Let's play transformations! Performative methods for sustainability

María Heras, J. David Tàbara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Coping with global environmental change demands new forms of civic engagement and interaction able to transform passive audiences attending to the drama of unsustainability into committed actors for sustainability. This entails linking diverse sources of scientific knowledge with personal experiences, emotion and ethical judgments. In this paper, we assess the potential as well as the limitations of innovative theatre-based participatory tools and methods aimed at supporting sustainability learning and agent transformation. To this aim, we first review a series of experiences using theatrical performance and introduce the notion of performative methods. Second, we assess to what extent these new approaches can be of relevance in environmental action research and sustainability science, practice and learning. Finally, we list a series of key research questions to further guide methodological innovation in this promising area of sustainability science and practice. Our findings show a growing and successful use of such methodologies worldwide, both in academia and in implementation-oriented approaches. An increasing number of topics and complexity is being embraced by these methods, offering a fertile ground for innovation in participatory sustainability science. © 2014 Springer Japan.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)379-398
JournalSustainability Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Applied drama
  • Global environmental change
  • Performative methods
  • Sustainability learning
  • Theatre
  • Transformation


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