ACT ESOL is an ongoing practice-led collaborative research project initiated by Serpentine Projects in partnership with English for Action. The project brings together English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) teachers and students with theatre director Frances Rifkin (Implicated Theatre) and artist researcher Nelly Alfandari to develop a political and participatory ESOL approach that combines language-learning with a focus on resistance.
ACT ESOL Language, Resistance, Theatre is the result of a three-year research process undertaken by Participatory ESOL practitioners and Participatory Theatre practitioners, exploring how to implement Theatre of the Oppressed in the ESOL classroom. The publication shares the experiences and learning from this process, as well as explains the work to ESOL practitioners.
Throughout the day there were demonstrations on how to use the publication. Participants were invited to try out the different theatre techniques, games and exercises that appear in the publication and get hands-on experience of how they can be used with ESOL students. There were discussions and reflections on how this work develops language alongside politicising the classroom space.
There was be a free crèche for anyone who wanted to bring their children to the launch.
The publication features a comic and illustrations by artist Nicolas Vass and is designed by Elisabeth Klement.
ACT ESOL Research Group is: Nelly Alfandari, Dermot Bryers, Alexander Black, Elizabeth Graham, Amy Jowett, Amal Khalaf, Barbara Labiejko, Lawrence Leason, Liz Mytton, Silva Perin, Frances Rifkin, Jess Walker, Becky Winstanley, Nicolas Vass.
Refreshments and a light lunch were provided.
English for Action believes in the power of education for social change. They deliver English language courses (ESOL) with partner organisations in areas where there is a clear need. Their classes are spaces where students can not only learn English but also, using community organising methods, can connect with other people in their communities, share experiences, discuss important social issues, develop new skills and take action to effect change in their own lives, in their communities or even further afield. They are leading practitioners of ‘participatory ESOL’, an innovative and liberatory approach to adult education that builds students’ critical capabilities, builds on existing strengths and engages with and seeks to change the world, inside and outside the classroom. They use participatory methods in their teaching and through their training and research, encourage others to join in.
Implicated Theatre has been working since October 2011 in a series of workshops and performances that began at the Serpentine Galleries’ Edgware Road Project. Instigated by artists from no.w.here and working with theatre director Frances Rifkin, the experimental workshops explore the relationships between political speech and action, the self and the collective, voice and silence. Now in its eighth year of working and performing, Implicated Theatre has been forming close relationships with migrant’s rights groups and unions. The organisation creates theatrical interventions inspired by real-life struggles and highlighting issues of social justice and have worked in collaboration with the Migrants Resource Centre and migrant’s rights organisations such as the Anti-Raids network, Latin American Workers Association, Justice for Domestic Workers, English for Action and with UNITE’s Hotel Workers Union and the United Migrant Workers Education Project (UMWEP).