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Title: Demonstrating effectiveness : competing discourses in the use and evaluation of applied theatre that contributes to improved health outcomes for prisoners
Author: Khutan, Ranjit
ISNI:       0000 0004 5353 4663
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis explores the ways in which applied theatre practitioners and companies evaluate their practice that contributes to improved health outcomes for prisoners in the UK. By examining the discourses around evaluation, and specifically how and what influences these, this thesis aims to offer a deeper understanding of the approaches used to evaluate applied theatre work and the wider socio-political influence on the evaluation of applied theatre practice. This research is driven by a personal desire to understand the contributions and effectiveness of applied theatre in prisons and how understanding around effectiveness between practitioners from the arts, health and criminal justice sector can be enhanced. The research questions that drive this enquiry are threefold: how is applied theatre planned and implemented in prisons when it contributes to improved health outcomes for prisoners; how and to what extent are theatre companies influenced by national policy in the arts, health, and the criminal justice sector when they evaluate their practice; and what approaches and methods do applied theatre companies use to evaluate their interventions in prisons and how do they communicate these to others. The ontological and epistemological positions held in this study stem from a critical realist position. Adopting a Critical Discourse Analysis approach offered by Norman Fairclough, and supplementing this with Michel Foucault's work and philosophy around power/knowledge, allowed for the exploration of broader discourses and concepts. Focussing on work carried out in prisons by five theatre companies in the UK during the New Labour government period 1997-2010, this thesis charts the impact of policy on evaluation, and critically discusses and examines how evaluation is reported through their evaluation reports and in interviews with company staff. I present the analysis and discussion in successive detail using Fairclough's approach that focuses on the identification of discourses at the macro, meso and micro level. Through the metaphor of the prison bar, I shed light on the macro policy level evaluation discourses that restrict the work of applied theatre practitioners through the explicit drive for measurement, evidence and proving worth (discourses that create a bar for applied theatre practitioners). At the meso practice level I examine these discourses through the notion of power/knowledge and authority, present in the evaluation documents produced by these companies and outline how companies uphold policy directives and maintain the status quo whilst simultaneously questioning the dominant discourse of what counts as evidence (discourses that push at the bars that policy has created); and finally, at the micro level I explore the discourses expressed by applied theatre practitioners, outlining their rejection of the positivist dominated evaluation policy discourse and the approaches that can demonstrate the outcomes of their work (discourses that set the bar for future practice). I conclude this thesis with a summary of these discourses, demonstrating how an understanding of these may assist in the future evaluation of practice, as well as collaborative work that aims to improve the health and wellbeing of prisoners.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Public Health ; Applied Theatre ; Prisoners