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Queen Mary academic wins transformative research award

Maggie Inchley, Reader in Contemporary Theatre and Performance, has been honoured with a prestigious accolade from the Theatre and Performance Research Association (TaPRA).

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Dr Maggie Inchley won the TaPRA Transformative Research Prize at the TaPRA annual conference 2023, for her project ‘The Verbatim Formula’.

This prize-winning research is a project developed by Queen Mary researchers Dr Maggie Inchley (Drama), Dr Sadhvi Dar (Business and Management), and  Dr Sylvan Baker of the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Since 2015, the team has collaborated with cohorts of care-experienced young people, developing a methodology to help adults listen better and young people to be heard. 

Award judges were especially impressed by how The Verbatim Formula (TVF) seeks to positively affect the lives of care-experienced young people (CEYP) and care leavers and the working practices within the systems of their care and education.

‘The project examines the care industry as the centre of power—this is where it is truly transformational—and theatre is used as a means of transformation, rather than the end. The empowerment of adults to listen to care-experienced young people, rather than attempting to site CEYP as the locus of the problem, is evidence of lasting systemic transformation.’

Following the win, Dr Inchley said: "I am deeply honoured and humbled to receive the TaPRA Transformative Research Prize for our project 'The Verbatim Formula.' This recognition is a testament to the dedication and hard work of our research team and the incredible young people who have been part of this transformative journey. Our aim has always been to make a meaningful impact on the lives of care-experienced young people and improve the systems that surround them. This award reaffirms the importance of our work and the potential for positive change within the care and education systems. I'm grateful to TaPRA for this acknowledgment, and we remain committed to our mission of creating a better future for these young individuals."

Commenting on the award, Professor Andrew Livingston, Vice Principal Research and Innovation, Queen Mary University of London said: “I am delighted to congratulate Maggie and her collaborators on this award. Maggie’s pioneering research puts Queen Mary’s values into action to enormous effect, and demonstrates the transformational change that takes place when inclusion is at the heart of research excellence.”

The Verbatim Formula (TVF) is a collaborative participatory arts project that has developed verbatim theatre techniques to share the voices of care-experienced young people, care leavers, and adults responsible for their care and education.

TVF works with young people as co-researchers, as they are experts in their own life experience and in the systems they deal with. Through using verbatim performances of their testimonies, it raises awareness and provokes change to working practices in care and education.

Theatre and Performance Research Association (TaPRA) is an academic organisation based in the UK devoted to sharing and promoting research excellence through annual conferences, working groups, interim events, postgraduate symposia, and prizes.

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