Postgraduate Summer Research Showcase (PSRS) Image Awards: Can the Drama in Afghanistan Win?
Instead of speaking about my research (where I was the finalist at the 3 Minute Thesis or 3MT Competition recently), my impact engagement has now moved from auditory to visual, from speech to photography. It is a real honour to have my photograph go through the various rounds of judging at the University of Manchester’s Postgraduate Summer Research Showcase (PSRS). From the official website for the Image Awards, it states:
The theme of the Image awards will be “Research in Action”. You are free to interpret this theme as broadly as you like. However, you must show how your photo represents your research and its impact, or potential impact, whether that is at the individual, local, national or international level. All images should be accompanied by a title (no more than 50 words) and a caption (no more than 150 words) both of which should clearly explain your image.
This is the photograph that I submitted, which now stands alongside other winning entries.
Performing an Improvised Drama in an Public Park in Afghanistan
The growth of the cultural sector in Afghanistan, especially theatre, is still stunted due to decades of war and years of Taliban repression. While non-governmental organisations had external aid to fund smaller theatre productions such as circus arts and puppet theatres, many local actors are still struggling to make their voices heard in a climate where public entertainment is frowned upon. In fact, in December 2014, a bomb blast went off in the audience during a theatre performance, a shocking indication that theatre is still taboo. Radio dramas, however, are more commonly accepted in Afghanistan. But will taking drama out into public spaces encourage a different form of education and entertainment? This picture shows two actors improvising a scene in a park in Kabul which attracted a huge enthusiastic crowd. Their applauding this performance, including police officers taking videos of the show, might indicate a new trend for further research.
I was surprised to find my Afghan friends on campus, so they came along to see the images. They liked it and tweeted it.