Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies

Panarchy 3: River of the Sea

Towards a Learning-Disabled-Led Ecological Performance Practice

Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies (2021), 15, (3), 329–346.

Abstract

The article reflects critically on Panarchy 3: River of the Sea, a learning-disabled-led ecological performance project that evolved in connection with the River Clyde from 2018 to 2019. River of the Sea was a collaboration between The Panarchy Projects at the University of Glasgow and the Friday Club at the Citizens’ Theatre in Glasgow. The Friday Club is a learning-disabled theatre group with fifteen members that meets once a week to socialize and develop performance skills, and The Panarchy Projects are an ongoing series of neurodivergent-led, ecological, and theatre-based research projects. The article introduces the exploratory praxis of the River of the Sea project, which combines theatre practice as research method with participatory action research methods within an expanded ecological field. It then analyses the findings, insights, and accounts of experience which were generated through this praxis and shared in two very different performance events. The article ends by discussing these findings, suggesting that learning-disabled-led ecological performance practices, such as those explored in the River of the Sea project, can support aesthetic experimentation, and nurture solidarity. The article hopes to contribute to the development of what Alison Kafer has called a “cripped environmentalism” (131), and to the building of a bridge between learning disability and environmental discourses.

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Author details

Clive, Rachel