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Why IDEA Congresses are important

Why a Congress

in China

Why are IDEA Congresses important?

An IDEA Congress brings drama educators into a shared space. Even in a digital age where there are many forms of connecting communication, there is a need for us to be together physically in the same place. We share practice, research and trending ideas. We meet new people; we renew friendships and connections.

Why hold an IDEA Congress in China?

Over the last 4 years I have been alerted to the remarkable growth and development of Drama Education in China. In part this has been through the visits I have made to IDEC in Beijing and Jhuxi and the workshops and keynotes that I have given to a growing cohort of drama teachers who are knowledgeable and keen to find out more. In addition, for sometime IDEA has become aware of the burgeoning drama education scene through contacts made through the World Alliance for Arts Education WAAE summits and developments in Shanghai and the he pioneering work of Mme Ying Nang and Drama Magic in Beijing. IDEA Vice President, Sonya Baehr visited Chengdu and Shenzhen to run workshops and listen to the stories there. The second member of IDEA from China is the Guangxi College Of Education. There are more and more inquiries about drama education from within China. 

As Sonya and I recently shared in a presentation at the AATE pre-conference July 1 in New York, there is something remarkable happening in drama education in China. Beyond the growth and interest in drama teacher education, what is intriguing is the ways that this development is happening. There is an entrepreneurial and commercial spirit driving it along with interest and support from middle income parents seeking broader educational advantage for children. Traditional models of drama teacher education through universities are responding but the initiative is coming from elsewhere.

This remarkable growth and interest builds on the strengths of the region. TEFO the host of the IDEA2007 congress in Hong Kong, continues to flourish. This is echoed in, for example, the inclusion of drama in the Taiwan school curriculum, developments in Korea. Looking a little wider, the leadership in drama teacher education in Singapore through SDEA is exciting. In the Philippines, PETA continues as a powerhouse of applied theatre. Australia andNew  Zealand have interesting curriculum implementation work is being undertaken. In the wider region , IDEA needs to hear more from India and Bangladesh. Nor should we overlook the exciting training of drama educators happening through CDA in Turkey. 


The time is right for a congress in China to celebrate and share practice as well as to support and grow interest and support for drama education