Rehearsing for the revolution: using forum theatre to engage nursing educators, students and health care providers with the priorities of the Manitoba collaborative indigenous education blueprint

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Van Bewer, Vanessa
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This research is at the intersection of artistic, Indigenous and nursing knowledge. The objectives of this research were to explore several priorities of the Manitoba Collaborative Indigenous Education Blueprint with health care providers, nursing educators and nursing students through Theatre of the Oppressed and forum theatre; to offer possibilities for integrating the priorities within nursing education; and to determine the receptivity of health care providers, nurse educators and students to Theatre of the Oppressed and forum theatre as pedagogical methods. Using an arts-based methodology and a Two-Eyed Seeing lens, a Theatre of the Oppressed workshop infused with Indigenous approaches was developed. The workshop was facilitated by a workshop team (including a forum theatre facilitator and an Indigenous nurse-Elder) and included eight health care providers who dialogued, shared stories and generated knowledge and vignettes performed to an audience of students and educators (n=7). The discussions, dialogue and stories shared during the workshop supported the dramatic exploration of the priorities of the Manitoba Collaborative Indigenous Education Blueprint and the creation of the vignettes. The data (including theatre games, exercises, image theatre, forum theatre, sharing circles, photographs and vignettes) were analyzed using thematic analysis. The themes emerging from the exploration of research objective #1 were: 1) colonialism is ongoing; 2) the multiple faces of racism; 3) challenges in negotiating identity; 4) struggles in finding safe spaces and people. This inquiry also included the development of a framework for nursing education that engendered an anti-racist praxis and transformative learning opportunities. The framework also serves as one example of how Indigenous methods, models and approaches can be employed in nursing education, thus connecting to research objective #2 of this study. Other suggestions proposed for integrating the priorities of the Manitoba Collaborative Indigenous Education Blueprint within nursing education and addressing research objective #2 included scaffolding student learning opportunities, increasing Indigenous faculty representation, creating an Indigenous advisory board, and hiring an Elder. The perspectives and responses to Theatre of the Oppressed and forum theatre as pedagogies in nursing education were also revealed through this inquiry. The findings from health care providers indicated that Theatre of the Oppressed may support health care providers’ reflection and growth, strengthen relationships and encourage the expression of vulnerability. The findings of this study demonstrated that forum theatre is positively received by nursing students and has practical applications.
Nursing, Indigenous, Anti-Racism, Theatre of the Oppressed, Forum Theatre, Health Care Providers, Education, Arts-based methods
Van Bewer, V., Woodgate, R. L., Martin, D., & Deer, F. (2020). The importance and promise of integrating Indigenous knowledges in nursing education. Witness: The Canadian Journal of Critical Nursing Discourse, 2(1), 11-24.
Van Bewer, V; Woodgate R.L.; Martin, D.; Deer, F. (In press, Available online 17 November, 2020). An Indigenous and arts-influenced framework for anti-racist practice in nursing education. Journal of Professional Nursing.