A Brechtian theatre pedagogy for intercultural education research

Frimberger, Katja (2016) A Brechtian theatre pedagogy for intercultural education research. Language and Intercultural Communication, 16 (2). pp. 130-147. ISSN 1747-759X (https://doi.org/10.1080/14708477.2015.1136639)

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The following article explores the potential of Bertolt Brecht's theatre pedagogy for intercultural education research. It is argued that Brecht's pedagogical views on theatre connect to those interculturalists who prioritise the embodied dimensions of intercultural encounters over a competence-driven orientation. Both share a love for aesthetic experimentation as the basis for learning and critical engagement with a complex world. The article outlines how a Brechtian theatre pedagogy was enacted as part of four drama-based research workshops, which were designed to explore international students’ intercultural ‘strangeness’ experiences. It is described how a participant account of an intercultural encounter was turned into a Brechtian playscript by the author and then performed by participants. The analysis is based on the author's as well as the performers’ reflections on the scripting process and their performance experiences. It is argued that a Brechtian pedagogy can lead to collective learning experiences, critical reflection and an embodied understanding of intercultural experience in research. The data produced by a Brechtian research pedagogy is considered ‘slippery’ (aesthetic) data. It is full of metaphoric gaps and suitably resonates the affective dimensions and subjective positionings that constitute intercultural encounters.