Comdev – Joint seminar, MGD and Research Methodology 9-11 November 2012 (archive)

January 16, 2013

Place: Malmö University (Black Box) | Get in Time (Time zone converter)

Preliminary programme

Friday 9 November

  • 10 – 11 (9 AM GMT)
    Introduction to the seminar
    Oscar Hemer and Ylva Ektröm
  • 11 – 12 Lecture
    Social Engagement at the Intersection of Ethnography and Theatre/Performance
    Debra Vidali, Emory University, Atlanta (USA)
  • 13 – 15 (12 PM GMT) Ethnography/Theatre for Social Change Workshop 1
    Story Sharing
    Introductory theatre workshop exercises and games to break the ice and to get some ideas about the performance piece content
    Henry Scott, Kennesaw State University, Atlanta
  • 15.30 – 17.30
    Re-Generation Film Screening & Discussion


Saturday 10 November

  • 9.30 – 10.30 (8.30 AM GMT) Lecture
    Writing Ethnography. Fiction as a means of exploring a contested and traumatic past
    Oscar Hemer, Malmö University
  • 11 – 12 Lecture
    Voices and Representation as Key Issues in Ethnography

    Debra Vidali

  • 13 – 15 (12 PM GMT) Ethnography/Theatre for Social Change Workshop 2
    Ethnographic Interviewing/Documenting Life
    Training in ethnographic skills and practice using these skills to generate material for the performance piece
    Debra Vidali and Henry Scott
  • 15.15 – 16.15 Lecture
    Performance and Social Change: A Cross-Cultural Overview
    Debra Vidali and Henry Scott
  • 16.15 – 18 Ethnography/Theatre for Social Change Workshop 3
    Creativity and Collaboration
    Beginning to distill the shape and content of our Malmö theatrical performance. Assessment of material generated so far. Decisions on what we have heard and what we want to achieve

Sunday 11 November

  • 9.30 – 15 (8.30 AM GMT) Ethnography/Theatre for Social Change Workshop 4
    Finalization of Re-Generation @Malmö performance
    Review, Integration, Polish, Rehearsal
  • 16 – 18.30 Performance
    Re-Generation @Malmö
    followed by audience discussion


Guest lecturers and workshop leaders

Debra Spitulnik Vidali
Founder and Academic Director, Re-Generation Initiative
Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, Emory University, Atlanta (USA)

Henry Scott
Co-Artistic Director, Re-Generation Theatre for Social Change
Lecturer, Department of Theatre, Performance Studies & Dance, Kennesaw State University, Atlanta


Re-Generation @Malmö

The 3 day workshop focuses on the intersection of ethnography and theatre as a way to create positive social transformation. The main theme is: How can Ethnography and Theatre be used to foster civic engagement and dialogue? We will explore this main theme from both a theoretical and a practical perspective. Our journey will ask these questions: How do we write and re-present ethnographic material to vividly convey the textures of life, to tell stories, and to represent voices? How do we use the imagination and experiment with “blurred genres” to represent people’s lives? What stories need to be told, and how can audiences be engaged? What are the possibilities and responsibilities for ethnographers as public scholars? What happens when we take risks and create projects for different audiences?

The optional 4-part theatre workshop running parallel to the lectures will be used to build an original theatre piece using the stories, issues, data, and experiences of workshop participants. The theme of the theatre piece will focus on contemporary social and political issues (e.g. activism, apathy, social responsibility, political ideology) that are relevant to workshop participants. This original theatre piece will be performed on the final day.

A direct goal of the seminar/workshop is to plant the seeds for capacity building. Theatre and other forms of oral performance are used widely throughout the developing world for health communication campaigns, conflict resolution, and strengthening civil society. Students will learn how to document communities ethnographically and to build theatre pieces with community voices. Another goal of the seminar/workshop is to develop a relationship within the Re-Generation Initiative network. The Re-Generation Initiative (founded in 2011) works at the intersection of public scholarship and the arts to achieve positive social transformation. Our projects work simultaneously across different platforms: academic curriculum, performance, social media, public communication, community venues, and all kinds of educational levels.

In Fall 2012 we are partnering with several universities across the US and the globe to create original performance pieces about our relations to media and civic life. These projects will be hosted on the Re-Generation Initiative website, Facebook page, and YouTube channel.

Debra Vidali and Henry Scott