2018 Symposium

The Society for Theatre Research
New Researchers’ Network
Fifth Annual Symposium

Practising Research; Researching Practice

Sunday 8th July, 2018
King’s College London

Book Wormhole

The Society for Theatre Research’s (STR) New Researchers’ Network (NRN) are delighted to announce our Fifth Annual Symposium: Practising Research; Researching Practice. The symposium will explore the various ways in which scholars, artists, and theatre practitioners undertake the process of research, as well as the opportunities and issues that arise when researching ephemeral, performance-based events.

Research takes many forms. Archival sources, empirical data, personal interviews, surveys, and practical investigations all contribute to the advancement of scholarship and the development of artistic practice in the field of theatre and performance. Each approach to research provides opportunities for innovation and creativity, but also brings its own limitations: the results of any research are inevitably shaped by the chosen methodological approach. The relatively recent introduction of practice-based and collaborative PhD programmes demonstrates a growing recognition that research can also be conducted through and alongside practice. To what extent do these approaches to research differ from ‘traditional’ PhD processes, and how might the increasing diversity of performance research impact upon the future of the field? Similarly, how might research methods from other fields usefully inform and expand approaches to theatre and performance studies?

Designed for postgraduate students, early career academics, artists, and members of cultural organisations and research institutions, this symposium offers a platform for sharing research techniques and discussing challenges experienced when research is put into practice. We hope to critique the value and impact of practicing research, and to ask what more can be done to disseminate the findings of underrepresented voices, modalities, and locales of research.

The NRN welcomes abstracts (maximum 250 words) for 20-minute presentations or creative responses that relate to the symposium’s overarching theme. Additionally, we invite abstracts for 5-minute provocations on the theme (also maximum 250 words). Please specify alongside your abstract which format your presentation will take.

Areas of interest might include (but are not limited to):

  • The practicalities of conducting and applying research in theatre, performance, and live art
  • Issues and opportunities relating to the study and documentation of ephemeral, performance-based events
  • Theatre historiography: the various research methods required for studying specific periods of theatre history, and the extent to which performance documentation has changed over time
  • The application of new or novel research methods to theatre and performance
  • Digital research methods, or working with audio-visual recordings
  • Working with people – e.g. rehearsal observation, collaborations, audience research
  • Working with ‘objects’ – e.g. archival research, working with texts
  • Defining ‘research’, and evidencing its impact beyond academia
  • The role of practice-based research (practice-as-research, practice-led research) within and beyond academia
  • Ethical issues relating to new and/or established research methodologies
  • The evolving relationship between practical and ‘traditional’ scholarship
  • The significance of scholarship within performance practice
  • Applying research findings in non-academic contexts
  • Sites of research: non-academic avenues for conducting and disseminating research

Abstract submissions should be directed to the NRN Committee at nrn@str.org.uk; the extended deadline for submissions is 23:59 GMT on Monday 21st May. Applicants will be notified of the results by Monday 21st May. For any further details, please do not hesitate to contact the NRN via email: nrn@str.org.uk.