Keynote Announced for National Conference

Dr Viv Aitken: Graduate Diploma of Teaching (University of Waikato), Doctor of Philosophy (University of Waikato), Master of Philosophy (University of Wales), Bachelor of Arts (University of Wales)

Keynote title: Curbing our righteous minds: Possibilities and challenges for drama in education.

It’s a privilege to be invited to be keynote presenter having been a long-time member of DNZ and a regular attender and organiser of conference. I've benefited so much from the wisdom and insights of past keynote speakers - what an honour to be in their company. 

Home is the foothills of the Tararua ranges though my mahi takes me all around Aotearoa. Mostly I travel as a Ministry accredited facilitator offering professional development for teachers and school leaders in drama, The Arts and dramatic inquiry, including Heathcote’s Mantle of the Expert approach.  I love this work and I’m particularly proud of the growing number of schools who use dramatic inquiry school-wide and are now embedding it in their culture and curriculum. I also really enjoy the various projects I’m involved in as an advisor, including collaborations with Lynne Cardy at the Auckland Theatre Company, the Ministry of Education’s Grassroots initiative and Drama New Zealand's ’networks of expertise’ project with Juliet Cottrell. I still teach whenever I can including occasional ‘gigs' as an actor-teacher with applied theatre group, Everyday Theatre. 

I’m stunned to realise it’s nearly thirty years since I began my journey in theatre, drama and education - as a stage manager (Dublin), teacher (Christchurch), lecturer (Waikato) and, most recently, associate professor (EIT). Though I’ve now left full-time academia, I’m affiliated with the University of Waikato as a research associate and postgrad supervisor and as facilitator with the Institute of Professional Learning. 

My research and writing over the years has explored power and positioning in theatre and classroom drama including in inclusive settings. Most recently, I’ve completed a two year TLIF project with Otaika Valley school, in mantle of the expert and writing (presentation with project leader Renee Downey at this conference). And I’m just finishing a book for NZCER about Mantle of the Expert in a New Zealand context. 

Emma Bishop