Stephanie Knight is an international artist/researcher in applied theatre and participatory arts, specialising in social justice and human rights, international collaboration and reconciliation. She has extensive experience in lecturing and education, and developing pedagogical and research methodologies with applied theatre and arts practitioners, at undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral levels. She has been the director of an international research centre and an arts organisation, as well as the director of arts & education projects nationally and internationally. Stephanie is Principal Editor of the International Journal of Arts & Communities. She is a judge for the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award.
Reclaiming the radical
Artists expect and are prepared to work in many contexts, some challenging, some dangerous, they remain passionate and committed due to their belief in justice and democracy, and the political and cultural rights of every citizen. It is the political belief in democratic rights and social justice that contributes to ensuring that the critical space in participatory arts practice is one of the few uncensored spaces for democratic education. The paradox is that governments, recognising the effectiveness of its practitioners, seek to employ them in for example, inclusive policies and regeneration agendas. Artists, to ensure funding, can find themselves serving specific policy needs.
Theatre For Social Change is a strong contributor to the movement to reclaim this uncensored space from being agenda-dominated, however one thing artists may be not so good at, is articulating their complex layers of practice. Some, for example, have not received any education for working in prisons, refugee camps and with vulnerable people. Yet a number of exceptional pieces of work have been created. This lack of articulation remains a prevailing undermining factor for artists working for social change. How for example, can artists ensure they do not damage themselves, and other people, oppressed communities and endangered cultures through ignorance of self?
The Workshop is designed to offer a framework of affirmation and support for Theatre for Social Change practitioners, in analysing and reflecting on their own work and others’ work within the fields; so to encourage documentation and dissemination of learning and arts practices in international publications, in literature and in peer reviewed journals.