Kathleen M. Gallagher
Canada Research Chair in Theatre, Youth and Research in Urban Schools
Tier 2 - 2004-10-01
University of Toronto
Social Sciences and Humanities
416-923-6641, ext./poste 2015
Investigating issues of social cohesion through theatre education with youth in urban schools.
The research aims to help us understand the capacity of the arts in urban schools, and drama education especially, to increase the possibilities for collaboration across social and academic divides and differences.
Theatre Education in Urban Schools
How does theatre education help city kids overcome the daily challenges they face in their school lives? And what methods of teaching theatre work best? Canada Research Chair Kathleen Gallagher is working on the answers to these and other related questions.
City kids encounter all kinds of barriers to achieving social and academic success, barriers related to social divisions, group identity, and gender relations as well as those that arise from the daily tensions that exist between life in school and out.
The arts in education, including theatre arts, are often seen as an important route to academic and social success for young people, particularly those perceived to be most at risk of failure.
Dr. Gallagher studies both the cultural and everyday performances of students in schools as well as the artistic performances created by young people in the context of their drama classes. For her analysis, she includes urban drama programs from different countries, including Canada, the United States, Great Britain, Australia, Belgium, and Singapore. She collects students' performances and classroom interactions in multimedia formats and annotates them for further analysis in a database archive.
Through her research, Dr. Gallagher is helping us to better understand the kind of school climates that promote social cohesion, racial harmony, and equity of gender and sexual identity. In the process, she is underscoring the vital role that creativity and the arts can play in promoting such goals.