponderosa Commons North, PCN 2012

Stories of teachers, schools and relationships with students are common in popular culture and research. What does it mean to return to one personal narrative of learning (and failing) to teach in a high-pressure program, for almost a decade in a variety of contexts? Focusing on his award-winning play, ‘Pedagogy’, Dr. Summers considers how presentations and workshops of the play – with mainstream audiences, teachers, education faculties and academics / researchers – have allowed for new explorations of meaning, new impacts with workshop participants, and new reckonings with teachers’ professional and personal identities. He argues that unlike conventional theatre, which ‘starts and ends’ and often only has a single season of a few weeks, research-based theatre offers exciting potentialities for practitioner-researchers to re-apply – and re-evaluate their relationship with their work, with others – again and again.

Bio: Dr. Chris Summers is a Lecturer in Arts Education (Drama) and Co-Director of the Research-based Theatre Lab at the Faculty of Education, University of Melbourne, Australia. He is a multi-award-winning playwright, former Writer-in-Residence at Melbourne Theatre Company 2018-2020, and recipient of a Dyason Fellowship 2024. Chris’s research incorporates research-based theatre, autoethnography, critical theory and education to explore the intersection of arts-based methods and social justice. He teaches and coordinates across the Masters of Teaching (Secondary), Masters of Education and undergraduate Breadth subjects. Formerly, Chris practiced law at Sydney’s HIV/AIDS Legal Centre and was a secondary teacher in low-socioeconomic high schools.