Election: TaPRA Chair statements
Please find below candidate statements for the position of TaPRA Chair.
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Candidate Statements (in alphabetical order by surname)
Head of Drama, University of Manchester
I took up post as Head of Drama at the University of Manchester last year, following ten years of teaching and research there. In that time, I have developed a good track record as a researcher, leading AHRC and Leverhulme-funded initiatives, and completing a range of individual and collaborative projects. I came into academia at mid-career stage, after a period working in prisons, non-mainstream education and youth work as a drama facilitator and counsellor. In my academic work, and as part of the editorial boards of two leading journals, I have had the good fortune to work with scholars from diverse institutional and international contexts, and have learnt much from supporting the development of research of significance to the discipline. As Postgraduate Research Director at Manchester, I designed and continue to lead an innovative Professional PhD programme that enables experienced theatre practitioners to undertake advanced research in their places of work. I am familiar with the pressured environment of research in Universities, and am much engaged by the challenge of supporting researchers to flourish in this context.
TaPRA provides an invaluable place for researchers to share and develop new work, and collectively negotiate the shifting challenges of UK research culture for theatre and performance studies. I have been an enthusiastic member of TaPRA since its beginnings in 2004, co-convening the Applied and Social Theatre Working Group from 2008 to 2012. Should I be elected, I would work to sustain TaPRA’s collegial ethos, building on the legacy of good management and ambassadorial work established by previous Chairs. I would also work with colleagues to review and, where appropriate, develop targeted initiatives to increase diversity (in terms of research focus and researcher identity), build relationships with international research associations, and support productive exchanges between academic research and the theatre and performance industries.
Professor of Performance Studies, University of Plymouth
I have been a member of TaPRA since attending its first conference in 2005 and would be honoured to act as Chair. I have served as Working Group Co-ordinator on the Executive Committee (2007-2012), co-convened the Body and Performance Working Group (2006-2010), and co-organized the 2009 conference at the University of Plymouth, where I continue to lead Performing Arts research and convene the Performance.Experience.Presence (PEP) research group.
My research focuses on radical and avant-garde theatre, performance/live art, and popular performance (including stand-up comedy and circus), with practice-research outputs taking the form of physical and dance theatre, solo performance and community film. I have written or edited four books, one of which (Performance, Embodiment and Cultural Memory, co-edited with Colin Counsell) arose directly from TaPRA working group meetings. Between 2002-2014, I was Series Editor of Intellect’s Playtext list. I am currently co-editing a volume on gender and theatre research with the President of PSi, Sean Metzger.
I served on the AHRC Peer Review College for two terms, chaired or been a member of seven AHRC grant panels, and participated in RCUK impact consultations. Between 2013-16, I was a founding Director of the AHRC-funded 3D3 Centre for Doctoral Training.
As TaPRA’s Chair, I would bring facilitation and communication skills and expertise gained from extensive Senior Management and Research Leadership experience, much within a multidisciplinary environment. At Plymouth, I have been Associate Dean (Research) for the Faculty of Arts, Director of the Arts Institute, and am currently Director of the University’s Doctoral College. I am a member of the University’s Ethics & Research Integrity and Equality & Diversity Committees and a founder of its Women’s Mentoring Scheme.
Continuing TaPRA’s excellent work and building on its strong foundations, I would champion the extraordinarily robust and diverse spectrum of British performance research, and seek to innovate by collaborating with other organisations in order to tackle barriers to interdisciplinary research; develop strategies for the legacy and accessibility of practice-led research; and support the work of scholars in precarious employment.