Congratulations to Dr Sylvan Baker – Central’s Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow for Drama, Applied Theatre and Education – who has recently been awarded a 2017 Centre for Public Engagement Award for Influence at the Queen Mary University of London Engagement and Enterprise Awards.
The award was given in recognition of The Verbatim Formula, a collaboration between Dr Baker, Dr Maggie Inchley and Dr Sadhvi Dar (both of Queen Mary University of London). The project was produced by People’s Palace Projects in partnership with the Greater London Authority Peer Outreach Team.
The Verbatim Formula is an applied performance research project which is currently working with looked after children and young people. It records the words of participants and shares them through performance.
Creative environments offer a way of valuing individual contributions in an environment where energy can be harnessed by skilled practitioners and there is no wrong answer. Drama participation has been shown to build confidence, communication skills, discipline and concentration as well as increasing young people’s motivation and sense of personal capacity for achievement. Applied arts work can change the way young people see themselves and empower them to explore and reflect on their choices, building their belief in their own ability to follow new pathways.
The team involved with The Verbatim Formula believe that there is a strong case for using applied practice not only in supporting looked after young people in articulating their experiences and in shaping a sense of their own identities, but also to open meaningful dialogue and listening with adults responsible for their care.