Empatheatre: A theatre-based methodology for collaborative, woven, transgressive and 'de-academised' research in South Africa

Wednesday 18 November, 2020 – Wednesday 18 November, 2020
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM


Co-founder Dr Dylan McGarry discusses Empatheatre

Complex problems in unequal societies require careful yet rigorous, explorations of different ways of knowing, being and doing. When popular and political debates are polarised and filled with judgements, entangled livelihoods and marginalised voices are often ignored. It is why we believe that creative, iterative and empathetic public storytelling praxis can facilitate multiple forms of listening to, and sharing knowledge across diverse publics. Empatheatre is one such method.

Emerging from the South African context, Empatheatre has, since 2014, developed innovative methods for constructing social spaces for equitable public dialogue and what our Empatheatre comrade Kira Erwin (2020) refers to as counter hegemonic and anti-essentialist political storytelling. Creating an amphitheatre for empathy, Empatheatre embraces, rather than shies away from complex entanglements in society. Rather it uses long form public storytelling to complicate, disrupt and make messy discriminatory hegemonic narratives that radiate through a contemporary society (Erwin 2020). Empatheatre is an emancipatory research-based, theatre-making methodology that emerged from friendship and solidarity between South African artists, academic researchers and responsive citizens.

Visit www.empatheatre.com.

About the speaker

Dr Dylan McGarry is an educational sociologist and artist from Durban, South Africa. He is a senior researcher at the Environmental Learning Research Centre (ELRC) at the University currently known as Rhodes. As well as a co-director of the Global One Ocean Hub research network. Dylan is the co-founder of Empatheatre, and a passionate artist and story-teller. He explores practice-based research into connective aesthetics, transgressive social learning, decolonisation, queer-eco pedagogy, immersive empathy and socio-ecological development in South Africa.

His artwork and social praxis (which is closely related to his research) is particularly focused on empathy, and he primarily works with imagination, listening and intuition as actual sculptural materials in social settings to offer new ways to encourage personal, relational and collective agency. Dylan is also the co-founder of the Institute of Uncanny Justness.

Edit section | Website feedback to web@bathspa.ac.uk