1649-8526Volume XIIIssue 2Year 2018

Recommendations for Promoting a Performative Teaching, Learning, and Research Culture in Higher Education

Bärbel Jogschies, Manfred Schewe, Anke Stöver-Blahak

The twenty-first century is the century of the performative.1 Claire Colebrook (2018)

A performative teaching, learning, and research culture can emerge wherever an academic discipline enters into a constructive dialogue with the performing arts.

Many challenges of the 21st century (see the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN)2 require creative solutions. Creativity is, however, not yet sufficiently promoted at universities, thus an artistic reorientation in teaching and research is imperative. As early as 2006, at the UNESCO World Congress in Lisbon and again in Seoul in 20103, there were calls to strengthen the role of the arts in education. Implementation of these recommendations has, however, been very limited thus far.

Studies in cognitive science show that performative teaching and learning cultivates a deeper understanding of content and improved long-term retention of knowledge.4 In fact, it has been shown that the use of performative teaching and learning approaches leads to more creative, better learning outcomes; students relate more strongly to their studies and drop-out rates decrease. In addition, overall willingness to learn within the university context has been documented, as well as increased complexity and closer connection to practice in higher education, thus affording graduates better job placement opportunities.

At the 6th Scenario Forum Symposium in Hanover, Germany, September 21-22, 2018, the participants reflected on the theme: “Universities on the way to a performative teaching, learning, and research culture?5 Participating university educators and researchers described what constitutes a performative teaching, learning, and research culture as follows:6

The participants of the 6th Scenario Forum Symposium in Hanover agreed on the following recommendations:

  1. Teaching and learning in the context of higher education should follow the UNESCO recommendations for arts education.9
  1. Discussions of a performative turn have been ongoing since the 1990s, especially in the social and cultural sciences.10 All disciplines are strongly encouraged to join the discussion of theory and practice that was initiated and strongly influenced by Linguistics, Gender Studies, and Theatre & Performance Art.
  1. University educators should strive to cooperate with artists in order to integrate artistic perspectives into the curriculum, as well as to plan joint performative public projects.
  1. Convincing performative concepts, grounded in theory and practice, should be developed for teacher education and training, so that a 'performative teaching and learning culture' can emerge in all educational institutions.11
  1. The extent to which innovative impulses from the performing arts have already permeated the various academic disciplines should be investigated, in order to determine to what extent performative teaching and learning practices are relevant to them. Efforts to bridge the gap between academic discipline-specific methodologies and the performing arts should be made, in order to increase respect and recognition of the performative in the higher educational contexts.
  1. 'Performative research' should be encouraged in various university disciplines.12 From a performative research perspective, the extent to which discipline-specific practice can be recognized as research should be examined. Furthermore, the extent to which research results can be presented in a non-discursive way should be studied.

This paper intends to encourage the creation of networks within or between universities, which will specifically promote performative teaching, learning, and research.13 It should, if possible, be forwarded to relevant professional associations and journals, as well as to colleagues in educational contexts outside of universities.

Translated from German by Eva Göksel

Figure image

Remarks: Detailed information about the Programme of the 6th Scenario Forum Symposium can be found here: [last accessed 30.09.2018].

We thank all those who have enriched the Symposium through lectures, presentations, workshops, discussions, as well as through any other contributions.


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Bachmann-Medick, Doris (2014): Cultural Turns: Neuorientierungen in den Kulturwissenschaften. Reinbek: Rowohlt

Colebrook, Claire (2018): Foreword. In: Byron, Experience (Hrsg.): Performing Interdisciplinarity. Working across disciplinary boundaries through an active aesthetic. London/New York: Routledge, X

Even, Susanne & Schewe, Manfred (2016): Performatives Lehren, Lernen, Forschen – Performative Teaching, Learning, Research. Berlin: Schibri

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Haseman, Brad (2006): A Manifesto for Performative Research. In: Media International Australia incorporating Culture and Policy 118, 98-106. [letzter Zugriff 30.09.2018]

Schewe, Manfred & Woodhouse, Fionn (2018): Performative Foreign Language Didactics in Progress: About Still Images and the Teacher as ‘Formmeister’ (Form Master). In: Scenario XII/1, 53-69

UNESCO Roadmap for Arts Education, 2006 [letzter Zugriff 30.09.2018]

UNESCO Second World Conference on Arts Education, 2010 [letzter Zugriff 01.10.2018].

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals [letzter Zugriff 20.10.2018]