Dr Kirin Hilliar

Dr Kirin completed her PhD and her Master of Psychology (Forensic) at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Australia. Her work has taken her across the fields of forensic, organisational, and clinical psychology in Australia and the UAE, including corrective custodial services, forensic mental health, workplace recruitment assessments and therapeutic services. Alongside her full-time role at Heriot-Watt University, Dubai, she also works part-time as a psychologist at a clinic in Dubai. Kirin is also involved in the local theatre scene as an actor, director and producer, and incorporates her psychology training into her theatrical work.

Exploring the impact of collaborative theatre in the creation of a culture of resilience

Bullying is a pervasive concern across educational institutions, at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels. Educational initiatives and interventions have had mixed results – student engagement is often superficial, pastoral systems already in place are often overwhelmed or underequipped, and different age groups may not view initiatives or interventions as impactful or relevant which leads to a lack of realistic solution-focused structures being implemented. Collaborative theatre, and other performing arts-based initiatives, are being increasingly utilized, as these techniques allow students to be directly and actively involved in both devising and delivering the educational content.

In this interactive workshop, the facilitators will discuss the theory of collaborative theatre as an educational platform, and allow participants to take on the role of students in devising a new performance piece. Participants will also hear from students who have been involved in such theatrical pieces at their own school, and hear their reflections on its impact on them individually, as well as the school community collectively.

Workshop objectives:

- Understand the theory that supports the effective use of performing arts in educational interventions;

- Appreciate the collaborative process in devising a theatre piece with student participants;

- Gain insight into the skill sets required for this to be an impactful, and safe, initiative to implement in educational institutions;

- Reflect on your own experience in devising a piece of theatre, as well as the experience of students who have already been through the process;

- Explore the research opportunities this type of intervention allows; and

- Discuss the opportunities and challenges if you were to implement this approach in your own institution.


Dr Kirin Hilliar