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14 APRIL 2012

Practising Theatre History as Research

"Much current scholarship in the field of Elizabethan and Jacobean drama, including my own, focuses on the actual performance of plays in their own or later periods, regarding the texts that survive as, in different ways, blueprints for performance, and exploring them in the context of their performance spaces, actors and theatre–practice and of other agencies such as audiences that impact upon those texts in performance. My own research in these areas is largely conducted through practice.

But let me just sketch a brief background. In 1998, a sea–change occurred in the lives of arts (as opposed to humanities) researchers in the UK, with the creation of the Arts & Humanities Research Board (now Council) which, for the first time, funded practice–led research in the creative arts. I cannot stress too heavily the impact this had on the landscape of research in the performing arts.

That's not to say, of course, that research through practice had not been conducted before then. If I take my own department at Bristol as an example, scholars such as Glynne Wickham, Richard Southern and Neville Denny were experimenting from the early 1950s by staging medieval and early modern plays, and using their findings in their published work.

But the arrival of the AHRB not only provided funding for practice–led research in the academy, but in so doing, confirmed it as being as valid and – not to be underestimated – as respectable as research conducted through more traditional or conventional means. And – a point to which I shall return – it opened up debates not only on how such research might most profitably be conducted, but how it might be disseminated in forms other than the books or journal articles that had predominated – and be disseminated, in fact, through the practice/performance itself."

(Martin White)

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1950s1998AHRBAHRCArts and Humanities Research BoardArts and Humanities Research Council • blueprints for performance • Bristolconducting researchcontribution to knowledge • Cornish • Cornish Ordinalia • Cornwallcreative artsdesign researchdesign researcherdissemination through performance • dissemination through practice • early modern period • Elizabethan drama • fourteenth century • funding for practice-led research • Glynne Wickham • history of theatre • Jacobean drama • journal articlesmedieval • medieval mystery plays • model of enquiry • Neville Denny • Ordinalia • Origo Mundi • Passio Christi • passion of Christperformance researchperformance spacesperforming arts • plays • practice as research in performancepractice-led research • practising theatre • publishing and disseminationresearch dissemination • research in the performing arts • research scholarshipresearch through practice • researchers in the UK • Resurrexio Domini • Richard Southern • staging • surviving texts • texts in performance • the academytheatre • theatre audiences • theatre history • theatre practice • theatrical performancetheoretical contextUKvalid scholarship

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
14 NOVEMBER 2010

Next-gen PhDs fail to find Web 2.0's 'on-switch'

"It is counter–intuitive in the extreme, but young researchers are failing to make use of so–called 'emergent technology', such as Web 2.0 tools, to support their work.

A three–year study by the British Library, Researchers of Tomorrow, is tracking the research behaviour of doctoral students born between 1982 and 1994 – dubbed 'Generation Y'. ...

Interim results, released to Times Higher Education, show that only a small proportion of those surveyed are using technology such as virtual–research environments, social bookmarking, data and text mining, wikis, blogs and RSS–feed alerts in their work. This contrasts with the fact that many respondents professed to finding technological tools valuable."

(Times Higher Education, 5 November 2009)

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TAGS

2009blogBritish Librarycollaborative workingdata mining • doctoral students • e-Research • emergent technology • Generation Y • Google IncGoogle Scholarhigher education • Joanna Newman • journal articleslibraryPhDresearch • research behaviour • research tools • Researchers of Tomorrow • RSSsocial bookmarkingstudentstext miningTHETimes Higher Education • virtual-research environments • Web 2.0Web 2.0 toolswiki • young researchers

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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