PARIP Practice as Research in Performance
is a five-year project led by Professor Baz Kershaw
and the Department of Drama: Theatre, Film, Television at the University
of Bristol. It is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Board.
Baz Kershaw, Project Director
Angela Piccini, Postdoctoral Research Associate (F/T)
Caroline Rye, Postdoctoral Research Associate (P/T)
The PARIP Management Group comprises Baz Kershaw, Angela Piccini, Caroline Rye, Mark Sinfield and Janet Thumim (Head of Department).
The PARIP Advisory Group comprises the Management Group plus John Adams and Martin White of University of Bristol and Christopher Bannerman (rescen, University of Middlesex), John Ellis (Media Arts Centre, UL Royal Holloway), Carol Lorac (Media Arts Centre, UL Royal Holloway), Robin Nelson (Department of Contemporary Arts, Manchester Metropolitan University), Barry Smith (Department of Visual and Performing Arts, The Nottingham Trent University), and Phillip Zarrilli (Department of Drama, The University Of Exeter).
The project will span five years, between November 2000 and August 2005.
as research (PAR) and practice-based research (PBR)
'research through practice', 'research by practice', 'performance as
are contested terms that
resist close definition. Practice as research and practice-based research
are frequently used interchangeably to suggest a relationship of research
between theory and practice.
speaking, practice as research is an attempt to see and understand performance
media practices and processes as arenas in which knowledges might be
opened. The institutional acceptance of practice as research in the
higher education sector acknowledges fundamental epistemological issues
that can only be addressed in and through theatre, dance, film, TV and
Documentation is a term that requires unpacking. Baz Kershaw has sought to differentiate documentation in terms of 'integral' and 'external' documentation.
acknowledges that all 'translations' of practice are mediated, in that
to mediate is to act as a medium that transfers something from one place
to another, to be between two stages, ideas, times or things.
PARIP arose from a specific history of debates surrounding the institutional inclusion of practice AS research within academic research agendas. The context is historically one of funding and its links to assessment of the tertiary education sector. There is also the acknowledgement that certain epistemological issues can only be addressed in and through practice, rather than through traditional critical writing based research.
IS PARIP'S REMIT?
pursuit of practice as research has become increasingly important during
the past ten years to the research cultures of the performing arts and
related disciplines involving performance media as the contribution
of the arts and cultural industries to national health and prosperity
has climbed up the political agenda. A growing numbers of performing
arts/media departments in HE are now offering higher degrees which place
practice at the heart of their research programmes. The main professional
association representing drama, theatre and performance in HE, SCUDD,
in 1994 established a working party to draw up guidelines on practice
as research, and in the 1996 RAE the Drama, Dance and Performing Arts
panel (UoA66) for the first time included it as an area of research
fully equivalent to traditional approaches. The debates around the nature
of that 'equivalence' subsequently have grown in intensity
proposal is for a five-year departmental project led by Baz Kershaw
and Janet Thumim (departmental Head), with one FT and one PT Research
Associates, and occasional fee-paid technical/computing support staff.
The group, with support from departmental academic, production, technical,
administrative and secretarial staff, will coordinate the development
and mutual reinforcement of the three strands of project activity. An
inter-institutional steering group of senior researchers, chosen for
their experience in contrasting types of practice as research, advises
the department on the progress of the project as a whole.
field research will produce a complete survey of practice as research
in UK HEIs. This will lead to a national symposium on the findings aimed
to refine and enhance their organization/presentation for use by the
research communities (completed November 2001); detailed multi-media
case studies of selected 'representative' practices from a range of
HEIs, aimed to investigate the most effective approaches to documentation/dissemination;
a website (initial stages on-line in November 2001) will broadcast the
database and case studies, promoting debate in preparation for a national
conference on the future of practice as research (to take place 11-14
September 2003); a survey of selected European HEIs will extend the
database and case studies, and lead to a European/international conference
on cross-cultural approached to practice as research.
practical research is a series of creative projects based mainly in
Bristol in key areas of concern to practice as research, which will
provide a platform for investigation into advanced uses of new digital
technologies for the documentation and dissemination of processes and
outcomes. The projects will focus on fields of concern already well
developed by practitioner-researchers, by engaging with key issues of
historiography. Likely projects include: historical theatre reconstruction,
multi-media performance, cross-cultural dance, community-based documentary
video. Initially this research will focus on innovative technical applications
of video-based digital recording for simultaneous multi-viewpoint documentation.
Bristol already has much of the equipment needed for such a system.
The aim will be to create a digital documentation system for PARIP that
will a)produce high quality multi-media, multi-stream material and b)
be available for use as a high-quality 'add-on' in HEIs. Hence the initial
development of this system will take place in Bristol, but with the
intention that as the project develops it will be available to other
costs derive primarily from the salaries for the Research Associates,
though the documentation system produces a significant part of the budget.
The full-time RA will be responsible for the overall coordination of
all aspects of the project. It is envisioned that most of her time will
be spent working to conduct the field research and service the seminars,
conferences and on-line information sources with high-quality materials.
Hence, in Y1 most of her work will be office-based, but as the project
develops she will be involved in travel to coordinate work between HEIs.
The half-time RA will be responsible primarily for the coordination
of the practical research, in particular the development of the technical
resource and its uses. Hence, in Y1 and 2 the majority of her work will
be spent on technical coordination between departmental research and
production staff. Later in the project she will be involved in coordinating
and servicing the use of the system in other HEIs. She will also be
responsible for coordinating the work of fee-paid technical and computing
staff bought into the project.