Performing local places
(UnfamiliarEyes Phase 1: 2016-2017)
This webpage offers insights into an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded project entitled ‘Performing Place: Working with local councils to reach new communities and facilitate wellbeing in living environments.’ Abbreviated to Performing Local Places, the grant was awarded to Professor Sally Mackey, The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London, 2016-2017 (Award number: AH/N007816/1).
This first phase of UnfamiliarEyes, Performing Local Places worked specifically with local councils, responding to agendas they set. Research methodology was based in the early suggestion that performing place practices would be founded in some or all of the following experimental methods and, together with partners, practices were selected - very broadly - from these categories:
- Re-experiences: repeated ‘low-level’ performance-based activities in everyday settings;
- Subversions: improvisations in different locations that subvert the normal use of those locations;
- Scapes: framing everyday sites through sound, object, crafts or other methods to create an alternative representation of location;
- Markings: activities that focus on very precise detail of places and ‘home’;
- Narratives: unusual, imaginary narratives focussed on place and followed throughout a timespan with participants.
In Camden, participants comprised adults currently living with a mental illness in 24-hour supported living residencies run by the St Mungo’s Housing Association. The remit for the 17 arts work sessions was to encourage the residents to feel at ease in and around their ‘place’;
In Oldham, after several months of development, a week-long participatory, interactive performance narrative took place in one neighbourhood (Clarksfield) experiencing population change, with longer-established residents and new migrants.
Three documents represent and evaluate the follow-on project and can be accessed here. The main document is the first:
- Performing Local Places - overview document including extracts from the following two documents.
The film below is a summary of the two final symposia, in London and Oldham, March 2017.
If you do use this website resource, please just let Sally Mackey know by email - so that we can have a sense of how the work is being used.
Lead investigator: Sally Mackey, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London.
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