I am currently undertaking fieldwork in Sri Lanka as part of the AHRC/ESRC funded project, Performing Empowerment. The project team is led by Dr Lars Waldorf (University of York) and includes Adam Benjamin (Plymouth University) and me, along with our project partners; VisAbility, Church of the American Ceylon Mission, Swamy Vipulananda Institute of Aesthetic Studies (Eastern University) and University of Peradeniya. Our aim is to evaluate VisAbility’s model, which combines what they refer to as ‘mixed-abled’ dance and rights awareness workshops as a way of empowering people with (conflict-related) disabilities to exercise their rights. We are using a range of methods, including interviews, self-assessment, observation, and practical tasks to try and understand how the workshops impact on the self-esteem, self-confidence and rights knowledge of the participants. This first data set will be compared with information from the second round of workshops and data collection in December 2017- January 2018 in order to assess the long-term impact of this work. To find out more please look at our website and follow us on social media.
– Hetty Blades