About the Hub

The Performance Research Cluster is a world leading group of artist/academics. We are located across departments and disciplines – representing staff and students from the Birmingham Institute of Creative Arts and Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. Work produced by cluster members is diverse, encompassing photography, illustration, painting, film making, animation, written work, musical composition, play making and choreography – acknowledging the 21st century breakdown of traditional disciplinary silos, as old divisions are compromised and transgressed and new and exciting forms emerge. These performances are shared internationally in concert halls, on television and radio and online.

musicians on a stage

Despite the wide range of realisations, the work all shares an exegetic approach – looking carefully at the creative process within its intellectual/historical/philosophical/ethical and practical contexts. Crucially the group sees these ideas as the basis and launchpad for future creative explorations. This is an interchange, a yantra, an osmosis, each informing the other, cycling. This reflexive model is a key aspect of the cluster’s approach. Members explore and share these insights through books, articles, conference presentations, symposiums, residencies and visiting professorships, and are very interested in novel methods of dissemination, using recent and innovative technologies.

The Performance Research Hub was formalised in 2017. We recognise a disciplinary distinction between research about performance, and research in and through performance (Borgdorff, 2012), typified by the twin burgeoning fields of Performance Studies (including Historical Performance Practice) and Artistic Research (Performance-led Research), respectively. Both fields are reflected within the activities of the Hub, which also provides a means of connecting practitioner-researchers with the broader research community.

Additionally, the Hub brings together professional practitioners across Music, Theatre, Cinema, Visual Arts and Design to address research questions in interdisciplinary performing arts, embracing both creative practices and writing about performance implicit in different disciplines. Understanding the complexities of 21st-century interdisciplinary collaborations, the Hub aims to synergise various fields – digital, spatial, physical – in creating new, experimental artistic expressions and audience experiences.

Performance research has the potential to create insights that are not possible by theoretical means alone. Performance is also a natural conduit for sharing insights generated through research, often with high potential for impact. But one the challenges of practice-led research, and therefore one of the Hub’s key objectives, is to develop and share best practice in the documentation and articulation of the research questions, methods and processes that underpin such activity.

See Performance Research Hub Royal Birmingham Conservatoire for full staff and research student listings in Music and Performing Arts.