Current Postgraduate Research Projects

The Department of Performance Studies supervises a wide range of dissertation projects in three degrees: PhD, MPhil and MA(Research). Current student projects are listed below, as well as contacts for the supervisors involved in each project.

All research students in the Department are encouraged to attend, and at least once a semester, to present to, the Department's weekly Research Seminar, held between 3pm and 5pm every Friday during semester. The seminars are open to all interested visitors; a program is available here.

Wendy Buswell

Terrance Crawford

Peta Downes

Rosie Findlay

Katrina Foster

Simon Heath

Adrian Johnson

Katherine Johnson

Carla Lever

Jason Marchant

Steve Matthews

Janet McGaw

Elisabetta Peruzzi

Trischelle Roberts

Jasmine Robertson

Rebekah Woodward-Hanna


Wendy Buswell

MA (Research)
Rugby Training From An Alternative Viewpoint
Supervisor: Paul Dwyer

Viewpoints, an actor training method developed by American director Anne Bogart, strives to sharpen the instincts of an actor and develop ensembles that work with fearlessness and cohesion. Rugby Union teams, like performance ensembles, want to achieve optimal performance and coaches are looking to develop players who have an immediate and uncensored response to on-field play. While Anne Bogart makes reference to the parallels between the objectives of sport and performance in her book "The Viewpoints" she and other Viewpoints’ practitioners have kept the training firmly within the rehearsal room. Through ethnographic and action research with a Sydney based rugby union football team this research explores the possibility of an Interdisciplinary dialogue between the training of actors and rugby players leading towards a proposition that an interlocution between actor and rugby union training may offer an alternative or addendum to conventional approaches to rugby union training.

Terrance Crawford

Doctor of Philosophy
Supervisor: Ian Maxwell

Peta Downes

Doctor of Philosophy
Artist or Creative Entrepreneur? The Impact of Creative Industries on Australian Theatre Practice.
Supervisors: and Amanda Card

This research aims to investigate how the concepts of ‘creative industries’ and ‘creative entrepreneur’ has impacted professional theatre practice in Australia at a grass-roots level, and question whether their introduction and sustainment within Australian policy and discourse has had a lasting effect on the cultural field. Specifically, this research will question whether the work of professional Australian theatre practitioners has been directly affected by federal and state government policies based on the creative industries concept, and what trends in theatre practice now emulate or intersect with the parameters of the creative entrepreneur concept. More importantly, this research will attempt to understand if and how these two concepts have altered the way in which professional Australian theatre practitioners perceive, create and deliver their work.

Rosie Findlay

Doctor of Philosophy
O HAI GUYZ: Between style bloggers, their readers and modern fashion
Supervisors: Ian Maxwell and

I am conducting a study of personal style blogs, a sub-genre of fashion blogging concerned with the personal style and interest in fashion of individual bloggers. By drawing on a range of methodological approaches (including participant observation, critical analysis and interviews) this project aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the practice and to tease apart what it means for those who engage in it (style bloggers and their readers.) Some of the overarching themes of my work are the performance of identity, the convergence of space and place on digital realms, the affectivity of digital readership, and the blur-between public and private being enacted on these sites of performed selfhood. I also closely examine the kind of fashion communication published on style blogs and analyse the response of the fashion media and industry to the emergence of these 'amateur' and authoritative voices.

Teaching
2012 and 2013 PRFM2601 Being There: Theories of Performance; PRFM 2602 Performance: Production & Interpretation

Publications
'At one remove from reality: Style bloggers and outfit posts', The Australasian Journal of Cultural Studies, Vol. 1, No. 2, November 2011
'"The best way I knew- through fashion": On Personal Style Bloggers and Self-Expression', Fashion International 5 e-book (forthcoming)
'The Short, Passionate and Close-Knit History of Personal Style Blogs', Fashion Theory: A Journal of Dress, Body and Culture (forthcoming)

Conferencces
'At One Remove From Reality: Style Bloggers and Outfit Posts' presented at POPCAANZ 2011 (Auckland, NZ)
'From her bedroom to her style blog: girls, self-actualisation and style blogging' presented at Console-ing Passions 2011 (Adelaide, AUS)
'"The best way I knew- through fashion": On Personal Style Bloggers and Self-Expression' presented at Fashion International 5 2013 (Oxford, UK)

Blog
Fashademic

Katrina Foster

Doctor of Arts
Losing Mona Brand (and finding her again.): an examination of Mona Brand’s life, work and legacy

Supervisor: Laura Ginters

Mona Brand called her autobiography, Enough Blue Sky: An Autobiography of Mona Brand an Unknown Well Known Playwright. John McCallum describes her as: 'one of the most successful and unfairly neglected of all 20th century Australian playwrights.'

