Theorizing an Anti-Oppressive Framework for Ethical Processes of Artistic Creation
Abstract: This paper responds to the emergence of creative arts-based research in the university by offering a pragmatic approach to integrate ethics into creative processes. Aimed at creators of art committed to anti-oppressive work, I offer a set of guidelines which, through an intersectional framework, combines methods from theatre of the oppressed, performance ethnography, and anti-oppressive practice. By relocating the work of Augusto Boal in a contemporary Canadian context and enhancing it with recent writings in related disciplines, I am able to better address ethical problems facing creators of art here and now. Throughout the paper, each of the guidelines is related to a piece of verbatim theatre I created which explored drag culture in Montreal (A Happy Kind of Therapy, 2013). The guidelines suggest four opportunities for ethical consideration by creators of art committed to anti-oppressive work: (1) locating yourself—identifying your privileges; (2) locating the Other—identifying and deconstructing embedded patterns of oppression; (3) locating your methodology—ethics in production and distribution; and, (4) critical consciousness—the importance of reflexivity.
Dane Stewart is a student in Concordia University’s Individualized Master’s program. He is interested in research-creation, queer theory, and performance ethnography. His thesis is a multi-disciplinary, collaborative research-creation project focused on the queer body as a site of identity formation. Dane has worked professionally in Montreal as an actor, musician, and playwright, and is also the co-creator and curator of Free Press Libre, a group producing monthly anti-oppressive performance art nights.