As a registered mental health nurse with experience in the police, James Wilson has an in-depth understanding of two professions that care for our communities. In his current role as a lecturer, he has utilised his public sector background and pioneered the use of a range of interactive theatre techniques to link ‘difficult to teach’ theory to the complexities of clinical practice.
Interactive theatre is a broad term encompassing a range of techniques designed to present material in the classroom which students can engage with and control at some level. These methods offer students an opportunity to observe, analyse and even become actively involved in resolving scenarios. The reputation gained for delivering high-quality learning experience has resulted in frequent requests from partnership organisations for bespoke sessions.
Impact of work
James’ work and extensive public engagement has contributed to enhancing the reputation of both the University and the customer. An example includes a partnership with Southampton City Council’s city-wide Anti-Stigma Campaign (in partnership with Time to Change). The use of interactive theatre was identified as a good practice case study in the sharing of knowledge that has a social benefit for the world and was cited in the Dept. of Health (2013) Review of the NHS Hospitals’ Complaints System: Putting patients back in the picture.
In enhancing the training of undergraduate and postgraduate students studying a range of healthcare subjects, the interactive sessions consistently achieve high scores (4.8-5.0) in student feedback and are always the first or second highest-rated sessions in module evaluations. In 2016, James was entered by University of Southampton for the Times Higher Education ‘Most Innovative Teacher’ award. He was shortlisted for the national award and as a runner up in the final, has been invited to lead a national workshop for the Higher Education Academy.
Plans for the future
Looking to the future, James will continue to evolve and create live, immersive and authentic, scenario-based learning experiences. The future aim is to expand the boundaries of interactive theatre to other academic disciplines and to include online experiences further enhanced with educational technology resources.
University of Southampton