Drawing a Line: A discussion of ethics in participatory arts with young refuges

The essay ‘Drawing a Line: A discussion of ethics in participatory arts with young refuges’ wrote by Stella Barnes taken from the book ‘Participatory Arts with Young Refugees’ begins to explore the work of practitioners who create work to show the story of refuges. The created performances are based on true stories in which the refuges have faced, whether this is within their own country or the country in which they reside.

Stella Barnes also touches upon the sudden increase in performances that engage with participatory arts with refugee/asylum issues, due to the recent global political context.

The reading explores the emotional discomfort that an audience member would feel, when watching a real life refugee story performance. Stella Barns gave an example in which see witnessed, illustrating that she felt uncomfortable watching as the performance was real life stories, so all the the emotion and trauma was real. Not only was the emotion pure, the way in which it is delivered and set out in the space was able to trap the audience members.

When creating a performance that would help make awareness of the suffering, that the refuges have gone through, Stella barns questions “what is the agenda in which the director wants to avail”. Is there a point in which making awareness becomes just a performance, do we only become attached because the performance is participatory?

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