Negotiated Hopes: Reconfiguring Narratives of Self-worth (REF 2021 Practice Research Submission)

Ong, Adelina (2020) Negotiated Hopes: Reconfiguring Narratives of Self-worth (REF 2021 Practice Research Submission). The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London. ISBN 978-1-8383968-2-4


Negotiated Hopes: Reconfiguring Narratives of Self-worth is a multi-component practice research project that identifies fears experienced by young people (between 15 and 21 years of age) in Singapore where narratives of self-worth are too narrowly defined by academic performance. Through the development of these two new practice research interventions that took place in two education contexts in Singapore, and theorisation developed in two peer-reviewed articles, this practice research establishes new urban art-inspired applied performance practices that are highly relevant to young people in Singapore. In my practice research, I use Art du Déplacement (ADD) and breakin’ moves to resist the pervasive discourses of failure and disavowal that frame the lives of many Singaporean young people deemed “un-academic” in formal education. Using an adapted narrative inquiry as my methodology, findings emerging from this socially engaged practice research indicate that students can resist the temptation to seek external validation by developing a narrative of self-worth based on their own experiences of conceptual learning and understanding outside of the formal education system. Creating these counternarratives of self-worth through this novel urban art-inspired applied performance practice is a vital tool in countering the stigmatisation and social invalidation experienced by many Singaporean students, which have been identified as triggers for self-harm, depression and suicide. The principal contribution of this applied performance practice research lies in using ADD and breakin’ to create a new applied theatre practice that reconfigures Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed techniques for the formation of more hopeful narratives of self-worth amongst young Singaporeans. This practice research has been disseminated through one peer-reviewed article, one book chapter in an edited collection, 14 workshops in universities and community theatre organisations within the UK and five conference presentations.


Published Version - PDF (REF 2021 Practice Research Submission)

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