My interest in Mona Brand was ignited when researching issues of gender disparity in Australian theatre. I discovered that Brand was perhaps the most internationally successful playwright Australia has produced. Her work was well known in Europe but virtually ignored here. She was also prolific, having written over thirty plays, most of which reflected her deep interest in politics, indigenous affairs and women's rights. It seemed extraordinary to me that her work has received such little recognition in Australia and that she has no real place in Australian theatrical history. I was also struck by how far we have come in certain areas, in recognising and developing new work but in other areas, we are still fighting the same fights. In my proposed thesis, I would like to examine Brand's place in Australian theatre, by studying her life, politics and work, all of which are inseparable.

Teaching
Currently teaching Fictional Forms at UTS

Simon Heath

Doctor of Arts
The Creative Arts Collaborative Learning Program
Supervisors:

The Creative Arts Collaborative Learning Program is a research project designed to answer whether or not we are able to create a model that assists the collaborative endeavour of individuals in large, diverse groups (20+) who are working together within technology supported, distance environments.

Adrian Johnson

Doctor of Philosophy
Ideology in Performance: A Semiotic Analysis of Cultural Mediation in Performance
Supervisors: Paul Dwyer and

Katherine Johnson

Doctor of Philosophy
Performing pasts for present purposes: bodily, performative traditions of history

Supervisor: and Laura Ginters

This work explores the potential of historical reenactment as a form of embodied learning, assessing the significance of kinaesthetic experience and performative engagement in educative processes. The project investigates the activities of a range of recreational historical societies and festivals to ascertain how the participants understand and connect with the past through participation in and performance of cultural activities from another time. It focuses on historic dances, crafts, rituals and martials arts, as well as everyday tasks such as cooking and the production of textiles – elements of the “private” and “feminine” sphere that are often overlooked in academic history. There is a lack of sufficient consideration of bodily, performative engagement with the past in both History and Performance disciplines. This study seeks to address this gap by utilising an ethnographic methodology to conduct research through participant-observation, in an effort to understand the motivations, objectives and experiences of the enthusiasts. An interdisciplinary approach will be utilised in this project to examine the possibilities of historical re-enactment as a form of public pedagogy complementary to an archival study of history.

Carla Lever

Carla Lever

Doctor of Philosophy
The Gold at the End of the Rainbow: Competing Narratives of Body, Identity and Difference in Contemporary South Africa
Supervisor: Ian Maxwell and

My research explores performative representations of, and attitudes towards, 'disabled' South African athletes - how sport rhetoric decodes (and simultaneously constructs) a concept of otherness. Through an analysis of the texts that influence how we see the contemporary South African sporting body, I am exploring the mediation between the personal and the political, between national and individual identity and the rhetoric of the abnormal versus the extra-ordinary.

Conference Papers
'National Bodies: Competing Narratives, Constructing Difference and the Paralympic Games.' Canadian Association of Theatre Research, during the 2013 Congress of the Humanities, University of Victoria, Canada.

'Academic Excellence and the Tutorial Programme' at the 'Celebrating Teaching and Learning' Conference of the Independent Institute of Education, Cape Town, South Africa, 2008.

Publications
'Body Play: Small Thoughts on a Growing South African Physical Theatre Tradition' in Seasons: Journal of International Women Playwrights, May 2011.

'Paving the Way: Academic Excellence and the ACN101 Tutorial Programme at Varsity College Rondebosch' in The Journal of Independent Teaching and Learning Volume 4, June 2009.

'Re-embodying the (W)hole: 'The Vagina Monologues' and the Conception of Universal Womanhood' in The Journal of American, British and Canadian Studies, November 2008.

Jason Marchant

Doctor of Philosophy
Performance Practices and the Phenomena of Performing while Dancing
Supervisors: Amanda Card and Ian Maxwell

The aim of this research is to interrogate the dancer’s experience of doing while performing through research of practitioners who have developed dance practices that do not fit within traditional rehearsal or training paradigms. I hope to answer such questions as: 'How do dancers know what their performing is and how do they negotiate this phenomena of performing while dancing?'

Steve Matthews

DArts
Performing Your Life: an investigation of the practice of solo autobiographical performance in Australia.
Supervisor:

This research project is an autoethnographic study consisting of the production of a performance work, based on the lived experience of the researcher and a thesis. The thesis examines the research question: How does a performer investigate his /her own life through performing it? Further questions are posed in respect to the way life events and stories (re) create our sense of self/selves and identity. Why create a solo show based on one’s own lived experience? What are the defining moments and themes in the performer’s life, which shape the performer as well as the performance? What factors determine the creative choices and the performance style of the performer? The research documents and reflects on the practice-led research within a contextual inquiry into solo autobiographical performance. It identifies distinctions between the researcher’s own practice with those of other practitioners within this genre and locates it within current theoretical literature and practice in the field of autobiographical performance, autoethnography, performance studies and practice-led research.

