From Community Theatre to Critical Management Studies: A Dramatic Contribution to Reflective Learning?
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Scotland has a distinctive history of participative art making, especially in community theatre where concerns for mutual learning and collective engagement have a radical edge and close correspondence with the agenda set by enthusiasts for critical and reflective management studies. Reporting experiences from student-centred theatre workshops, this article suggests that insights and innovations associated with community theatre can help to promote a critical pedagogy in management education. Participation, in this instance, encouraged management students to draw on a broader range of ideas and reference points and to invest more of themselves in their studies, calling more confidently on personal experience to explore tensions and dilemmas in management activity, to illuminate contested aspects of organizational life, and to reflect upon the controversial assumptions and preconceptions that frequently inform pronouncements and practices in this area. Caution is required when evaluating the wider significance of this approach, however. The scope for realizing these benefits and extending the reach of community theatre innovations is heavily influenced by institutional contingencies and constraints, including conservative assessment and accreditation systems and the pressures on staff, notably from research and other commitments. Copyright 2007 Sage Publications.