CLYDE SELBYTo gain insight into youth theatre programmes in the US in order to promote standards of excellence in youth performing arts in Western Australia - USA
In 1987 at the age of 39 when I was the teacher in charge of an educational program that I had innovated of drama, theatre and cross-curricular creative expression involving young people i applied for a fellowship. I was then working for the West Australian education Department based in Fremantle.
It needs to be mentioned that “if at first you don’t succeed…”
In 1985 I was short-listed for a 1986 fellowship and although unsuccessful was encouraged to try again. Also I was informed that I was neither ‘Education’ nor the ‘Arts’ or visa versa and so whatever I applied the first time and then changed for the second and successful application I cannot now recall but sometimes one has the difficulty compounded by not entirely fitting any category of endeavour.
In 2005 I relocated to Tasmania where my career in the Arts for over five years has had a coda in the form of art reviewer for the Hobart Mercury newspaper.
The trip that I had devised and submitted with my application ultimately took me to venues in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Minneapolis, Omaha and New York.
Due to the virtual isolation in which I worked in the Fremantle Education District under the auspices of the Education Department in Western Australia, it was a rare and enriching opportunity to work with peers who were writers and directors as well as young performers.
FELLOWSHIP CONCLUSIONS & OUTCOMES
Upon my return from the U.S.A.I found that my knowledge and breadth of vision had widened considerably. This I imparted in innumerable ways to students and schools in classrooms and formal and informal teacher development courses. It also strengthened my confidence and ability to impart expressive skills as all encompassing and not separately boxed subjects called art, drama, social science, English or science.
In tandem my skills as a playwright and a writer for the arts in the form of theatrical and literary reviewing for The West Australian daily newspaper continued but I believe in an enhanced way due to my heightened experience.
In the early 1990s I met a psychologist who had undertaken a Winston Churchill fellowship to Norway to study the effects of school bullying. Although the findings were polemic and statistical in nature, I used them to launch a number of quite groundbreaking strategies of a creative nature that I had devised to combat the problem. I was interviewed on ABC national 7:30 Report and believe I was the first educator to raise the issue of what was really happening to many students in the schools…with many consequences and outcomes.