Closing Schools for the Future is being published / performed at a top London venue this week, the Riverside Studios, as part of the Tete a Tete Opera Fstival. But how did it get there and what does this process tell us about the connection between research and performance?
1. Start at a micro-local level. The first manifestation of CSF was in Seacombe Library, a small local library in Wallasey. It was presented in the form of a photographic exhibition to families, teachers and local residents.
2. Pitch to a discipline specific conference – in this case, the Oxford Ethnography conference which does exactly what it says on the tin. Talk, share and argue for ethnography. This supplied a friendly ‘on-board’ audience who were not averse to offering some important critical feedback.
3. Pitch to an international audience overseas who start off not having a clue what you’re talking about. The intelligent but ignorant audience really helps you to interrogate your own hard earned findings (in this case at the 1st Educational Research conference at the University of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia). At this point the paper had been extended to take into account not just local, but regional and national perspectives too.
4. Take the leap and present to an international audience, at home: but in the format you’ve been aiming at all along – ie a performed reading with sympathetic, intelligent and friendly-critical artists. In this case, at the BERA conference at the University of Warwick with composer Gary Carpenter and vocalist, Jen Heyes.
5. Put it out there with the support and advocacy of aforesaid artists. Get invited to leading innovative opera festival, in this case the Tete a Tete Opera Festival at Riverside Studios.
The next steps…? Wait and see but this story isn’t finished yet.
What else have we learnt about this process? More to follow, tomorrow.