The Life Drama Project makes use of applied theatre & performance techniques to promote sexual health & wellbeing in Papua New Guinea, the Pacific and Northern Australia.

Practice-Led Research

3.2 Practice-Led Research

What is PLR?

Practice-Led Research is research which is both initiated in practice and then pursued through practice. Practice is placed at the centre of the design, conduct and reporting of the research. In the process of creating new works, artist-researchers make original contributions to the store of knowledge about their discipline through a rigorous investigation of practice. Practice-led research presumes a process of developing and testing knowledge, which has an outcome in the production of works of art, design, performance and professional practices. QUT is at the forefront of universities offering higher degrees through Practice-Led Research. Instead of writing a traditional thesis, students create one or more examples of creative practice, and provide a written exegesis of the work.

Life Drama as PLR

The Life Drama research team and the Life Drama participants are engaged in Practice-Led Research, as they collaboratively create, test, and report on new forms of educational drama. Practice-Led Research requires that the researchers first practice, and then rigorously investigate their practice. The results of this investigation are shared, not only through conventional text reporting, but through further practice which is documented through digital photography, video and sound recording.

The first waves of training in Tari can be seen as practice, which was rigorously investigated on through reflection, discussion and documentation while training was being delivered, and more formally during the first evaluation visit.

The results of this practice and evaluation informed the delivery of training on Karkar Island. In turn, the practice on Karkar Island will inform further training in Port Moresby and elsewhere.

A specific example of Practice-Led Research is the two-week Theatre Exchange Laboratory held in Madang in January-February 2010. Practice included the performance of traditional songs and dances by ex-members of Raun Raun Theatre and current members of the National Performing Arts Troupe; excerpts from “folk operas” and “village plays“devised by Raun Raun Theatre and performed by members; and examples of Life Drama forms. These practices were carefully examined and discussed in relation to one another by a cross-cultural group comprised of representatives with expertise in the area of theatre-for-development from a number of organisations including Life Drama, Raun Raun Theatre, University of Papua New Guinea, and VSO Tokaut AIDS.

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