PA6006 - Performance Research

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What will I learn on this module?

This module is designed to enable you to undertake a piece of independent research related to performing arts practice. In doing so, you will build on the knowledge you have acquired in your first two years of study, including your broad base of understanding related to performance practices as well as the analytical skills you have developed on modules such as Analysing Drama and Performance. You will learn about how to select and develop your own research questions, and you will look at some different methodologies for pursuing different kinds of research topics. Staff will share their own research interests and practices with you, and will open up potential areas of exploration for you. We will also be working with you to help open up some important critical and academic texts which present new research and ways of thinking about these areas of performance. Throughout the classes you will asked to contribute ideas, discuss, watch and respond to a range of stimuli presented to you by lecturers.
You are then given an opportunity to put these ideas into practice in your own terms as you work towards the final submission. This will consist of a 4,000 word essay which can either be an independently generated research question which you devise under supervision from a tutor, or you may wish to write a response to any one of a range of set essay questions which the staff team will set, and whose themes will arise from the lecture series.

How will I learn on this module?

In this lecture/seminar based module, you will learn through the input of lecturers who will talk you through various research themes, methodologies and texts, as well as through ongoing discussions in the classes; lectures will typically be very much focussed around looking at examples of work and subjecting these examples to open discussion, and then these broader discussions are further taken up in seminars. You will also be directed towards a number of key texts and reference points and hence a lot of your learning on this module will take place as independent study, reading and research. As the module progresses in Semester 2, you will be allocated a tutor to supervise your developing research project, and this supervision will help you to direct your research activities, shape your key research questions and concerns The use of the e-learning portal (Blackboard) will be a key feature of the module; here you will find regularly updated course materials and reading s which will be updated regularly throughout the year.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Your learning is supported in a number of ways throughout the module. The classes themselves are structured in a way which is responsive to your needs; lecturers will explore ideas with you and ask you to affirm your understanding of them, and issues raised in lectures will be further discussed with you in seminars. In the second semester, you will be allocated a supervision tutor who will directly support you to develop your research project. Tutorials will be arranged with you outside of scheduled lectures and seminars, and you will also be encouraged to send your supervisor work in progress and to make appointments during office-hours. This is an independent study module, so the main form of support we offer you is guided discussion and ongoing dialogue about your work.

Information and resources will be available to you on Blackboard and the ‘Reading List’ contains links to websites and online video material which can help you develop appropriate knowledge and understanding.

Written assessment feedback will be provided within 20 working days of summative assignment submission. Access to library facilities is available 24-7 all year round.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. Be able to demonstrate a broad understanding of a range of concepts relevant to the analysis of performance.
2. Be able to show a broad awareness of the differences between key theatrical strategies in terms of aesthetics and politics.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
3. Demonstrate a developing ability to analyse and critique theatre practice.
4. Demonstrate an ability to construct reasoned arguments about theatre both in oral and written form.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
5. Demonstrate a readiness to engage in the ethics and politics of cultural representation

How will I be assessed?


Formative feedback is woven into the module via ongoing class discussions. In classes there will be opportunities to respond, to question and to contribute to discussion, and lecturers will be responding to student contributions, and this is a form of ongoing formative feedback. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Essay (4,000 words). (100%)
This essay asks you to articulate and sustain an argument in response to a set question which arises directly from the lecture and seminar classes.
(1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Summative Feedback;
All summative assignments will receive written feedback on standard feedback sheets within 20 working days of submission.





Module abstract

What are the political and ethical choices made when critiquing performance? How do you place yourself within these debates and make theoretical enquiry relevant to your own discipline? This module will address the following topics:
l Schools of thought in contemporary Performance Research
l Ethnography; historiography; theoretical approaches
l Advanced research skills: using the Internet; referencing and bibliographic skills
l Practice-as-research: collaboration, improvisation, experimentation
l The relationship between theory and practice
l Modes of knowledge and the role of writing

Course info

UCAS Code W400

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Arts

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2020

Fee Information

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