As a senior lecturer in theatre and performance studies in the School of the Arts and Media at UNSW, my background in performance enables me to explore vital connections between teaching, research and writing, and creativity.
When I am researching, I am using the principles of my discipline – seeing the social and cultural world ‘as’ performance – to understand how the world works, how it transforms and where it might need to change next. This form of thinking has led me to win prestigious prizes for my interventions in diverse cultural and academic fields, such as memory studies and childhood studies.
My book, Performing Feeling in Cultures of Memory explores the roles of emotion and feeling in public cultures of memory by analysing the ways that archives and memorials encourage new generations to experience the past. It employs a range of methodologies, including archival research undertaken as part of a State Library of NSW Fellowship, which was awarded to write a semi-fictionalised account of my family’s history of migration in the context of national narratives of survival. I am now reworking this material into a children’s book.
My current research project, Being and Becoming a Viral Child, investigates how today’s young people use screen-based media to give language, voice and vision to conceptions of their own agency. Children and young people are involved in performing complex meanings about childhood. My research interrogates what it means to assume the rhetorical position of acting ‘like’ a child and has helped me to understand the vital role young people have played in shaping new media ecologies during COVID19.
Whether I am teaching, researching, or working on my own fiction writing, I am passionate about the role of creativity in underpinning all models of education, and in advocating for its vitality in building a resilient and dynamic future for our society.
In my teaching, I help students to develop creative approaches to solving real-world problems by experimenting with non-traditional methods of classroom delivery. In “Solo 2020” students developed astounding responses to the challenge of making “digitally live” performance works. More broadly, I teach creative practice, communication and presentation skills, cultural and critical theory and theatre and performance. I supervise Honours and postgraduate students working in any of these areas or more – recent Honours projects have included creative practice research on digital intimacy, an industry analysis of dramaturgy in Australian theatre, and ethnographies of spectatorship in video gaming.
I also have a history of engagement with the arts industry. My research for Regional Arts NSW developed impact statistics on the economic and social value of the arts to regional communities. My reviews for RealTime Magazine and The Conversation develop conversations with a wider public about the significance of theatre and performance. And my background as a dramaturg on youth performance projects with PACT Youth Theatre and a variety of projects with national artists has given me the privilege of working with the artists whose work aims to change the world.