Certainties and Perplexities at the Confluence of Performance Research (without hyphen, colon, ampersand or slash)

Last Supper

Richard Gough is Director of the Centre for Performance Research, General Editor of the journal Performance Research and was, at Falmouth University, Professor of Performance Research. As an artist/scholar he has spent a lifetime working at the intersections of these two words and has sustained an endeavour (through multi-faceted means) that integrates theory and practice, innovation and tradition. Through ‘Performance Research’ he attempts to inflect and extend Performance Studies and maintain a dynamic relationship to theatre. In this illustrated presentation he reflects on several modes of practice in directing, producing, curating and editing and through a variety of forms: conferences; journal issues; site-specific events; archives and edible installations/productions. He asks: ‘how does performance constitute research and how do we make that research legible as research’. In so doing he raises certainties and perplexities about artistic-led research and practice as research and aims to capture and illuminate the ambition of his research centre and journal:

Researching performance, anticipating tendencies, mapping practices, documenting processes, stimulating enquiry, performing research.

Gathering varied materials of artistic and theoretical research in the expanded field of performance, Performance Research resists disconnected, disembodied and disinterested forms of scholarship. Our emphasis on contemporary performance arts within changing cultures and technologies is reflected in the interdisciplinary vision and international scope of the journal. Performance Research continues to combine writings and works for the page in an interplay of analysis, anecdote, polemic and criticism—interweaving the oblique with the conflicting, the pivotal with the resistant and the eclectic with the indispensable.