27 Final thoughts

Transformative learning and un-learning requires courage: courage to lead our self and others into unfamiliar and uncomfortable places where meaningful growth can occur. Participatory theatre invites learners to develop and cultivate reflective skills so that they become responsive to the horrors of what happens when implicit bias goes unrecognized and unchecked. As leaders in health, education and other systems, we must be willing to explore our core values and beliefs and how these have shaped and formed our understandings of our self, others and the world around us. We must be honest about how lethal implicit bias can be here in Canada. The reflexive exercises that we have provided in this resource invite us to take one step toward challenging our own engrained mental constructs and working toward something more equitable for everyone.

As we come to the end of this resource, here are some of the questions that continue to haunt us:

  1. What assumptions do I make, on a day to day basis, that I am still not aware of?
  2. How does implicit bias impact me personally?
  3. How might I cultivate a life-long reflexive practice?
  4. How does implicit bias affect those around me professionally, such as my co-workers, my patients and their families?
  5. How do I use, misuse, and abuse my personal power and privilege? How can learn to share power in ways that are more equitable?
  6. What am I going to stop, start and continue doing as a result of my heightened awareness about implicit biases?

We continue to live in these questions long after we have finished with the scenes.

Our students who have participated in these activities have expressed their appreciation for this curriculum in ways that extended well beyond its content. They have told us that while it was uncomfortable, they also felt strangely exhilarated, humbled and empowered through their experiences with the scenes. We hope this experience will be similar for others who use this resource.

There is no end point to this work. There are, however, starting points and “starting again” points. While it’s not likely you will get rid of all your implicit biases, becoming increasingly aware of them will mean that they have less and less control over your decisions, conclusions and actions. We hope that this resource leaves you and your co-learners “haunted” as you confront implicit biases. Taking concrete responsibility for our own growth is one of the ways that we honour our collective responsibility to create a more just and equitable world.



Haunting our Biases: Using Participatory Theatre to Interrupt Implicit Bias Copyright © 2022 by Kevin Hobbs; Michael Martin Metz; Nadia Ganesh; Sheila O'Keefe-McCarthy; Joe Norris; Sandy Howe; and Valerie Michaelson. All Rights Reserved.

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