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Citizenship and Participation

Research under this theme is largely concerned with the interrelationships between participation, identity, citizenship and power. There are particular research concerns evident around the politics and cultural value of participation and non-participation, inclusion and exclusion and the role and function of artistic and theatrical processes and practices within institutions and public life.

Anna Harpin explores the histories of theatre and performance within psychiatric asylums and hospitals to examine how participation in the cultural practices of the institution inter-sect with notions of care, therapy and rehabilitation. In her forthcoming co-edited volume, Performance and Participation (Palgrave, 2016), contributors examine the concept of participation in diverse theatre and performance work and her chapter considers elective mutism and theatre and asks how (and why) one might represent radical non-participation in a way that remains true to the original gesture of social disobedience. Through her work on the AHRC funded project Amateur Dramatics: Crafting Communities in Time and Space ( Nadine Holdsworth has been working to map and interrogate the cultural practices of amateur theatre companies in terms of the places of performance, its heritage, repertoire and craft. In particular she has been exploring the cultural meanings attached to ideas of the amateur and amateurism alongside applied research into how we might understand and articulate the cultural value of participation in amateur theatre practices for individuals, families and communities of work or location. Holdsworth also has interests in the ethics of inclusion and citizenship as evident in her essay on the Royal Shakespeare Company and Cardboard Citizens, Britain’s leading professional theatre company working with artists, participants and audiences who have experienced homelessness.

Within this theme there is a strong vein of research concerned with Gendered Citizenship. Yvette Hutchison is currently engaged in the AHRC funded project African Women’s Playwright Network (, which is a technologically innovative online social network project working to showcase and connect African women involved in the cultural industries with a view to addressing issues of marginalisation, access, visibility and of developing understandings of how women playwrights are thematically and aesthetically negotiating issues specific to the African continent. Milija Gluhovic, Susan Haedicke and Silvija Jestrovic are part of a UKIERI funded Gendered Citizenship: Manifestations and Performance teaching and research project working in collaboration with colleagues from JNU. Through symposia and publications, the project is researching citizenship in terms of legal, socio-cultural, and performative aspects of the construction of gendered identities, violence against women, ‘victimhood’, the commodification of women in local/global markets, the feminisation of labour and the generation of public opinion around these issues. 

In their respective work on the place, role and function of public art, street arts and the everyday use of urban and rural spaces, Susan Haedicke and Nicolas Whybrow are also interested in questions of participation and citizenship. Whybrow’s work on urban surveillance in the city of Venice, as it relates to both tourism and migration, raises questions about citizenship and the increasingly compromised city. Whilst Haedicke addresses the strategies artists use to place diverse citizens at the heart of the aesthetic product.

  • Selected publications on Citizenship and Participation:

    Haedicke, Susan, ‘The Glasgow Girls: Many Faces of Child Asylum Seekers’. Gendered Citizenship: Manifestations and Performance. Eds. J. Reinelt & B. Dutt (forthcoming Sage Publications , 2016)

    Haedicke, Susan, ‘Street Arts, Radical Democratic Citizenship and a Grammar of Storytelling’. The Grammar of Politics and Performance. Eds. Shirin Rai and Janelle Reinelt. Routledge. 2015, 106-120.

    Harpin, Anna, ‘Broadmoor Performed: A Theatrical Hospital’ in the Edinburgh Companion to the Critical Medical Humanities (forthcoming with EUP, 2016)

    Harpin, Anna (with Helen Nicholson) Performance and Participation (Palgrave, 2016)

    Holdsworth, Nadine, 'Citizenship, the Ethics of Inclusion', in Performance Studies: Key Words, Concepts and Theories, (ed) Bryan Reynolds, Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014, pp. 133-140

    Holdsworth, Nadine, (with Helen Nicholson and Jane Milling) The Ecologies of Amateur Performance, Palgrave (2017)

    Holdsworth, Nadine, (with Helen Nicholson and Jane Milling) Special edition of Contemporary Theatre Review on the Amateur, Amateurism and the Amateurish, (2017)

    Hutchison, Yvette, ‘Women Playwrights in Post-Apartheid South Africa: Yael Farber, Lara Foot-Newton, and the Call for ubuntu’, in Contemporary Women Playwrights, Lesley Ferris and Penny Farfan (eds.) Basingstoke & New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 148-163.

    Hutchison, Yvette, African Theatre 14: Contemporary Women, co-edited with Jane Plastow and Christine Matzke (James Currey, 2015)

    Gluhovic, Milija, “Queer Publics, Gender and Sexual Justice and Activism in Eastern Europe and India.” (with Ameet Parameswaran). In Gendered Citizenship: Performance and Manifestation, eds. Bishnupriya Paul and Janelle Reinelt. 2016, forthcoming.

    Jestrovic, Silviija, ‘Murderous Maids: Gendered Citizenship, Feminisation of Labour and the Question of Death Penalty’, Gendered Citizenship: Manifestations and Performance. Eds. J. Reinlet & B. Dutt (forthcoming 2016)

    Jestrovic, Silviija, “The Maid Vanishes: Performing Gendered Citizenship in the Context of Labour Migration,” Lateral: Journal of Cultural Studies Association (forthcoming 2016)

    Whybrow, Nicolas, “’The City of the Eye’: Urban Aesthetics and Surveillance in the City of Venice”, New Theatre Quarterly, 31(2), May, 2015, pp.164-78.

    Whybrow, Nicolas, “Trafalgar Square: of Plinths, Play, Pigeons, Publics and Participation”, The Uses of Art in Public Space, ed. Julia Lossau and Quentin Stevens, London and New York: Routledge, 2015, pp.67-80.