• John Bull’s Other Ireland: Manchester-Irish Identities and a Generation of Performance

      Harrop, Peter; O'Sullivan, Brendan M. (University of Chester, 2017-05)
      This thesis provides an auto-ethnographically informed ‘making strange’ of the mise-en-scène of Irish working class domesticity in the North West of England as it was lived during the 1960s, 1970s and into the 1980s. The liminality of being a child of migrant parents is considered and the interstices of experience and identity in and of England and Ireland, Englishness and Irishness are explored. The first chapter of the thesis draws the reader into the initial frame of reference, the personal childhood ethnography that inspired this wider study, and considers Bhabha’s ‘shadow of the nation’ falling ‘on the condition of exile’ as one context for the development of individual identities. The second chapter examines the ways in which a performance studies approach provides a useful method for interrogating matters of place, personhood and citizenship whilst the third chapter introduces performance theory as a mechanism for exploring the ways in which quotidian and cultural performance have been harnessed as tools of negotiation. These are sometimes resistant, sometimes affirmative and sometimes celebratory acts in the construction of new identities. Ongoing performances reveal the embodied histories of individual performers, shaped in part by culture and memory, masking and unmasking to both construct and reveal layered identities. The fourth chapter, provides the most obvious example of traditional fieldwork, and draws on interview extracts to provide key insights into aspects of the diasporic context, identifying and analyzing the many rehearsal and performance opportunities provided by growing up in Irish households in England, where identities were initially formed, informed, and performed. Bridging the distinction between autoethnography, performance ethnography and the ethnography of performance, this chapter engages in discussion with a range of contributors defamiliarising the domestic mise-en-scène whilst simultaneously recognizing a commonality of experience. These interviews are themselves a celebration of Irish identity performance and form an important bridge between the theoretical framework explored in the opening chapters and the subsequent case studies. The final section of the thesis searches out a mirroring of these processes in the construction of theatrical and mediatised performance – providing opportunities to both utilize and observe performance ethnography and the ethnography of performance. It is suggested that Terry Christian provides an affirmative yet angry celebration in a complex performed response to a complex mise-en-scène. A new reading of Steve Coogan’s work then suggests three modes of performance: first, Coogan the outsider satirises British mores; second, Coogan plays sophisticated games of revealing and masking multiple versions of self; third, a searching and ultimately serious engagement with his engagement with Ireland. The application of a performance theory perspective, in the context of this fraction of the Irish diaspora, reveals a playful and generous spirited approach to complex and serious matters of identity and place in the world – to the ways in which lives are led and meanings made through and for the generation of performance.
    • From dance cultures to dance ecology: a study of developing connections across dance organisations in Edinburgh and North West England, 2000 to 2016

      Harrop, Peter; Pattie, David; Jamieson, Evelyn (University of Chester, 2016-12-15)
      The first part of this thesis provides an autobiographical reflection and three contextualising histories to illustrate the increasing codification of late twentieth century UK contemporary dance into discrete cultures. These are professional contemporary dance and professional performance, dance participation and communitarian intervention, and dance as subject for study and training. The central section of the thesis examines post-millennial reports and papers by which government, executives and public sector arts organisations in both England and Scotland have sought to construct and steer dance policy toward greater collaborative connections on financial and ideological grounds. This is contrasted with a theoretical consideration of collaboration drawing on a range of academic approaches to consider the realities and ideals of creative and artistic collaboration and organisational collaboration. Finally, the thesis draws together these historical, theoretical and policy driven considerations in a series of six case studies to establish the network of connections. Two professional contemporary artists and companies, two community dance organisations and two education departments (one of each from Edinburgh, Scotland and one of each from the North West of England) are scrutinised to assess the challenges, tensions and opportunities in reconciling policy driven collaboration with artistic integrity.
    • The artist's book: Making as embodied knowledge of practice and the self

      Adams, Jeff; Waite, Julian; Kealy-Morris, Elizabeth (University of Chester, 2016-09)
      The initial research questions for this practice-based doctoral research project was to ask, "Is it possible to develop a more confident, self-conscious creative voice able to articulate one's identity more clearly through the making of handmade artefacts?"; this thesis applies the methodologies of autoethnography and pedagogy to consider an answer. My original contribution to knowledge through this enquiry is the identification of the ways in which the exploration of identity through autoethnographic, creative and pedagogic methods encourages an expanded field of self-knowledge, self-confidence and sense of creative self.
    • The experience and perception of duration in three contemporary performances

      Waite, Julian; Harrop, Peter; Layton, James R. (University of Chester, 2016-04)
      I argue in this thesis that qualitative duration (viewed in opposition to the construct of quantitative clock-time) can be experienced through performance encounters that challenge smooth consumption. In a socially accelerated culture, where to do more in less time is the measure of a productive life, one’s connection with the ‘real’ time of duration is diminished. To challenge this premise, I have used an autoethnographic approach to explore an experience of duration conceived via the work of French philosopher Henri Bergson, who posits that “pure duration [is that which] excludes all idea of juxtaposition, reciprocal externality, and extension” (Bergson, 1903/1999, p. 26). In other words, Bergson asserts that duration defies quantitative measurement. I argue that the Bergsonian experience of duration offers a pause from social acceleration and effects a transformation for the spectator in the form of peak-experience, flow, and communitas.
    • Music in the spaces of the 21st century

      Pattie, David; Sproston, Darren; Darlington, Bruce (University of Chester, 2016-01-31)
      Exploration of the changes modern digital technology has had on the act of engaging with music in the early 21st century.
    • Dance bands in Chester: An evolving professional network

