SSHRC Aurora Prize
Diane Conrad hopes to find ways of reducing the harm to both society and youth through drama and to transform the socially transmitted patterns of behaviour that commonly contribute to and result from offending youth behaviour. Conrad believes that "if education is to have a transformative impact, it must find ways of turning the resistance in young peoples' responses to the wielding of institutionalized authority from destructive to productive ends."
Valued at $25,000, the SSHRC Aurora Prize recognizes an outstanding new researcher in the beginning stages of his/her career who is building a reputation for exciting and original research in the social sciences or humanities.
Dr Diane Conrad is the 2006 recipient of the SSHRC Aurora Prize. She is an assistant professor of Drama/Theatre Education in the Department of Secondary Education at the University of Alberta. Conrad also earned her PhD from the University of Alberta. Her research is about drama education and involves inmates of a youth correctional facility in Alberta. Conrad and the youths are using "applied theatre" to get at the root causes of the behaviour and social conditions that landed the young people in the facility. Conrad helps the youth create fictionalized accounts of their lives and troubles. She then guides them as they step outside the scene and enact alternatives to the choices they have made. This process allows the youths to imagine taking action and making positive changes in themselves and their communities.