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About Performing Change

Performing Change refers to a number of initiatives taken by members of water@leeds and partners to explore the potential of performative art and approaches as innovative methods to deepen our knowledge and practice in the context of environmental governance.

So far,  we have used Forum Theatre as a performance-based approach to generate public debate about issues that directly affect rural communities in Mexico. Forum Theatre enables people to identify critical issues and activate different solutions or responses. This cultivates shared value frames and emotions, and creates debate about distribution of power in environmental policy. It transforms academic debates in real community debates.

Forum Theatre provides alternative means of communicating which is particularly relevant in the context of marginalised communities, whose active participation in environmental decision-making is hampered by inequalities, powerlessness, illiteracy and poverty, while their livelihoods depend very directly on natural resources.

Performing Change thus aims to generate impact by activating dialogue and developing critical conversations about nature conservation and environmental management by those most affected by it, setting the ground for longer-term societal transformations.

This video gives a nice overview of our work with rural communities in Mexico.


We have also shown this work to environmental professionals in Mexico, discussing with them and exploring the potential of these innovative participatory methods to actually inform decision-making and make a difference in their professional practice.

Check our Resources page for more materials and information.

So far, projects under the Performing Change umbrella include the USUMACINTA Risk of Commodification (ROC) project, funded by the  Newton Advanced Fellowship Scheme 2015 of the British Academy (Award Reference: AF150190) and the PerformingChange Impact Acceleration Account project funded by the UK ESRC via the Leeds Social Sciences Institute.

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