Research Agenda

As a theatre pedagogy specialist, I have developed a rigorous research agenda that includes publication in peer-reviewed journals and books, presentation of scholarship at academic conferences, and supplemental creative activity. My primary areas of research include learning through and about theatre and drama in multiple contexts (professional theatre, educational drama, everyday life) and questions of ethics in the fields of Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) and Drama Education.

These topical foci guide play a significant role in my selection of research undertakings, but several other principles guide my work as well. Given performance-oriented nature of the fields of educational drama and TYA, I am primarily interested in pursuing research that informs and affects artistic and pedagogical practice. By studying practical issues directly pertinent to artists and teachers while drawing on theoretical concepts from theatre, performance, and education studies I aim to promote genuine praxis (theoretically-informed practice) in my own work and in the field more broadly.

This goal speaks directly to a second principle underlying my work: collaboration. Both theatre and education are inherently and often intensely collaborative art forms, and I believe that scholarly investigations into the intersection of these fields is strongest when it too is collaborative in nature. Although I have published a variety of solo-authored pieces, I have increasingly focused on projects based on partnerships with individuals who bring different experiences and perspectives to our work. For example, two of my current book projects are co-authored with established artistic practitioners. By blending my historical and theoretical knowledge and training in multiple research modalities with their lifetime experience as practicing artists we are working to create texts that genuinely illuminate best praxis in the field in ways that would not be possible if we worked independently. Collaboration does not diminish the value of my personal contributions to these projects, however. I serve as a Principal Investigator and lead author for nearly all of my collaborative projects, taking primary responsibility for all aspects of research design, data collection & analysis, and reporting.

Finally, given that the majority of my research investigates pedagogy in formal and informal contexts, it is unsurprising that I have developed a deep commitment infusing my work as a researcher with teaching by frequently introducing undergraduates to research methods by employing them as research assistants and/or mentoring them as they conduct studies investigating research questions parallel to my own.

 

© 2020 Matt Omasta, Ph.D.

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