Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Performance and Scientific Perspectives

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Theatre Studies

DESCRIPTION The study-unit gives students the opportunity to research a specific topic that involves performance and science. It seeks an inclusive understanding of both Performance and Science. Performance includes theatre plays, dance, performance/live art, live music performance, public lectures, interactive activities involving live performers (e.g. museum tours), comedy, participatory and applied theatre practices. Science includes the fields of study generally associated with the term, e.g. physics, medicine, engineering, digital.

The topic will be chosen in consultation with the coordinating lecturer. Students will either (1) participate in an existing performance-science project, or (2) embark on an individual inter/cross-disciplinary performance-science investigation. In both cases, students will write an initial research proposal that includes: title of research project, aims and objectives, methodologies involved, a bibliography, programme of work, and tentative results/conclusions. The unit is conducted on an individual basis, with students working largely on their own or, in the case of an existing project, in a supervised environment, without the need to attend formal lectures (unless specified and directed by the lecturer). Tutorials will be held to monitor the student’s development. In these tutorials, students will be expected to provide a short report on the current stage in their research. The first tutorial will consist of the initial research proposal. These reports will contribute to the final assessment. Due to its nature, this study-unit can only be taken after consultation with the coordinating lecturer.

Study-unit Aims:

The study-unit focuses on cross-disciplinary and interdisciplinary collaborations, processes, and practices that involve performance and science. The aim is to explore intersections and possibilities of overlap, development, and application, thereby extending the remit of the study and research of performance.

[The following note is for departmental use only: Cross-disciplinary collaborations between scientists and artists, instances of post-dramatic staged science, and challenges to entrenched beliefs about science and its past have generated scholarly and media attention. Science-engaged performance also enjoys rich historical traditions. Claims made about the artistic and cultural significance of the emerging science-performance relationship are many and varied. The study-unit seeks therefore to create an opportunity for students to be exposed to the nature and importance of such work.]

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Select, contextualise, and relate concepts and aspects from performance and specific scientific areas;
- Carry out research through fieldwork using the appropriate methodologies;
- Comprehend aspects of a specialised area of science;
- Demonstrate critical and comparative analytic skills, in written form, on the topic chosen.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Identify links and the application potential of performance-science practices;
- Conduct interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary observation and analysis;
- Demonstrate skills in planning and overseeing a research project/task that involves disciplines from the arts and the sciences.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the study-unit, students will be asked to compile a reading list as part of their research in consultation with the coordinating lecturer.

Indicative titles:

- R. Blair, The Actor, Image, and Action: Acting and Cognitive Neuroscience (London: Routledge, 2008)
- R. Kemp, Embodied Acting: What Neuroscience Tells Us About Performance (London: Routledge, 2012)
- J. Pitches, Science and the Stanislavsky Tradition of Acting (London: Routledge, 2006)
- R. Schechner, Performance Studies: An Introduction (London: Routledge, 2002).

ADDITIONAL NOTES This study-unit can only be taken after consultation with the Theatre Studies Head of Department. Students are to send the confirmation email to the THS departmental secretary for record purposes.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Fieldwork, Independent Study & Tutorials

Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment Yes 100%


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It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.