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Mel Varin


Research Student

Supervisor: Dr Yvette Hutchison (University of Warwick)

Co-Supervisor: Dr Gabriele Budach (University of Luxembourg)



MSc Environment and Sustainable Development (DPU, University College London)

BA International Management (Toulouse Business School)

Research grant:

2020-2021: Doctoral School of Humanities and Social Science Research grant €3,000


About Me

She/her // They/them

I am an artist-researcher, PhD student at the Universities of Warwick and Luxembourg in Theatre and Performance Studies, and Language Sciences. I self-define as a queer afro-descendant, born and raised in the suburbs of Paris (95). I research and make in Coventry nearby 17mo Eole, my partner Jb, and LaRi a dog in Coventry. I am attempting to form my research into braids by making nearby similar others at the interstices of fictious private/public spheres with autoethnography and performance arts as my dismantling tools.

Research Interests

Inspired by the labour of performance artists Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Amy Wong, and Lital Dotan (among others) this messy research suggests how hegemonic dominant scripts may be disrupted, challenged, and transformed through artists’ intimate interventions within traditional institutions, collectively reorienting and reconfiguring conversations on how to know/make/nurture differently.

This Performance As Research draws on concepts of in-betweenness and hybridity (Homi K. Bhabah, 2004), metissage (Francois Laplantine and Alexis Nouss, 1997), diaspora (Stuart Hall, 1990) and Lieu by thinker Patrick Chamoiseau (2006).

I am using mixedness as a critical methodology and mixed media autoethnography and performance as my methods to contextualise my presence and performance in white cubes including art and academic spaces. I explore verbal and bodily omission before and while simultaneously co-creating alternative spaces for collaboration with human (artists, and family members) and non-human (home camera). I move around various concepts such as Judith Butler’s performative acts (1988), Sara Ahmed’s non-performatives (2012), and Erwing Goffman’s role performance (1959). I am interested about the tension between the enactment of repetitive acts leading to becoming or to pretending to be.

I operate with incredible beings on three different levels of intervention:

I am looking at facilitating a Coventry-based artist-led collective using performance arts to hold counter-hegemonic conversation about in-betweenness and mothering as radical tools.

I repetitively try to make visible the craft of the artist-researcher. I am interested in assemblages with my family members, and things that sit in spaces we live as a way to produce and question (micro) history. I work alone and with my partner Jb, Eole a baby, and to a certain extent LaRi a dog and other non-humans including our living space and “its”(Jane Benett, 2009) within on a collaborative investigations focusing on in-betweenness and deviant mothering, using live and performance arts, and home movies to think/make through multifaceted interstices.

Encouraged by the Luxembourg-based activist platform FINKAPE for afro-descendant rights and visibility, I collaborate with Brussels-based multidisciplinary artist Jennifer Lopes Santos to write and perform a play examining long-distance processes to find oneself in/through a similar other. This project examines transitional relations to and understanding of race, ethnicity, and gender via mixed-media conversations.

Art residency:

04-05/2020 : Talking Birds – home-based art residency making nearby Eole


Selected interventions part of my PhD project:

05/12/2019 : PaRlab, Theatre and Performance Studies, the University of Warwick, collective visioning of and discussion about Framing refraining fragmentation


16/03/2020: Change your Style, organised by WARSOC, WASS, BWP, and WORDSOC at the University of Warwick, collective visioning of Black Kinky Hair


19/09/2019 : CID Fraen an Gender, Luxembourg, mixed-media Performance in a feminist space


24/07/2019 : Upgrade annual meeting, Universities of Luxembourg and Warwick, live performance and immersive sonic material titled meditation on mediation A gendered-racialized look at the sound of silence with-in the university make your own words meaningful a collab with Cambridge Dictionary 


27/06/2019 - CID Fraen an Gender mixed-media Performance and participatory mapping of inspiring afro-descendant visual artists.

Recent contributions :

Getrude #2 When does the rainbow stop and life begin? Collaboration with Eole 16mo at the time:



Instagram: @vmelissandre