Through the project, over 12,000 marginalised young people and women were given a voice, able to deliver new stories about their experience. Hull Training and Igen Training reported that the young people gained confidence, developed team skills, and were able to articulate their stories through creative expression. The project inspired young people to take part in more creative activities, resulting in Down the Dog, a group-authored and performed play, and one participant enrolling on a theatre/media course.
The impact has also been felt by educators and artists, and in fields including cultural, sports and heritage policy. The project changed practice by creating new partnerships between playwright practitioners, arts organisations and community arts practitioners, training organisations and their young people. The training providers were inspired by the positive impact on young people to undertake more teaching and training through creative arts approaches.
As the project evolved from ‘The Not-Knowns’ to Ref! the impact became more intergenerational, geographically extensive and diverse, generating substantial and ongoing change.
Summary of Impact:
- 11 creative practitioners were directly involved in the Not Knowns phase
- developing new methodologies for playwriting, memory science and participatory arts practice.
- developing emerging practitioners
Training and skills development for individuals, communities and providers
Education: work pack for educators and published case study
Curatorial practice and Community heritage: establishment of a ‘Smart (Social, Museum and Art) Gallery’, Bradford Museum
It's helped me make decisions about my future narrative personally and professionally and has had impact on my own career since... It's changed the way I approach my work
Sarah Louise Davies
Ref, a play inspired by the true story of a northern woman Julia Lee written by Sarah Jane Dickenson
REF! Crossing the Line engaged over 10,000 people, and has had a positive impact on many of those who were involved. Dawn Fuller, Joint CEO of Space2, describes her involvement in the project as a “truly life-changing encounter and experience”, while Julia Lee herself gained the confidence to set up her own business.
“I knew nothing about Rugby – a real education”
“gives girls confidence to achieve”
“we can change things for the better.” REF! audience members
A large network of women invested in the REF! project by sharing stories and material artefacts for the planned Bradford museum archive. Lee’s involvement in the project garnered unprecedented local, regional and national media interest, including appearances on TV and Radio 4.
The co-creation of a SMART gallery enables communities to craft their own creative outputs for public viewing through the gallery. This opens stories and histories to active community control, asserting the importance of individuals’ shared experiences.
REF! harnessed the power of women’s contributions to Rugby League, including the creation of a dedicated website: https://www.womeninrugbyleague.org.uk
Future impact on culture and sport
The Production will be performed in the Houses of Parliament. Sponsored by the All-Party Parliamentary Committee for Rugby League (2022).
The material from the complete project will also be realised as a significant section in the Rugby League museum to be opened in Bradford 2022.
Publications and Outputs
Dickenson, S. J. Not Yet. After the Fall, Europa Nach 1989. Ein Theater Projket Des Goethe Instituts.
Mazzoni, G. Memon, A. (2003). Imagination can create false memories. Psychological Science, 14, 2, 186-188.
Mazzoni, G., Scoboria, A., Harvey, L. (2010). Non-Believed Memories. Psychological Science, 21 (9) 1334–1340.
Conroy, C. Dickenson, S.J., Mazzoni, G. (2018) ‘The Not-Knowns ‘Memory, Narrative and Applied Theatre’. Research in Drama Education. (RiDE) Vol: 23 NO 1, pp56-72. Inc Dickenson, S.J. The Not Knowns. (Play: Supplementary material.)
Dickenson, S.J. (2015) ‘The Playwright and Applied Drama’. RIDE: Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance 20th Anniversary Edition Vol 20, N0 3, pp285-287.
Prenki T. (Ed) (2020) Conroy, C. Dickenson, S.J. ‘Culturally producing and negotiating women’s Rugby League histories through applied performance’. TheApplied Theatre Reader. Routledge 2ndEdition. Chapter 10
Dickenson, S.J. (2019) REF! Barbican Press