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This Unit is housed within the Department of Music, Media, and Performance, in the School of Arts and Media and the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Chester. Research in the performing arts covers applied drama, theatre history, music, collaborative dance, contact improvisation, game design, participatory performance, contemporary performance, and stage adaptation. Research in media covers the areas of fandom, Elvis, dance music, and Hollywood film.

The University’s targeted research funding has been bolstered by external funders including: the AHRC, the British Academy and the British Council. 

10 staff were identified as having significant responsibility for research in REF2021, leading to a requirement for 25 outputs to be submitted.

Research outputs submitted to REF2021 are included in the Media Collection and the Performing Arts Collection of ChesterRep, the University of Chester’s online research repository.

The impact of research in this unit was exemplified through the following case studies:

PREVENT-Funded Anti-Extremist Theatre-in-Education: This work examined the potential for Theatre-in-Education (TIE) to offer non-discriminatory and holistic ways of delivering UK counter-terrorism strategies.  The European Parliament Anti-Racism and Diversity Intergroup (ARDI) adopted the research findings to inform the work of the EU in combatting terrorism and youth radicalisation and the research was instrumental in the convening of an expert conference at the European Parliament to coincide with International Refugee Day 2018. The research findings have also provided opportunities for practitioners to critically reflect upon and evaluate their work with young people on the subject of terrorism and violent extremism.

Pretext Drama: Creating ‘Third Spaces’ for Understanding: This work focused on the use of Pretext Drama in formal and non-formal educational settings. It has informed curriculum content, teaching delivery, and educational practices in Catalonia, Finland, Palestine, and Japan. Some has been in extremely challenging contexts, such as with returning evacuated Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster and Tsunami survivors in Japan; and in a refugee camp in Palestine, on the concept of non-violent resistance to the ongoing military occupation.  Through Pretext Drama, educators, artists, and students have been equipped with drama-enriched skills to create ‘third spaces’ for understanding that has led to new democratic and culturally-shared perspectives on homeland, inclusion, sustainable development, urban environments and business practices.

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