Author: Sally Shaw, Australia
Category: Creation Care
This is an INTEREST GROUP PRESENTATION ABSTRACT; the paper will be presented at the Jamaica Consultation on Creation Care and the Gospel in October, 2012. Comments are welcomed! View all abstracts.
Main point: The use of the arts to explore young people’s attitudes to issues of the environment and sustainability appears to be an effective and acceptable educational approach.
Summary: A 3 hour improvisational drama workshop, combined with pre- and post-workshop questionnaires and a post-workshop focus group discussion was used to challenge evangelical church youth’s attitudes, behaviour and knowledge on issues of climate change. Young people from four different youth groups participated in separate workshops that involved three scenarios:(1) imagining what their life (home and environment) in 30 years time would look like if no action was taken to reduce global warming; (2) what their life would look like if action was taken; and (3) what action could they take personally to reduce global warming. All their ideas were written on a whiteboard. They were then asked to choose a number of situations from each scenario, and to improvise each into a shape that also expressed a feeling.
The provisional results demonstrated a developing openness amongst the participants to take personal action to reduce the effects of climate change. The youth also expressed how they had found the improvisational drama to be a non-threatening and entertaining way to think about climate change, a controversial issue among some evangelical churches
Conclusion: Based on these provisional results, use of the arts (theatre, improvisational drama, story writing/telling and art) to explore young, and older, people’s attitudes to issues of the environment and sustainability appears to be an effective and acceptable educational approach. This approach could be a valuable strategy, along with others, that could be designed to facilitate a genuine global creation care movement, within, and without, the church.
Sally Shaw is completing a research thesis for a Masters of Education degree at Tabor Adelaide, South Australia.