Performing Arts research entered an assessment exercise for the first time in 2013 (REF 2014), and is fully committed to the university’s aims, articulated in the Corporate Research Strategy (2016):

  • Produce world-class research outputs which achieve impact outside of the academy
  • Attract, retain, nurture and develop academic staff, supporting and enhancing their research aspirations
  • Attract more postgraduate research students and manage their timely and successful completion
  • Provide the highest-quality facilities, resources and environment in which research may flourish
  • Increase research income and overhead recovery
  • Form strategic partnerships to enhance our research culture

Two students walking across campus, with the Arts Centre building visible behind them

Direction in the department is provided by the Performing Arts Professoriate and is convened by Professor Victor Merriman (Director of Research). Members include Professor Helen Newall, Professor Vicky Karkou, Professor David Peimer, Professor Stephen Pratt, and Dr Richard Witts, Reader in Music.

This department includes a broad range of established and developing performing arts research areas, along a spectrum from Activist Performance, through Arts and Wellbeing, Choreography, Composition, Critical Performance Practice, Critical Performance Studies, Dance Studies, Drama and Theatre Studies, Dramaturgy, Feminist Performance, Musicology, Playwriting, Scenography, and Sound Design, to Visual Theatre. Members of staff produce and disseminate research across a range of modes of inquiry, from monographs, to peer-reviewed articles to practice-as-research.

Performing Arts research has been a significant beneficiary of the university’s Graduate Teaching Assistant scheme, recruiting at least one GTA each year since 2012. We have two completed PhDs under the scheme, with six more in progress. Researched areas include Traumaturgy (Sandra Philip PhD), Digital Narratives in Performance (James Burrows – graduation pending); A Critique of Neo-Commedia Dell-Arte Practices; Representations of Working Class Lives in Contemporary Irish Theatre; ‘Coloured’ Subjects in South African Musical Theatre; and Street Theatre in the UK. Members of staff contribute to supervisory teams in Creative Writing, English Literature, and Media. The department welcomes applications for full- and part-time PhD candidates, and has three current enrolments, independent of the GTA scheme.

The department networks across all three Edge Hill University Research Institutes, including the Institute for Creative Enterprise (ICE), the Institute for Public Policy and Professional Practice (I4P), and the Postgraduate Medical Institute (PGMI). Active external partners include:

  • Turvey World Dance (June Gersten Roberts)
  • Graduate Center, CUNY; University of Portsmouth; Benjamin Till; Simeon Scheuber, LIPA (Clare Chandler and Rachel Griffiths)
  • Dr Laura Haughey, University of Waikato New Zealand; Deaf Aotearoa; Creative New Zealand; National Theatre Belgrade (Bill Hopkinson)
  • Monash University, Australia (Karen Jaundrill-Scott)
  • Burscough Community Farm, Lancashire; Clownencuentro Interncational, Colombia (Barnaby King)
  • The Academy of Music and Theatre, Lithuania; Riga Stradins University, Latvia; The University of Tallinn, Estonia; Jyvaskyla University, Finland; Palacky University, Czech Republic; Rhodes University, South Africa; University of Edinburgh, Scotland; University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield; University of Melbourne, Australia (Vicky Karkou)
  • Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra; Roberto Fabbriciani; Piano Circus; Tempo Reale; Contemporary Music Review; Salford Art Gallery and Museum, The Fed, Salford; Chatsworth Community College, Salford (Steve Davismoon)
  • Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra; Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedra (Stephen Pratt)
  • Live Art Development Agency; London (Lena Simic)
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