Performing Local Places
Over the past 5 years we have been heavily involved in an on-going research project (led by Sally Mackey and the Royal Central School Of Speech and Drama) looking at how theatre practices can be used to help people form or strengthen positive connections with places they live in or frequent.
We have recently been awarded a grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council to continue our work in this field. In the early phases of this research we worked with refugees and asylum seekers (incoming migrants) and now, as a new avenue arising from the success of this project, Oldham Council has identified the need to engage existing communities (rather than incoming) in Oldham who struggle with different cultural understandings of mutual dwelling. (This is a particular problem in the Greater Manchester area: http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/new-project-tackle-discrimination-against-9290714.)
Expanding and building on the earlier project, we will work with Oldham Council and residents of the Clarksfield neighbourhood – where there is an incoming Roma community – and the challenges this presents for integration. An intended outcome of Performing Local Places is to develop a shared ‘plurality’ of place for residents, creating a space for harmonious locality.