New Book Reviews
"In Playbuilding as Qualitative Research Joe Norris has created a book that demonstrates the educator’s passion while generously sharing practical knowledge in collective playbuilding as qualitative research. A distinctive feature of this book are Norris’s detailed descriptions and process based examples..invaluable for educator, student or practitioner. Drawing on playbuilding and participatory experience as Co-founder and Artistic Director of Mirror Theatre, active and group based illustrations link theory to method effectively showing how collective creation and playbuilding are applied for social change with examples such as ‘Understanding Prejudice Through Mime’ and script examples from the project ‘Respecting Diversity and Preventing Prejudice’, commissioned by The Society for Safe and Caring Schools and Communities, Alberta. This is a topical book for challenging times, a hands on research resource that inspires action. As the creative arts gain momentum as a transitional force for participative change Joe Norris offers in this AERA award winning book the best of his methods to be put to work by researcher or practitioner in arts based qualitative research for social justice and the betterment of communities at home and abroad."
C.L. McLean, Executive Editor, International Journal of The Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice
" This book not only met all the criteria for the [AERA Outstanding Book Award], it exceeded every criteria. Norris bridges arts-based research, qualitative research, and playbuilding grounded in rich theories and create dialogue for various social justice issues. The committee members exclaimed not only about the accessibility, utility of this book, but the ways in which this book challenged our thinking, made us imagine how the audience participation might look like at the end of the scenes and the fertile ground for much needed dialoguing.... Congratulations Joe Norris. "
"Joe Norris' book 'Playbuilding as Qualitative Research' is an outstanding resource for students and researchers interested in dramatic approaches to social research as well as arts-based inquiry more generally. It is extremely well-researched, accessibly written, and overflowing with robust examples that draw readers in. A gem!"
"There have long been gaps and questions in the story of how group constructed performance pieces and playbuilding actually become part of an accessible route towards valid qualitative research in theater. Joe Norris reclaims the voice of the theater practitioner in this latest addition to the Developing Qualitative Inquiry series. In Playbuilding as Qualitative Research he expertly guides the reader through the theory, techniques and experience of this participatory research approach in a way which will open the genre to the many, many theatre and arts practitioners who will be able to better join the dots between their own teaching and practice and its potential contribution as research."
"Devising and performing theatrical work are sometimes perceived by non-practitioners as mysterious and elusive processes. But Joe Norris\'s Playbuilding as Qualitative Research accessibly documents the empirically-grounded and socially-conscious productions of Canada\'s renowned Mirror Theatre for a broad readership in the communities of education, sociology, social work, human communication, film and media production, and the arts. Norris persuasively makes the case for playbuilding as a genre of qualitative research that adheres to the principle tenets of inquiry in which art-based research and research-informed art are collaborative, emergent, data-driven, relevant, and ethical acts for audiences\' social concerns and needs. Joe Norris\'s rigorous scholarship and sensitivity to lived experience weave together to present an engaging narrative of how qualitative researchers--not just theatre artists--can elegantly dramatize the salient issues of our lives for community reflection and action. "