An exploration of how Speculative Drama can be engaged to understand how children and young people speculate about their future worldviews on climate change

Year: 2021

Author: Wijesinghe, Thili

Type of paper: Individual Paper

We are at a time when the world is facing the consequences of a changing climate. At this time of urgency, it is notable to see children activists stepping forward to voice their opinions for climate action. Such action demonstrates how individual and collective young activist/s can powerfully communicate the need for attention on climate change thereby forming powerful global connections. Children enter a world established by others, in which they have no real choice but to manage. Children are absent from any vision of the future because the vocabulary of classical liberal and libertarian thinking leaves little room for them.  Understanding children and young people’s future worldviews on climate change is important and required during this time of the Anthropocene. Innovative modes of inquiry are required in order to impact and raise further calls for action.  Adopting an arts-based approach to inquire into the worldviews of children who will be charged with dealing with the consequences of a changing planet in the future, seeks to provide a platform to express their imaginary speculations on the future of the world. Engaging speculative drama, this PhD research study provides a space for children and young people to creatively express through drama how they feel about their future in terms of climate change. The research focuses on children’s agency and explores the importance of children and young people engaging as critical participants in futures not of their making. Children’s worldviews, their voices and participation are crucial to achieving sustainable action.  A posthuman theoretical framework, intra-acting with new materialism and agential realism underpins this participatory drama-based research. It is also an attempt to explore Deleuze’s dramatization in connection to arts-based research. Working with young people as co-researchers in activating educational practices that operate outside of anthropocentric and scientistic frameworks aims to enable children and young people to understand the dynamics of research while empowering them. Working with children as a community of embodied artists honours their creative authority by introducing speculative drama as a medium through which to express their future worldviews enabling young people as social climate ambassadors.