CULTIVATING ARTS AND MINDS
The Dramatic Line
The Dramatic Line
We walked in circles along the Dramatic Line, greeting each other with our secret artist✼academic handshakes and silly waves and knowing nods. Then, in pairs, we began to speak, playing the respective roles of artist✼academics and those who try to police us: the artist-artists and academic-academics who are threatened by our subversive hybridity and seductive joy. Actor A (playing the role of a creatively inclined student) and Actor B (representing the constraint of academic convention) engaged in a hilarious dialogue that nonetheless conveyed an all-too-seriously message: If you want to be an artist✼academic, be prepared to dodge the Thought Police.
Actor A: Artist-academic hunter, campus police division
Actor B: Artist-academic student, trying to evade discovery
What are you doing out here?
Oh hello, Officer. Nothing nothing, I’m just doing my work.
Why are you working outside?
Well, you know, it’s because actually they were having discussions inside in the classroom and I found that they were too collaborative, it was quite disruptive for me. So I just felt that I would come outside for a while to get away…to get away from the noise and focus on my own work.
And where is your laptop? Why are you not working on your laptop?
Oh, um… I love laptops – I do have a laptop, unfortunately it has broken, very tragically. I much prefer to use a keyboard because I find that the monotonous clacking is really helpful for my ideas. But yeah, it's broken so I’m forced to use a notebook, unfortunately.
So, what are you writing in your notebook?
It's just a list… a budget in fact! Very boring I’m afraid.
A budget? But it’s looking very colourful at the moment.
Ah yes, you can see it’s a kind of grid…These are not abstract lines, they’re not expressive. In fact, they’re very formulaic and grid-like. It’s just to organise my ideas in an efficient fashion.
Not ideas…. Um, lists. Sorry, lists.
But I’m still seeing a lot of creative ideas there in your budgets and numbers.
… Ah, I don’t know what to tell you Officer, it's definitely a budget. And I don’t use highlighters normally, I don’t even like colours. It’s simply that my normal biro pen has expired – I love black pens, blue pens too. Sometimes I’ll use a blue pen, like if I’m having a really great day, I’ll use a blue pen. But I’m just using this pink highlighter because it’s the only thing I have.
I really think it’s a good idea for you to go to the bookstore now and buy some more biro pens because that’s going to be good for your professional development.
Listen to the audio recording below!
The Dramatic Line
- Start by doing some exercises to help everyone become more aware of their bodies and how they move through space and in relationship to others. For example, walk in random patterns around the room, greeting each other with secret artist*academic winks and waves and nods.
2. Create two concentric circles with partners facing each other:
- (30 seconds each) Tell your partner everything you know about artists. (Shift partners)
- (30 seconds each) Tell your partner everything you know about academics. (Shift partners)
- (30 seconds each) Tell your partner, who is so hard of hearing that you need to shout and mime, what an artist✼academic is.
- (30 seconds each) An artist✼academic talks to a sceptical head of department about the importance of the arts in the academy.
- (30 seconds each) An artist✼academic talks live on talk-back radio with a right-wing jock who is dismissive of the arts and intellectualism.
- In pairs, role-play and record one of the following scenarios:
- A conversation that could be used as evidence that there is an artist✼academic working in your department.
- A conversation demonstrating how to trap an artist✼academic into admitting who they are.
- Share your recordings and reflections. What have you learned about artist✼academics' core values and the institutional challenges they face when they try to live up to them?