Director of Studies: Dr Lee Miller
Other members of the proposed supervisory team: Professor Angelo Cangelosi
Professional partner: Pipeline Theatre. Cornwall
Project Details:
With the emergence of the non-human performer (used to great effect in Spillikin, Pipeline Theatre 2015) interrupting the concept of ‘liveness’ in performance, questions begin to emerge about the capacity for affective exchange between audience and performer. Non-human performers such as puppets have been deployed in performance for centuries. Automata have a similarly long history, albeit one less wedded to a theatrical context. Although these non-human players are able to to ‘perform’ autonomy, in both cases these performances of self-hood are illusory. Recent developments in robotic technology have allowed for responsive feedback to inform unfolding situations; a process that might be understood as improvisatory. Planned partners will allow for this project to include an international focus, exploring the potential for cross-cultural exchange and impact.
This PhD will provide those interested in exploring how recent theoretical developments around object oriented ontologies, and the shift towards a context of the post-human, an opportunity to research how the interface between the non-human performer and the audience might open up dialogues about affect and exchange. This project will interrogate the capacity for affective exchange, and consider the role of the non-human performer in the generation of empathetic states in performance practice. Working with professional performance makers experienced in negotiating the human / non-human interface, and with support from Plymouth University’s Centre for Robotics and Neural Systems (CRNS), applicants should have a good undergraduate degree, and a relevant postgraduate degree, or appropriate industry experience.
The studentship begins in October 2017. Successful candidates should expect to develop their own specific research topic within the broader aims of this project.
We are looking for applicants who demonstrate:
o An understanding of the requirements of a PhD project
o Imagination and resilient approaches to research process
o Proven skill-sets, or a demonstrable ability to acquire those skills necessary to bring a complex project to successful completion
o An ability to engage in collaborative processes
For an informal discussion about the studentship, please email