New research initiatives in the School of the Arts
Submitted by Professor Janet Wilson
In 2012, the School of the Arts has hosted a range of innovative lectures and events as well as developing and launching a number of exciting interdisciplinary research groups. The Annual Postgraduate Conference (11th-14th September 2012) provided a welcome review of the range and vibrancy of doctoral projects within the School as well as featuring a keynote address by Performing Arts scholar at Brazil’s University of Bahia, Claudio Cajaiba.
Echoing the interdisciplinary ethos of SOTA, themes of place and space took centre stage at ‘The Personal is Political’ conference (6th October 2012), with special guest speaker Jennifer Bavidge (Cambridge University) delivering an inventive presentation which bridged literary studies and human geography.
2012 also witnessed key developments in the new formation and further evolution of research clusters within SOTA, attesting to the School’s ongoing interest in contemporary narrative theory as well as the global research horizons of the Division of Media, English and Culture. The Working Group for Interdisciplinary Research in Trauma, Narrative and Performance was inaugurated in July 2012 with the aim of exploring the interface between Trauma Studies, Literary Studies and Theatre Studies. Since its launch the members of this group have been research active with Dr Sonya Andermahr presenting conference papers at the University of Lincoln and Istanbul’s Bogazici University; Dr Patrick Duggan publishing his monograph, Trauma-Tragedy: Symptoms of Contemporary Performance (Manchester University Press, 2012); Professor Janet Wilson researching the role of trauma in the life and works of Katherine Mansfield; Dr Larissa Allwork participating in a discussion group on Holocaust memorialisation at the Lithuanian Embassy in London; and PhD student Aylwyn Walsh continuing her fieldwork at Her Majesty’s Prison, Drake Hall resulting in the publication of articles in Total Theatre Magazine and the Journal of Applied Arts and Health.
Finally, the work of the Postcolonial Visual Culture and Performance cluster has strengthened with new postgraduate student, Sarah Knor joining in September 2012. Equally, during a Postcolonialism, Visual Culture and Performance Symposium in May 2012, SOTA welcomed Karthika Naїr and Slam poet Polarbear to discuss their innovative and prestigious Laurence Olivier award winning dance production, Desh. Papers were also given by Dominic Alessio, Patrick Williams and Northampton University student, Anna Maria Everding while the day also included a presentation by performance artists, Dr Mark James Hamilton and Rosanna Raymond. The work of this research cluster remains vital with a major bid to the Leverhulme Trust to be submitted and a special guest seminar on 22nd November 2012 to be given by University of Kent postcolonial spatial theory specialist, Dr Norbert Bugeja.
For more information on these developments, please see the research cluster and conference reports on TUNDRA: