Dr. Diane Conrad is Associate Professor in the Department of Secondary Education with a focus on Drama/Theatre Education and Curriculum Studies. She completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing (Playwriting) at the University of British Columbia and a Bachelor of Education degree at the University of Ottawa with drama as her major teaching subject. Her first teaching experience was as a volunteer with World University Service of Canada in Lesotho, Southern Africa where she spent five years. She taught in the Northwest Territories for three years before coming to Edmonton to do graduate work. She obtained her MEd and PhD at the University of Alberta.

2011 Research Cluster Grant, Cycle One

Evaluating Youth Outcomes for the "High Risk Youth Uncensored" Program

High Risk Youth Uncensored: An Educational Exchange, underway since fall 2009, partners not-for-profit arts-based organization iHuman Youth Society; Edmonton and Area Child and Family Services High Risk Youth Unit; University of Alberta researchers, students and other community collaborators. The project also involves a number of youth as key collaborators. The study’s aim is to develop a series of arts-based workshops to educate service providers (e.g. law enforcement, health providers, educators, social workers) through face-to-face encounters with youth and their art-works (storytelling, music, drama, visual and digital arts) about how to best meet the particular needs of the youth populations they serve. Several successful workshops have already been facilitated and an evaluation of the outcomes for service providers is underway.

The focus of the proposed research is a formal evaluation of the positive outcomes for youth involved in developing and facilitating the workshops. Research has shown that arts interventions do have positive effects for youth at-risk. “Uncensored” encompasses many elements of successful arts programs, and goes further by putting youth into the roles of educators and researchers, as well as artists and performers. It is expected that the research will show personal and interpersonal benefits for youth, including greater self-understanding, validation of their experiences, and an understanding of the structural roots of their life challenges. As well as offering concrete material improvements in youths' lives, “Uncensored” will provide a model for programming in cities across Canada, with benefits for youth, for the service providing community and for the community at large.