Earthing the Laboratory: Speculations for Doctoral Training

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For all the discussion of training in theatre and performance studies, relatively little attention has been paid to the ways in which future researchers are trained. In this essay I begin from the premise that, for performance studies, the arena of training most crucial to theorize and transform is that of the doctorate. This essay reconsiders the form and structure of PhD programmes in theatre and performance from the perspective of artistic research and its decolonial potential. What are we training in these programmes? How might the form of the PhD programme respond to the intensifying neoliberalization of academia, the increasing digital networking of the globe and the growing pressure of liberal and radical movements for social and ecological justice? What possibilities exist for reimagining the doctoral programme as a utopian or heterotopian space? Could the doctorate itself become a leverage point from which to shift the discipline of theatre and performance studies, the practice of the humanities, and even the university itself as a social-epistemic institution? Drawing on contemporary practice research debates, social epistemology, and indigenous theories of grounded normativity, it argues that we have not yet begun to imagine what an artistic doctorate could be.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-41
Number of pages9
JournalPerformance Research
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2021


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