PPP: the Process
PPP begins with early research in local community groupings. This includes informal chatting, discussions and workshops in focus groups - with different sectors of the community or with different communities altogether. All this contributes to an assemblage of impressions, information, true stories, anecdotes and opinions about any given topic. It also help to identify priorities and set them into the perspective of the partner community’s own social reality.
The workshops employ a range of performative research techniques depicting and exploring different aspects of a given social reality. Non-verbal expression and the spontaneity of improvisation allow subtleties to be articulated that may not emerge through normal interview and discussion. Community volunteers are encouraged to take these depictions into performance: either within the safe confines of the workshop or focus group gathering, or out into the wider community.
Different groups - whether from different communities or from different sectors of the same one - could perform as part of a mini-festival where a number of local performances are shown, perhaps alongside the work of the performance group themselves. this would share the outcomes of the research process among all the stakeholders: stories, anecdotes, proverbs, games, dances, conflicting opinions and viewpoints, perhaps even strategies to overcome the difficulties expressed by the plays.
Phase Two of the Zambian project picked up on Kamoto Arts' work with the disabled group in the Ngombe compound. After detailed research Kamoto had fostered a series of performances by the group (which also included some able bodied members) in and around Ngombe. Through the performances the group had been enabled to speak for themselves about their own social reality and in particular about the rebuttals they received on applying for jobs. Their plea was to be perceived as ordinary people.
We sought to support Kamoto’s work, while consolidating the research and PRA aspect of the work. Participants of the second training workshop went into the Ngombe community researching and monitoring attitudes to disablement and monitoring the outcome of Kamoto’s first steps with the disabled group.
The outcome of this was a series of interventions with different sectors of the community, which culminated in a mini-festival of performances at the local school. The disabled group performed their play – which had never been seen by the school kids – and the school kids performed their own plays that depicted how they would taunt, bully or otherwise spurn their less fortunate counterparts. This was the first time either group had shared such an exchange of views. The able bodied children felt that they would no longer be so callous while the disabled group were glad of the frank, friendly and, they felt, fruitful exchanges.
Until now Kamoto's work had served to empower the disabled performers and hopefully others like them. The next step could begin to articulate more sophisticated concerns and aim actively to change the attitudes of others. This was a stage in the longer process, which may or may not lead to a disability performance ‘product’ enacted by the Kamoto group itself.