Education philosopher Maxine Greene affirms the power of arts and aesthetic education “for a more informed and imaginative awareness” to create “critical transactions that empower students to resist both elitism and objectivism, that allow them to read and to name, to write and to rewrite their own lived worlds”.
While all of Aagaaz’s work has the belief in the power of the processes of arts and aesthetics as its core, Ajab Gajab is the spine of the practice that supports this belief. The arts, and in our case more specifically theatre, opens windows into complex and layered realities that can otherwise be challenging to address or express, creating opportunities to think critically, celebrate differences, take risks and seek justice not only for ourselves but for others who are perhaps more challenged.
The Drama Jams
Over the years Aagaaz has built a pool of reflective facilitators who have come from diverse practices, who share a love and desire to work with children, adolescents, and young people through arts based methodologies. They also share a desire to deepen their practices.
The Sunday Drama Jams are a weekly free-peer sharing space for anyone who likes to play drama games or works with people using drama. The attempt is to innovate new possibilities of play and to create a space that runs organically without a meta-facilitator, curated in-the-moment by only the people in the room.
These are sessions with groups of students that can last for a duration of anywhere between 10 days to a year. These are not begun with a decision of long-term engagement. Theatre making and sharing it with an audience while engaging with certain thematic concern with students is almost always the core focus of this work. Here, drama becomes the engagement, the exploration and the expression.
With a commitment to our ground-up approach, we have now reflected and created a framework that can support these new long-term journeys. Through Critical and Creative Engagement in our pedagogical approaches as well approach to challenges, we aim to co-create spaces participants, families as well as educational institutions as collective stakeholders. The dream is that this process-based approach will affect shifts in the next many years.