Using the urban to span the boundaries between diverse disciplines: Drama Education and Business Management

Clive Holtham, Allan Owens


This paper focuses on the use of the urban space as a key resource in the postgraduate education of trainee drama teachers. It outlines the evolution of a distinctive approach to enhancing reflective thinking. After an initial stumbling in to traditional methods of learning by walking about, this was augmented by an approach proposed in the 1950s by Situationists in France, namely the “dérive” - literally “drifting, a technique of rapid passage through varied ambiances” (Debord, 1955). This marked the second stage of development in which the approach was directly translated into the postgraduate education of business management students. From that point onwards the approach was further evolved collaboratively between two academics in two widely separated disciplines, but who are both concerned with professional development. Our use of the dérive is centrally to provide a vehicle to enhance skills in professional reflection. In drama emphasis is also placed on generating creative practice and identifying a focus for practitioner research whilst in business it is placed on multimedia recording and team analysis. There is an aim in each discipline for the dérive to act as a transitional object, moving learners away from transmission of the known to coping with the unknown. It is intended to make curious through a questioning of the “given” and we draw here on Freire’s (1984) concept of ‘epistemological curiosity’. We suggest that the dérive is one way through which time, space and place can be created to generate a form of person-centred, informal, dialogical learning.

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