Home > Conference: November 2009 > Conference play video

Conference play video

November 9th, 2009

[Flash video, 18 minutes length]

Rachel Bolstad wrote this play especially for the Shifting Thinking conference, and it was performed on the morning of the second day of the conference.
Rachel explains:

The inspiration for the play came from ongoing discussions amongst the conference organising team as we struggled with the complexities of imagining and choreographing a 21st century learning experience at the conference. Originally we thought of performing a play about our seemingly endless and often mind-twisting planning meetings – but later I took this idea in a new direction and was inspired to write a play-within-a-play featuring an imagined cast of players. The play is a metaphor for the conference, and for 21st century thinking in general. It shows the difficulties of trying to “direct and stage manage” something when everyone is taking an active role in trying to build ideas collectively and collaboratively – but it also shows that wonderful things are possible once we begin questioning our assumptions and start thinking together about how these could be different.”

The play was performed by a dedicated and talented group of NZCER staff.


The Director: Jenny Whatman
Teacher 1: Jim McNaughton
Teacher 2: Rachel Bolstad standing in for Georgina Stewart
Student 1: Nuku Stewart
Student 2: Rachael Kearns
Community educator: Diana Todd
Early childhood educator: Tina Foulkes
Tertiary educator: Alex Neill
Special effects: Josie Roberts

Conference: November 2009 , , ,

  1. | #1

    Since late last year, I’ve been reading and writing a lot in the area of arts-based research methodologies, as part of the background for an article I’ve been writing. (Which has been, incidentally, the hardest and slowest article I think I’ve ever written). I just came across an article which made me think again about the process of writing (and performing) the play at The ShiftingThinking conference. I thought I’d share a link for anyone else who’s interested in reading it, because you can access in in fulltext online. It’s probably of most interest to researchers, but others might also enjoy it, particularly if you were at the ShiftingThinking conference and had some kind of feelings or reaction to the play we performed.

    The article is:

    Patrick Diamond, CT, & Mullen, C.A. (2000) Rescripting the Script and Rewriting the Paper: Taking Research to the “Edge of the Exploratory”. >International Journal of Education & the Arts. Vol 1 Number 4.

    The authors describe an experience, not too dissimilar to ours, of performing a “rehearsal as performance” at a conference, as a way to engage the audience in thinking through the ideas that the researchers themselves were grappling with.

  2. Murray
    | #2

    @Sandy McGivern
    Hi Sandy
    We probably didn’t meet during the conference. World cafe when used with sufficient time helped us, on two ocassions, to bring diverse groups together to a) build relationship and community and b) start a conversation about ‘what matters’ in their context…we found we changed plan mid way- from set group to roving to check in with others to returning to your group to affirm /reconsider..
    The World Cafe website gives insights as does the book….
    Just like the conference here- building the community for shared thinking was the purpose of using this protocol.. be great to hear how you go..

  3. Sandy McGivern
    | #3

    Did I meet you at the conference at all? I don’t remember a Muzz? I’d love to hear a bit about how your day went, and if you have any thoughts or tips about doing it World Café style, since it’ll be my first time trying this out. What were your aims for your session? How long did it go for? Etc Etc.. :)

  4. Muzz
    | #4

    Sandy, we have just used World Cafe as a concept with a room of 66 people and it worked! so go for it..the tablecloths to write on were really great ( and expensive) -just been filming these

  5. Sandy McGivern
    | #5

    @Rachel Bolstad
    You guys are awesome! Is there any chance of twisting someone’s arm to burn it onto a disk and posting it up the island if it’s only beautiful at humungous size? The NZC in Action PD day’s on Nov 26th.

  6. | #6

    Muzz and Sandy – yes we do have a higher-res version, in fact we’re testing it out this afternoon! I’ll be in touch with you by email when we have sorted out rendering and sending… the file is humungous…

  7. Muzz
    | #7

    Rachel. We would like to share the video of the play with our colleagues- is the high resolution copy available please?

  8. | #8

    @Sandy McGivern
    Thanks for asking Sandy – but since this video’s in the public domain it seems to me it can be shared by anyone with anyone :) We may have a higher-res version than the one that’s loaded on the site, I’ll see if I can find out.

  9. Sandy McGivern
    | #9

    Rachel, can I obtain permission to show the video clip of the play to the participants attending the PD day I was telling you about, up here in Auckland in a couple of weeks? I think it will be an excellent introduction to some thought-provoking questions about education, I’m also wanting to utilise the World Café concept in the PD day too – scary for someone steeped in the traditional model of PD days! :) May the force be with me!

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