Video Micro-lectures Part 1: Performance and Gender

Dr. Karen Savage December 2016.

In the School of Fine & Performing Arts we have developed a series of micro-lectures specifically for one of our level one Drama modules. In this module students engage with both practical and theoretical stimuli to inform their own ideas and practices to produce a group performance and an individual presentation. The staff team used the micro-lectures to demonstrate how theoretical and critical content could be delivered in creative ways. The intention was to provide visual, accessible content around a particular theme/approach as well as offering an example for students on how they might also approach their own presentations.

Giving examples of how ideas and provocations can be explored over a short time frame encourages students to engage critically, and to make links and connections between the things ‘that we make’, and the things ‘that we read’. At level one, critical theory can often be an overwhelming hurdle, and some students find it hard to negotiate ‘how to begin’, by using the key texts alongside these performative videos we were able to offer more dynamic access points for students. The videos provided a flipped-learning context, insofar as the students would watch them in preparation for class and then the contact time would be about unpacking the content and structure through class discussions.

Additionally, producing these micro-lectures encouraged the staff team to experiment with different ways of communicated ideas. Each staff member approached the task in a different way, and this blog provides two different examples.

I will take my own video as the first example. Using the module’s key text I took a provocative statement, used in the book, from an anonymous author, to narrate certain actions. This text is then spoken as a provocation in different ‘female’ voices throughout the video, and along with the visual imagery plays with the idea of gender stereotyping. The voiced text accompanies a series of ‘prescriptive’ actions related to ‘walking’ and again considers how certain ‘types’, ‘actions’ and ‘styles’ perform to gender stereotyping. This is done with a sense of pastiche and irony. In this example, the text provoked the performative response.

In the next post, Dr Rob Dean, principle lecturer in Drama, explains how he used an ice bucket challenge video to help his students explore concepts of performance and identity.