Staging Identities and Multiplied Dialogic Spaces in Higher Education

Tatiana Chemi, Kristian Firing

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In this paper, we address the topic of dialogic pedagogy in a performative key. No place cultivates dialogue in all its complexity as theatre: here all elements are always, necessarily in relational conversation with each other. This dialogue is of a unique kind: theatre performs dialogic processes as embodied exchanges between humans, non-humans (props, costumes, scenography, sounds) and imagined-humans (characters). We look at embodied/relational theatrical practices in two different contexts in higher education, with the purpose to collect new insights on the practical and conceptual role of performance in education. Our objective is the exploration of the stage experience, with its embodied dialogue and building of imagined identities. Our empirical study consists in two different set of data collected at two different higher educational programmes where theatrical tools are applied to non-arts education. The novelty of this paper lies in the conceptual and empirical rethinking of performance and performativity in higher educational practices, by giving processes of redoubling of bodies, realities, worlds, identities a focused attention. We make use of theories about performance, dialogism and identity-building. In the concluding section, we sum up original findings and possible take-aways for the reader: 1) limen, 2) being naked, 3) embodied knowledge, 4) stage empowerment. Against the background of this knowledge, higher education can reinvent ways of establishing embodied conversations, which allow for multiple meanings to emerge from bodies and senses, rather than exclusively from rationality and logic.
Original languageEnglish
JournalOrganizational Aesthetics
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)21-40
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • dialogic pedagogy
  • arts-based
  • dramaturgy
  • staged identity
  • redoubling
  • theatre in education
  • applied theatre
  • drama

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