Ann Saelens, Tanja Oostvogels
To Seduce to the middle

Maakweekend DEGASTEN march 2022, photo: Sharon Jane D.

As a teacher, to get young people to create their own work is a complex process. The subject may not be a gap in the market, but then again, it is by all means a hiatus in the field - because yes, how do you actually do that, having them do it. Theatre teachers and actresses Ann Saelens and Tanja Oostvogels jumped in (in the hiatus, not the hole) and resurfaced with a research project called To Seduce to the middle. You can read that title as a pedagogical credo, in which the teacher should guide young people with a gentle hand to the riskiest but also most exciting part of the artistic river, i.e. the middle, between the safe banks.

In concrete terms, these concerns translate into a range of forms. Saelens and Oostvogels write blog posts, make podcasts, report on lesson observations and identify relevant literature, teaching materials and possible experiments. In her latest contribution "What's in a name?", for instance, Ann Saelens wonders why the word "theatre teacher" has recently acquired such a pejorative connotation. Starting from a well-founded theoretical framework, she dissects the tensions between artistry and teaching and tries to (re)bridge the gap in an inspired and above all personal plea. Definitely worth reading.

This research project was funded by HOGENT's Arts Research Fund. The research runs from September 2021 to September 2024.