While working at Carleton University, Warren Clarke, in collaboration with the Glebe Collegiate Institute, presented a course applying the Theatre of the Oppressed: The stereotypical notions of gender, race, and sexuality among young Canadians. This course encouraged undergraduate students, high school students, and the broader Ottawa community to critically think about the relation of gender, race, social class, age, ability, and sexuality among young Canadians. Recognizing how gender relations in mainstream society is generally perceived, it can be difficult for young people to express themselves while encountering misconceptions about their personhood.
As a way to express student learning, and build confidence in young people, both Carleton and Glebe students put together plays, which are in line with “The Theatre of the Oppressed” model, by creator Augusto Boal. These plays highlighted discrimination and social oppression young people face in a Canadian social climate.
The arts are a medium for exploring and understanding human and social conditions. As such, they are curriculum areas where students may encounter difficult subject matter. They may also be challenged to consider viewpoints that differ from personal perspectives and/or social norms.
This course offered third-year undergraduate students a unique opportunity to work alongside Ottawa-Carleton District SBoard high school students to address social oppressions such as racism and gender issues that impact young Canadians. Carleton students who take this course apply phenomenology - the study of human experience - which encourages students to advocate for better social outcomes through artistic performances. This course involves a social justice project, which will require scripting, as a component for student learning, and for engaging with the broader Ottawa community, and beyond.
We address social oppressions in a do no harm approach that helps students to be aware of how the lived experiences of certain Canadians encounter social barriers that negatively impact their livelihood. This course is designed to continue the positive working relationship between Carleton University and the OCSB school board.
Check out the student plays below
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