Merging Creative and Performing Arts Disciplines to Foster Sociality, Community, and Co-design


Fostering pedagogical practices that embody principles of sociality and community can be problematic when such concepts collide with demands that individual learning outcomes be met. Moreover, promoting collaboration between creative and performing arts staff can be challenging when individual discipline demands prioritise specific skills learning. E/Merge, A Festival of Creativity was devised to overcome such issues at a higher education institute in New Zealand. Nine disciplines including creative technologies, creative writing, commercial dance, māori and pacific dance, musical theatre, music, publishing stage and screen (drama) and screen production (filmmaking) were involved in the festival. Using a Cultural Historic Activity Theory (CHAT) lens, rudimentary findings from a study in progress point to the value of such an initiative to foster sociality, community, and to promote collaborative co-design practice. CHAT is useful as it offers insights into learning and participation, including how students from different disciplines may cross boundaries to create new work. Pressing societal challenges require new interventions and interactions to occur for the production of new knowledge. Creative and performing arts students seem aware of the affordances of the creative self in the context of this particular time, as they draw on differing socio-cultural contexts that are naturally present in a diverse student community.


Brenda Saris
Programme Manager, Creative and Performing Arts, School of Creative and Hospitality, Te Pukenga (WelTec and Whitireia), New Zealand


Presentation Type

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


2023 Special Focus—New Agendas for Design: Principles of Scale, Practices of Inclusion


Collaboration, Co-design, Creativity, Design, Performing Arts, Higher Education, Socio-cultural, CHAT