This article focuses on an educational theatre project, ‘Me and You and Us and Them’, carried out with University of Sheffield English and Theatre students in partnership with Museums Sheffield. Working with children from local inner-city schools, the brief was to create
a performative response to Tate Britain’s touring exhibition ‘Picture of Us’ and to present this at the city’s Graves Arts Gallery as part of the exhibition’s closing event. The account of the project provides the basis for a critical/theoretical reflection on
the nature and challenges of experiential learning, drawing in particular on the writings of John Heron and Michael Luntley. The article’s thesis is that the latter’s differentiation between ‘thick’ and ‘thin’ conceptions of practice and Heron’s stress
on ‘live encounter’ can enrich our understanding of experiential learning, of how we can help our students move from ‘knowing that’ to ‘knowing how’, from the simulation of the world in the workshop to immersion in what Foucault has called ‘the dramaturgy
of the real’. The article is in three sections. Section 1 sets out the context for the project. Section 2 offers an impressionistic account of the process. Section 3 offers a summative analysis.
The Journal of Arts and Communities seeks to provide a critical examination of the practices known as community or participatory arts, encompassing a field of work defined for this purpose as incorporating active creative ollaboration between artists and people in a range of communities.The journal will take a cross-artform and interdisciplinary approach,including work happening in performance, visual arts and media,writing, multimedia and collaboration involving digital technology and associated forms. In part this will create an archive that will document work which can otherwise be ephemeral