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Research grant to fund cutting-edge Barbican Centre and V&A studies

Posted on 11/06/2012

An item from the Roy Waters Collection

The impact of the private collector and the relationship between artistic excellence and community engagement will be investigated through two AHRC funded PhDs.

The Department of Drama and Theatre is to collaborate with the Barbican Centre and the V&A on two new separate PhD studies following a successful Arts and Humanities Research Council grant application.

Private Passions, Public Archive: Approaches to the private collector and the private collection in public theatre archives will be supervised by Dr Gilli Bush-Bailey, in collaboration with the V &A’s curator Dr Kate Dorney. It will examine the work of the private collector and the place of their collection in theatre and performance archives. It is inspired by the College’s recent acquisition of the Roy Waters' theatre collection which now significantly extends our theatre and performance holdings.

Dr Bush-Bailey said: “This AHRC funding opens up the opportunity for original research into how archives are influenced by personal interests. The V&A archives are primarily from the collections donated by Gabrielle Enthoven and Royal Holloway has the Roy Waters Collection. We know that Roy Waters had particular interests in Oscar Wilde and juvenile theatre and his collection reflects this. The AHRC funding will enable a PhD student to delve into how a private collector can influence archives and how this is understood.”

The Barbican: Creative Learning, Participation and Artistic Innovation will be supervised by Professor Helen Nicholson in collaboration with the Barbican Centre, in the City of London. The Barbican is located in close proximity to the wealthiest businesses in the world and some of the poorest, most culturally diverse communities in the country. Through its artistic programme the Barbican attracts world-leading artists and international audiences, and the research will investigate the relationship between artistic excellence and community engagement.

Professor Nicholson explained: “Contemporary artists are developing new forms of practice that is less place-based and less conventional. Programmes are being designed to engage people so they are no longer just an audience watching and they are invited to interact blurring the boundaries between producer and audience. This study will analyse the role of arts education and creative learning in connecting urban communities and the practices that are being developed.”

The Department of Drama and Theatre is now accepting applications for each PhD project for the 2012/13 academic year. Enquiries about the projects and for details on how to apply, contact Dr Bush-Bailey and Professor Nicholson.   



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