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Afterwards: a conversation about devising and higher education in a post-pandemic world.

Faculty Advisor




devising, higher education

Abstract (summary)

Off Book has been a slow-burn collaboration, one which was not only delayed by the disruptions of a global pandemic, but all sorts of other ordinary human ‘dramas’: we have overcome serious illnesses, broken bones, cross-hemisphere migration, new positions, rapid restructures, resignations and budget cuts, the introduction of ‘dual delivery’ and online teaching modes and even the output of a new human. And that's just among the editors! We chose to frame this final epilogue as a series of conversations, as this feels the most appropriate reflection of our editorial process. This is a story of endless email chains, coordination across six time zones to meet via Zoom, and innumerable tangential discussions in the margins of essays. Through this, we have learnt so much about our own devising and teaching practices, but also have been challenged to shift and reshape our own assumptions about what ‘good’ and ‘bad’ devising praxes look like. Although the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the lives of all our contributors, when we invited them to speak to this disruption and its implications, they mostly declined. Does this reflect fatigue or a lack of confidence in the future? Both of those conditions aptly express the feelings of many devisors reflected in this book: the exhaustion of doggedly working towards an uncertain something, of having the materials to create, but with little idea yet of what it will become. Talking more than doing may be the nemesis of any devising experience (although others would argue that ignoring the value of relationships is the worst offense against healthy devising). Still, as we worked to concoct a single book from all our contributors’ voices, our conversations were peppered with thoughts around the nature of devising, autonomy, care, universities and the future of devising.

Publication Information

Fitzsimmons Frey, H., Hyland N., & McKinnon, J. (2024) Afterwards: A Conversation about Devising and Higher Education in a Post-Pandemic World. In H. Fitzsimmons Frey, N. Hyland, & J. McKinnon (Eds.), Off Book: Devised Performance and Higher Education (Ch. 22). Intellect, UK.


Item Type

Book Chapter



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