Janet McGaw

Doctor of Philosophy
Country Awakening: Amateur theatre in New South Wales regional communities 1945-1970
Supervisors: Laura Ginters and Amanda Card

I am examining amateur theatre in New South Wales regional communities between 1945 and 1970, a period of unprecedented growth, with the proliferation of new dramatic societies, the establishment of playreading groups, drama festivals and playwriting competitions, the introduction of training schools in country areas, and the opening of community theatres. I am interested in why this development occurred at this particular time and what the key influences were. I will be conducting three case studies as part of my research.

Micaela Nathan

Doctor of Philosophy
Submitted, awaiting examination
Supervisor: Ian Maxwell

Elisabetta Peruzzi

Doctor of Philosophy
Kangarusskies: behind the revolution. Ballet technique and approaches to acting among Ballets Russes émigrés in Australia

Supervisor: Amanda Card
Associate Supervisor: Laura Ginters

Much former scholarship has explored the history of the Ballets Russes and the impact of these companies on the development of Australian ballet. But the influence of Russian Imperial ballet technique and approaches to acting has received less attention. Concentrating on the work of Ballets Russes visitors, particularly on those who remained in Australia to form local companies, this thesis investigates the influence of the Russian techniques on these dancers, choreographers and their audiences, speculating on the source of their impact before their styles were superseded by what some commenters have called a more ‘clinical’ British ballet technique.

Trischelle Roberts

MA (Research)
Empty space' projects and urban revitalisation in Newcastle, New South Wales
Supervisors: Paul Dwyer and Ian Maxwell

This research examines how artists working as part of ‘empty space’ projects – specifically, Renew Newcastle – position themselves within the intersection of interests (involving urban planners and local government, property owners and funding bodies) that allows these urban renewal projects to take place. Are artists simply swept away or worn down by the expectations and limitations of other involved parties, or are they able to utilise this common ground for their own purposes? What worlds do artists create in these 'empty' spaces and how do they negotiate the territory of this common ground in their everyday, emplaced labour?

Publications
'Renewal Through Art', http://www.dasplatforms.com/das_five_cent/renewal-through-art/

Blog
http://trischelleroberts.tumblr.com

Jasmine Robertson

MA (Research)
Drawing us in: The Australian Experience of Butoh
Supervisor: Amanda Card

The project aims to investigate, through historical research and interviews with practitioners, why Australian dancers have, and continue to be, attracted to butoh.

Rebekah Woodward-Hanna

Rebekah Woodward-Hanna

Master of Philosophy
Aesthetics, Affect and Applied Theatre; Developing Vanuatu with Wan Smolbag's 'Big Plays'
Supervisor: Paul Dwyer and Laura Ginters

Applied Theatre projects tend to focus on impact and outcome. Consequently, such projects lean towards process-oriented, participatory forms of theatre and avoid more-or-less conventional, pre-scripted, narrative theatre. In the last seven years a group of Applied Theatre scholars and practitioners, led by James Thompson, have re-introduced the importance of aesthetics and affective practice in the field. Inspired by this re-introduction, I travelled to Port Vila, Vanuatu to observe the rehearsals and performances of the 'big play' Zero Balans, performed by NGO Wan Smolbag Theatre and funded by AusAid and NZAid. The pre-scripted, two-hour play aimed for a good quality set and acting, was incredibly successful and engaging for its audiences and reflected the contemporary, Port Vila community.
Through Zero Balans, this thesis will contribute to the existing dialogue on aesthetics, affect and efficacy. It will expand on the field’s narrow definition of participation and argue for the acceptance of pre-scripted, narrative theatre only if it reflects and involves the local community and culture.

Conference Papers
2011.'Reaching Their Own; Making Western Theatre 'Local' in Vanuatu', ADSA Conference, Monash University, Melbourne.
2013. 'Is it Culturally Appropriate? Cultural Appropriation of Conventional Western Theatre in Vanuatu', ADSA Conference, Flinders University, Adelaide.

Publications
The above 2013 paper was the joint winner of the Veronica Kelly prize for Best Postgraduate Paper at the ADSA conference and will be published in a 2014 edition of Australian Drama Studies.

Past Student Research Projects

A PDF of past student research projects can be found here.