Welcome to the 2019 Pedagogy & Theatre of the Oppressed Conference Schedule!
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Friday, June 14 • 10:45am - 12:15pm
Adapting Conventional Techniques for Revolutionary Purposes LIMITED

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Limited Capacity seats available

Title #1: "“Four legs badass, two legs wasteman!” –  Reimagining Orwell for Austerity Britain"
Presenter: James Kenworth
Description: "Man's the enemy. Always was. Always will be. Whose side are you on?"
Abstract: In 2014, I was given special permission by AM heath Agents on behalf of the George Orwell estate to adapt and modernise Orwell’s classic satire, Animal Farm, and give it a fresh, contemporary twist, injecting its timeless tale of a revolution that went wrong with a gritty, urban, ‘in-yer-face’ language.  

The play was unique in another respect: it was staged on one of London’s longest established and largest inner city farms: Newham City Farm,
with The Independent’s Paul Taylor calling the play “a terrifically powerful update of Orwell’s classic”.

In this paper, I will explore the process/methodology of adapting a literary classic with a contemporary spin, with special emphasis on a creative and expressive approach to playwriting language/dialogue. The paper will also address the challenges of setting the play on an inner city farm and how the use of non-conventional theatre spaces affects and reconfigures the relationship between a play and audience.
Title #2: "Is Grading Inherently Oppressive?"
Presenter: Ken Burak
Description: Let’s talk about grading.Can we truly engage in Friere-inspired critical pedagogy if we maintain the hierarchical relationship of grader-graded?  What alternatives are there?  What about self-grading?
Abstract: Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed invite us to engage in pedagogical strategies that challenge the hierarchical, oppressive relationship of Teacher/Student and Actor/Spectator respectively.  But can we do so effectively if we grade our students, leaving in place the hierarchical relationship grader/graded?

After a brief presentation on how I personally came to question grading, including a review of grading abolitionist Alfie Kohn -- as well as on my practice of not grading my students – they have been self-grading for almost ten years – I will facilitate a discussion about grading, exploring such questions as:

1. Is grading inherently oppressive? Are there non-oppressive ways of grading?
2. Does grading counteract our efforts to create lifelong learners by teaching students to identify learning with school?
3. According to the theory of the overjustification effect, extrinsic motivation (rewards and punishments) tends to erode intrinsic motivation. By bribing our students with the rewards of good grades and threatening them with the punishment of bad ones, are we killing their intrinsic motivation to learn, their curiosity?
4. In an ideal world, without any pressure from our employers in academic institutions, what alternatives might there be to grading?
5. In our actual world, where we are pressured by our employers in academic institutions to grade our students, what alternatives to grading are possible?
6. What has your experience grading, or not grading, students been? What has your experience of being graded, or not being graded, been?

I don’t plan to come to this session with answers, but rather to create a space for educators and students to discuss and learn from one another’s wisdom and experience. 


Ken Burak

Professor of Philosophy, Northampton Community College
I have been teaching Philosophy from a liberatory and social justice perspective for over twenty years and my work has been heavily influenced, in content and form, by the traditions of Friere and Boal.  My PhD dissertation title was "Logic and Resistance: Reading Hegel in the Age... Read More →

James Kenworth

Middlesex University
I am a Creative Writing Lecturer/Academic and Professional Playwright and have been engaged in writing plays for socially engaged and urban community-based theatre, which involve a collaboration between professional actors and young people from economically deprived areas of London... Read More →

Friday June 14, 2019 10:45am - 12:15pm MDT
ASG Meeting Room 202 (Upper Level) 2200 Bonforte Blvd, Pueblo, CO 81001, USA