      Southall, Helen (University of Liverpool, 2015)
      This thesis addresses the live music scene in Chester in the mid-20th Century, and in particular jazz-based styles of dance music, played for the most part by local musicians. The basis of the study is a set of interviews with musicians, promoters and fans who were all active in the Chester area during the period between 1925 and 2008, in settings ranging from military bands and youth clubs to resident dance hall bands, touring concert parties, summer season shows and radio broadcasts. Thirty interviews were undertaken, and along with many hours of taped conversation, these yielded over 200 photographs and other pieces of evidence In this thesis I have synthesised existing theoretical approaches from a number of fields to account for the large number of part-time dance-band musicians who were active in the Chester area, especially during World War II and in the decade that followed. Ideas from popular music studies and jazz studies were part of this framework, but were not sufficient, as both fields have historically had a tendency to concentrate on musicians and places considered to be highly significant or exceptionally influential, rather than routine and local. I have therefore turned to other disciplines in search of appropriate analytical approaches, and used ideas from geography, economics and sociology as alternative lenses through which to view the problem. In the process, I have shown that this dance band scene grew from the people and entertainment infrastructure of the previous, inter-war, period. In turn, the musicians, promoters and venues of the dance band scene, combined with changes in technology and society which fundamentally changed the economics of live entertainment, formed essential parts of the environment in which much better-known rock and pop musicians of the 1960s and 70s emerged and developed.
    • Moments of repetition in the process of art production: Temporalities, labour, appropriations and authorship

      Bristow, Maxine; Townsley, Jill (University of Liverpool (University of Chester), 2010-11)
      This practice based PhD is an enquiry into repetition found in relation to the visual art object, specifically the repetition that operates within the process of art production. There is some precedence for the consideration of repetition observed as a repeated subject or object, and especially the Warholian like repeated image. Rosalind Krauss observed in The Originality of the Avant-Garde: A Postmodernist Repetition that many artists are 'condemned to repeating as if by compulsion, the logically fraudulent original' (1981). This research considers a different presentation of repetition, the repeated action of labour that accumulates during the process of production. A body of artworks, that for the purpose of the research I describe as labourwork, was conceived and made with the concerns of repetition at the core of its process. Personal reflection and a close critical analysis of each labourwork, allowed for the identification of a number of issues that are significant to the consideration of repetition as it relates to the process of production. They include 'failure through repetition1, 'temporality', 'erasure' and 'shifting authorships'. The emergent themes are considered within the thesis, where broader theories of repetition are addressed in order to position this form of art production within a larger theoretical framework. The purpose of the repeated action within the labourworks was found to be more complex than a means to an end. It was not just a prerequisite to forming a critical mass or achieving a particular form. When observed from the standpoint of different schema such as time, the simulacra, mimesis or theories of replication, the repetition within the labourwork was observed to be identified within many different constructs. It was seen to affect the object, its relation to the viewer, authorship and the subject. Yet, these multifarious roles are not differentiated within the single word 'repetition'. The conclusion to this thesis summarises the effect repetition has been found to have within the labourworks, separating out its roles and offering opportunities to identify its individual operations, over-and-above the general term 'Repetition'.
    • The 'auto cannibal'

      Turner, Jeremy; Hultum, Ben (University of Chester, 2010-10)
      The relentless triumph of technology is increasingly dismissive of the human desire for interaction; we are deprived of experiences with the ordinary and become less aware of the potential such objects contain. The author primarily considers art as a means of understanding the world and his practice is based on personal observations and autonomous processes. This can often lead to an over-analysis of the mundane, which is directly confronted in each of my projects through an enthusiasm for the objects we not only take for granted, but do so to the extent that we barely notice their existence. Drawing inspiration from literature, philosophy and ideas which surround permanence in a society which is frequently considered throwaway, the author is influenced by personal insecurities and have developed a creative style that not only explores construction - in the obsessive means by which a work is made; but also one that celebrates the process of destruction - in that the materials the author uses have the potential to instigate their own demise in a process I generally refer to as autocannibalism.
    • Evading do-re-mi: Destruction and utopia: A study of Einstürzende Neubauten

      Pattie, David; Shryane, Jennifer (University of Liverpool (University of Chester)Published as Blixa Bargeld and Einstürzende Neubauten: German experimental music (Ashgate, 2011), 2009)
      This thesis represents the first comprehensive examination in English of the work of the Berlin-based music collective, Einstürzende Neubauten. It intends to offer evidence that the sonic forays of this group have not only defined a particular cultural moment but have also created new musical possibilities (to appropriate words from Brandon LaBelle). It does this by investigating why the work of these musicians is important within contemporary music, what cultural concerns their music reflects and how the music is created, performed and disseminated. These questions are explored through a range of contexts, including post-war Berlin, Germany’s problematic relationship with music, the development of Musique Concrète, Noise/Music and strategies for creative independence. There is a detailed analysis of Neubauten’s performance and textual techniques. This thesis argues that Einstürzende Neubauten are one of the few examples of ‘rock-based’ artists who have been able to sustain a breadth and depth of work over a number of years while remaining experimental and open to development; that their work offers evidence that they are one of the most complete examples of Artaudian practice in contemporary performance and that their Supporter Initiative (2002-2007) provided a unique working strategy for independence of the consumerist model of music. Finally, it argues that their work helps to present the case for the re-evaulation of European, non-English language contemporary music. Note -this version contains German spellings, corrected after final submission at the author's request.