House of Homes: Theatrical Explorations of Home and Belonging

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Balfour, Michael

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Burton, Bruce

Hassall, Linda

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This arts-based thesis focuses on notions of mapping a home of belonging. By investigating creative ways to re-story our past, present, and future, it considers what we might do to satisfy this basic human longing and necessity. Born out of a personal need, the study could be seen as a response to the growing social problem of loneliness and anxiety throughout the Western world and, more particularly, in the arts industry. Underpinned by a social constructionist paradigm, the research has engaged with a range of ideas and methods from Theatre, Postmodern Therapies, and the Human Potential Movement, as well as studies in Home culture and mythology. This interdisciplinary approach has been driven by my own arts practice, which was deployed to devise and stage three original performances—Home (2012, 2015), Eve (2012, 2017), and He Dreamed a Train (2014, 2017)—collectively entitled The Belonging Trilogy. These shows, generated over six years, became a way of writing new personal mythologies to create, and re-create, my own personal map of belonging in my world as a social artist. An outcome of this process was the development of the “Relational Impulse Cultural” (RIC) Process, a method that can enrich artists’ professional and personal lives. The embodied inquiry has pioneered an artistic and therapeutic method that can be used for understanding and articulating where and what is “home” and “belonging.” While home is constantly changing, depending on who one is becoming, the dissertation details how it can be productively created through the active re-storying of Place/Space, Mythologies/Stories, and Relationships. This original framework offers a simple yet effective model of personal and professional transformation. Coupled with the RIC Process, the process moves the social artist into a place of curiosity, vibrancy, and awareness, with an ability to push the boundaries, knowing that things constantly change. It is no longer a question of “Who am I?” or “Who are you?” but rather “Who am I becoming?” and “Who are you becoming?” Relationally, it allows for difference, diversity, and acceptance, improving the social bonds within our communities, both personally and professionally.

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Thesis (PhD Doctorate)

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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School Educ & Professional St

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The author owns the copyright in this thesis, unless stated otherwise.

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Mapping a home



Postmodern Therapies

Human Potential Movement

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