Equity, Diversity and
Inclusion in the
Cultural Sector:

The Role of Cultural Organizations
Virtual Conference
June 15 · 16, 2022
Wednesday, June 15, 2022 · Theme 3

Facilitating Critical Social Consciousness, Using Art to Illuminate the Relationships Between Us (Cancelled)

Jessica Bleuer, Concordia University & Theatre of the Oppressed

From 15h:20am to 16h:00am (EDT)

In English| Simultaneous interpretation in French and ASL


This presentation will introduce a Social Consciousness Model (Bleuer 2020) created to support artists, educators and therapists in designing, implementing, and evaluating their work using equity and dignity promoting lenses. This presentation will introduce the key concepts in the Social Consciousness Model and illustrate how Theatre of the Oppressed can be used to explore issues of REPRESENTATION – who is in the room? who is in decision making roles?  ABSENCE who and what perspectives are missing? POSITIONALITY – how do our intersecting cultural identities and lived experiences prepare us to understand our work and the dynamics between us? Working across difference – what knowledge and tools do we have to work across difference? What policies can support us? SILENCE -what dynamics and systems may impede participation?  INVISIBILITY – who and what are we ignoring; and POWER -how do all these pieces fit together to create power dynamics in the spaces where we work, and for/with the audiences that we reach.

The workshop will position the model’s origins, as well as the author’s. The Social Consciousness Model’s is informed by Paulo Freire critical pedagogy and conscientization work, Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed Methods, Meyer’s (2003) Minority Stress Model, and the Social Determinants of Health.  This specific Social Consciousness Model was created to address dissatisfaction and growing concern for both well-being and equity considerations in the author’s work. Bleuer critically reflected on her own work as a Theatre of the Oppressed Facilitator, recognizing that while Theatre of the Oppressed intends to promote critical social change, the same tools used to challenge systemic oppression often played a role in equitable and potentially injurious interactions. Bleuer will share her positionality and case studies from her Theatre of the Oppressed work to illuminate this paradox.  This presentation will aspire to present an example of how theatre processes can support us in having the courageous conversations that to address dynamics of systemic oppression within ourselves, our work, our communities and the larger systems in which we interact.


Jessica Bleuer (ella/she/her)

Jessica Bleuer teaches in the Master of Arts Drama Therapy Program at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec.  Her teaching and research focus on the intersections between individual wellness and larger systemic change. Jessica facilitates cultural equity work, using Drama Therapy, Theatre of the Oppressed and Playback Theatre, and her current research focuses on racialized microaggressions in higher education, and the mental health impact of COVID-19.  Her work has appeared in various journals including Qualitative Research in Psychology and The Drama Therapy Review. She has co-authored a chapter in Current Approaches in Drama Therapy (3rd edition).