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25 November 2022

Edinburgh College students and their counterparts from Singapore challenge issues in society in performing arts project

A group of Edinburgh College students joined up with their counterparts in Singapore to call for action and challenge issues in society as part of a performing arts project. 

The socially-conscious HND Acting and Performance students finally had the opportunity to meet up with their fellow students from Teater Ekamatra, Singapore last week after working on the Call to Action project over a number of months last year.

The project originally took place in September 2021, where students took part in a three-month project that enabled them to focus on using theatre as a method of realising the social world beyond them, helping to explore what their contribution to society could be.

Through the lens of social justice and global citizenship, students from both countries met through an online platform to listen to a variety of different viewpoints and analyse their own experiences, debate ideas, and make mindful, ethical choices about how to represent their own and others truths.

After reflection and deliberation, these learners critically considered what they would like to communicate to a global audience, culminating in the creation of two digital Living Newspapers which depicted their own experiences through the medium of theatre.

The project officially ended more than a year after it started when the two groups of students finally got the opportunity to meet in-person for the first time as the cohort from Singapore travelled to Edinburgh so the two groups could meet each other, rehearse their performances and then film their final piece.

Call to Action is a partnership between Collision Theatre and Teater Ekematra, The Singaporean International Foundation – the principal partner and the founding patron – with special thanks also going to the Performing Arts Studio Scotland (PASS) department at Edinburgh College.

The Call to Action project is shortlisted in the Digital Learning category at this year’s College Development Network (CDN) Awards which take place this tonight (Friday 25 November) in Glasgow.

You can find out more about the project on the Call to Action website.

I loved taking part in this project, I think the biggest highlight was when we all sat and watched it back together. I think a lot of us got really emotional as we sat because we were sat watching all of these problems and seeing how it affects people we’ve made connections with. Instead of just seeing it in a newspaper, you were seeing how it was affecting people that you had been working closely with for as few weeks so it was very emotional and I think that part definitely stood out most to me.
HND Acting and Performance student Catherine-Star Blachford
I thought this project and getting to engage with students from a different country was brilliant. It was really nice do be able to do something that was with people from outside of Scotland and it brought a lot of things to my attention that even though I was aware of I didn’t quite know about as getting first-hand accounts of anything is much more interesting. Also, it was good to be able to see other student’s workflow and almost to see our class, but in a different country which was really pleasant and engaging.
HND Acting and Performance student Maeve Burden
Our Call to Action project is a project that tries to dismantle the hegemonic structures that surround youth identity by working with students in Scotland and Singapore to look at issues politically and socio-politically that are relevant to them. I was really proud of both groups of students throughout this project, and particularly how they were able to imagine themselves differently. The whole purpose of theatre is to explore who you are, what your position is in the world, what’s your relationship to the world, and what this project did was it allowed students to step outside of themselves and not only imagine themselves differently, but also imagine what they can do to use art as a catalyst for social change.
Edinburgh College Performing Arts lecturer and Collision Theatre Creative Director Clara Bloomfield said
The Call to Action project started as Clara and I wanted to give agency to the youths and let them take over the narratives of what’s happening around them. This meant they could take newspaper articles or things that were happening to them in their everyday lives and tell it again in their own narratives and present it online so that youths from around the world could react and engage with those videos as well. The students loved taking part in the project, and I think they especially loved that they could take advantage of the project to voice out their own opinions and narratives without anyone policing them or telling them what they have to say or do.
Teater Ekamatra company manager Khai Khalid