James Woolley
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What I do:
PhD student in the Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies at Aberystwyth University.

Research project:
Queer[y]ing the Archive: Unveiling the Invisible in Performance Art Documentation
Supervisors: Professor Richard Gough and Dr. Stephen Greer


This practice-as-research PhD situates itself between the discourses of live art theory, queer theory, and archive theory. The notion of documenting performance has been a site of wide debate in the performance field, and as a result, these documentations have entered into material and digital performance archives.

This PhD will look at constructions of ‘performativity’ and apply them to queer identities, documentations and archives. Through archival theory, which stipulates that the material that one is looking at must relate to a ‘whole’, James will interrogate the representational qualities of the material deposited by specific artists whose work is located in queer and live art trajectories. This research will query notions of a multi-faceted subjectivity constituted by the archivist, the artist, and the one encountering the material. It will explore notions of revelation through the readability of material deposited in the archive, and question the canonisation of artists whose work is accessed in the archive. This project is a continuation of James’s research interests concerning performance art, documentation debates, and performative scenographic sites.

This research will result in a 60,000 word thesis, as well as a durational performance installation archive, and a performed essay.

James received a Vice Chancellor Scholarship to conduct his research, and devotes some of his time to the collections and resource centre of The Centre for Performance Research.

James can be contacted on jmw09@aber.ac.uk

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